Credit: Department of the Interior.
The Wilderness Society joins the Department of the Interior in thanking veterans past and present for sacrifices made in service of our country. For many veterans, American public lands have served as an invaluable balm--in Interior’s words, places to “recreate, recover and help restore body and mind.”
Recently, the agency, which is tasked with managing our national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands, asked veterans and active-duty military to share photos from such places.
The video it produced using these submissions ranges from the Grand Canyon to Yosemite, featuring veterans from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Watch:
This isn’t your average post-vacation slideshow. Nature’s therapeutic value is well documented, and research suggests that outdoor recreation may augment treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that affects 10 to 20 percent of Iraq, Afghanistan, Gulf War and Vietnam veterans (more than half of veterans assisted by the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2002 have been diagnosed with mental health issues like PTSD, depression and substance abuse).
In some studies, veterans who participate in outdoor recreation even report significant improvements in social functioning and life outlook. With so many in need, and traditional resources in high demand, it is incredibly important that we keep public lands protected and in good working shape as supplemental places to heal.
Working with national and regional groups, some veterans have emerged as prominent champions of the conservation movement, joining the fight at a time when public lands are under relentless pressure from development and other threats. As we commemorate Veterans Day, we thank them for their service.