Seven Rules Every Outdoorsperson Should Follow


Recent med­ical and eco­nom­ic research has revealed two things. First, time spent in nature is crit­i­cal to our health in more ways than we’ve ever imag­ined. Sec­ond, the eco­nom­ic impact of the out­door indus­try is huge. It’s the per­fect time for out­door lovers to speak up.

Here are sev­en quick—and sur­pris­ing­ly effective—things you can do to help pro­tect the places you play.


Help Kids Get Outside

Play­ing out­side is crit­i­cal to both our health and sav­ing the out­doors. But not every­one gets out­side or feels com­fort­able there. Affin­i­ty for nature is formed at a young age. Screen media, urban­iz­ing pop­u­la­tions, and busy sched­ules make it hard­er to get kids out in moth­er nature. “If you don’t have a con­nec­tion to some­thing, you won’t fight for it, “says Kate Ross of Willamette River­keep­er. Con­ser­va­tions orga­ni­za­tions have renewed their efforts to help peo­ple have fun out­side, as well as the clas­sic means of pro­tect­ing the out­doors via sci­ence, pol­i­cy, and issues work. Out­door junkies can help intro­duce oth­ers to camp­ing, hik­ing, pad­dling, and shar­ing their love of what they do.

Put Your Mouth Where Your Mon­ey Is

The Out­door Recre­ation indus­try in the U.S. is enor­mous: $646 bil­lion in eco­nom­ic impact. Out­door recre­ation is larg­er than the GDP of Switzer­land and employs more Amer­i­cans than Apple. Every out­doors per­son should share sto­ries about out­door-relat­ed busi­ness­es, jobs, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment, and tourism with their friends.

Travel—and Talk About It

Most of the eco­nom­ic impact from the Out­door Recre­ation indus­try is in trav­el. When you go some­where to hike, cycle, ski, or pad­dle, the restau­rants, hotels, gas sta­tions, and oth­er busi­ness­es often nev­er find out how much of their income is relat­ed to the out­doors. Let them know why you’re there.

One Short Email

Email Land man­agers and offi­cials need to hear reg­u­lar­ly from out­door enthu­si­asts. One of the most impactful—and quickest—things you can do, accord­ing to the Sit­ka Con­ser­va­tion Society’s Adam Andis, is to send one quick email when you get back from a trip. “Write a very short email that says, “I went to this place and real­ly appre­ci­at­ed that it’s kept wild,” he says. “Send it to two peo­ple: the man­ag­er of that park or nation­al for­est and your Congressman.”

Con­nect With Experts

You don’t have to be a biol­o­gist, legal expert, or inva­sive plant whiz to help pro­tect the places you play. “Con­trary to what most peo­ple think, con­ser­va­tion is easy,” says Jay Mor­ri­son, an Ontario-based pad­dler and wild riv­er advo­cate. “You prob­a­bly already have skills that you can use.” Con­ser­va­tion groups will pro­vide tech­ni­cal skills and direction.


Use the Social Network

Con­ser­va­tion groups rely enor­mous­ly on their abil­i­ty to ral­ly peo­ple to clean up rivers, restore wet­lands, and speak out on pol­i­cy issues. They always need peo­ple who can reach oth­er peo­ple who love the out­doors and can spread the word about events, key deci­sions, and ways to get involved. Most out­doors lovers are net­worked into groups of peo­ple these groups aren’t. You can help them extend their reach.

Have Fun

Most of all, being an out­door advo­cate is fun. It’s a tribe of like-mind­ed souls who care about the out­doors and know how to enjoy themselves.