Outdoor Recreation

A hike to a gorgeous vista, a paddle down a lazy river, a family picnic at a lake - all of these things can refresh the spirit like nothing else can.

Outdoor recreation is one of the best ways to connect with nature and ourselves. Yet America isn’t getting outside the way it used to. Our outdoor recreation programs aim to help change this and create lasting bonds between people and wilderness.

Outdoor recreation is important for:

  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Connecting people to wilderness
  • Cultivating stewardship

Simply put, our wildlands serve as a healer and a playground for millions of people. 

Youth recreation

Children across the nation are getting outdoors less than ever before. Yet, children can be America’s best wilderness advocates. When kids play in our national forests, national parks and wildlife refuges, they develop a deep love for nature, turning them into the next generation of wildland stewards. 

Recreation trails

Over 50 million people recreate on America’s trail systems every year. Trails are the way that the majority of people are able to experience nature.  Our work ensures trails are well maintained and that people have great trail experiences.

Recreation funding

Visiting our wildlands is inexpensive, but making those lands available costs money. Congress provides funding to land management agencies for maintenance and restoration of our forests and other public lands. But agency budgets are shrinking. The Wilderness Society advocates on behalf of our lands and the people who help keep them open and healthy for the public.

Outdoor recreation FAQs

Check out our outdoor recreation FAQs and learn something new!

Support our recreation work

We couldn’t do our outdoor recreation work without the help of members and donors like you. Please join us in our efforts to keep wild places available for generations to come.

  • Comments from The Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and others submitted to the Bureau of Land Management regarding proposed rules for leasing land for wind and solar energy projects on federal lands. 

  • The 114th Congress faces a multitude of environmental challenges. The Wilderness Society is working the halls of power to make sure that America's wild places are part of the legislative agenda, and to make sure that lawmakers and staff are hearing both sides of the issues.

  • The Wilderness Society submitted official comments on the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation plan that was proposed early in the fall of 2014. The comment period allowed for broad public participation in determining the future of balancing conservation and recreation with renewable energy development.

    The following is an excerpt from our comments submitted on February 22, 2015. The full comment document is available for download.