If you’re a lover of the out­doors, chances are you’ve paid a fee of some kind (on top of the tax­es we all pay). Some camp­ground and day-use fees may be min­i­mal, while oth­ers seem to get larg­er every year. It may make you grum­ble a bit as you hand over your hard-earned cash, but it’s the price we pay to enjoy the won­drous moun­tains, canyons, lakes, and oth­er breath­tak­ing scenery our pub­lic lands have to offer. Want to know where the out­door recre­ation fees go and how they pro­tect our pub­lic lands? Read on!

Nation­al and State Park Pass­es and Fees
There has been a bit of com­mo­tion in recent years over the increase in cost to access some pub­lic lands. While many may see this as an unfair bur­den, it’s worth not­ing that most of these cost increas­es have occurred because more and more peo­ple are vis­it­ing our pub­lic spaces. So it takes more and more resources to main­tain them. Park pass­es and fees typ­i­cal­ly pay for trails, trail main­te­nance, and camp­grounds. And in many cas­es, they cov­er pic­nic shel­ters, pub­lic toi­lets, infra­struc­ture improve­ments, pub­lic edu­ca­tion and out­reach, garbage, and much more. If you find your­self cring­ing when you hand over the mon­ey for your pass, just remem­ber your mon­ey is being put to good use. And it will allow oth­ers to enjoy pub­lic lands far into the future.

Camp­ground Fees
If you choose to camp in a non-dis­persed camp­ground, chances are you’re going to pay a fee. Many of these camp­grounds come with hookups, vault toi­lets, and oth­er ameni­ties. The fees you pay are not only used to main­tain the grounds, but they’re also used for the trail sys­tems near­by. Fees also often pay for haul­ing out the trash or human waste left behind in the area.

Not a fan of camp­ing close enough to hear your neigh­bors blar­ing music? Pre­fer more prim­i­tive, dis­persed camp­ing? You prob­a­bly won’t have to pay a fee. How­ev­er, if you’re camp­ing in a nation­al for­est, most entrances have park­ing fees or dona­tion box­es at trail­heads. If there’s no fee, it’s good prac­tice to leave a dona­tion since it’s typ­i­cal­ly used to pay for trail main­te­nance. And don’t for­get to pay for park­ing if required.

Per­mit Fees
You may have to obtain a per­mit to hike a spe­cif­ic trail or camp in a des­ig­nat­ed area. These per­mits do a few impor­tant things. First, they lim­it the num­ber of peo­ple who can use the trail or area at a spe­cif­ic time. This cuts down on human envi­ron­men­tal impact, and also ensures that the peo­ple who are pay­ing for the expe­ri­ence aren’t shar­ing it with an unrea­son­able num­ber of oth­er adven­tur­ers. Sec­ond­ly, the mon­ey obtained through per­mits is typ­i­cal­ly used to main­tain that spe­cif­ic trail or area. For exam­ple, you must obtain a riv­er trip per­mit if you plan to do a non-com­mer­cial raft trip. These fees are used for a vari­ety of ser­vices includ­ing search and res­cue teams and main­tain­ing canyon trails.

Fish and Game Licens­ing Fees
Even if you aren’t an angler or hunter, if you enjoy pub­lic lands and wildlife, you real­ly should shake their hand the next time you meet one in the back­coun­try. States are required to use 100 per­cent of the mon­ey obtained through licens­ing fees to main­tain fish and wildlife pop­u­la­tions in that par­tic­u­lar state. If they fail to do so, they can risk los­ing fed­er­al fund­ing. That said, fish­ers and hunters spend bil­lions of dol­lars annu­al­ly not only on licens­es but also on excise tax­es. That mon­ey is used to pre­serve fish­ing and wildlife envi­ron­ments such as lakes, rivers, grass­lands, and moun­tain­ous regions. Are you a hik­er, pad­dler, rafter, or gen­er­al adven­tur­er? You’ve prob­a­bly enjoyed these places.

Anoth­er fun fact: Some states, such as Col­orado, use a small por­tion of fish­ing and game licens­es to fund their search and res­cue orga­ni­za­tions. If you’re ever strand­ed on the side of a moun­tain or lost in the woods and need res­cu­ing, send hunters and fish­ers a thank you card for their contribution.

It’s cold and get­ting dark ear­ly. Win­ter is the per­fect time for set­tling in next to the wood stove with a good book. And when it comes to out­door books, the fol­low­ing are out­door clas­sics. If you haven’t read these ten, your out­door expe­ri­ence isn’t complete.

Desert Soli­taire by Edward Abbey (1968)
Abbey was a Penn­syl­va­nia kid work­ing as a wait­er in Hobo­ken, NJ, when he land­ed a job as a sum­mer ranger in the new Arch­est Nation­al Mon­u­ment in Utah, back when Moab was still a ura­ni­um-min­ing town. Desert Soli­taire is his lyri­cal love affair with the won­der, mys­ter­ies, and harsh­ness of the slick­rock desert. Writ­ten about a land­scape large­ly undis­cov­ered by the out­doors-lov­ing pub­lic, Desert Soli­taire mix­es his love of the land­scape with his fear of large-scale tourism he saw in the future. The Park Ser­vice, dis­pleased with his cri­tique of man­age­ment, exiled him to a dis­tant fire look­out. If they want­ed to silence Abbey, it was the worst move pos­si­ble. He had plen­ty of time to write his incen­di­ary next clas­sic, The Mon­key Wrench Gang. And Desert Soli­taire had already left its mark: count­less out­door adven­tur­ers packed a copy along with their sleep­ing bag on jour­neys through­out the southwest.

Into the Wild by John Krakauer (1996)
Into Thin Air may be Krakauer’s most-read book because of the draw Ever­est, but Into the Wild strikes a more uni­ver­sal chord. Krakauer’s account of a vagabond kid who seeks, like Huck Finn, to “light out for the ter­ri­to­ries ahead of the west and even­tu­al­ly meets a mys­te­ri­ous end in a remote sec­tion of Alas­ka is more than the answer to a rid­dle. He taps into a deep­er mys­tery: what exact­ly is it that we seek in adven­ture? Why do some crave it so intense­ly? Even if you already know the sto­ry, the book is riveting…and way bet­ter than the movie.

A Sand Coun­ty Almanac by Aldo Leopold (1949)
Leopold’s mag­num opus fol­lows the sea­sons near his farm in Wis­con­sin, notic­ing the sub­tle changes around him. It’s enough to make any­one want to find a patch of land some­where and trace the sea­sons going by. Unlike the rest of these books, it’s set not in the moun­tains of Alas­ka or the canyon coun­try of Utah, but in the hum­ble land­scape of the Mid­west. Don’t let that fool you. The final chap­ter, The Land Eth­ic, packs a punch that made it the foun­da­tion­al doc­u­ment of the mod­ern envi­ron­men­tal movement.

Arc­tic Dreams by Bar­ry Lopez (1986)
Few regions are as unknown, and maybe as unknow­able, as the high Arc­tic. Lopez brings it into your liv­ing room or tent. Spend­ing count­less hours fol­low­ing muskox, sci­en­tists, polar bears, and native peo­ples, Lopez makes this aus­tere region come alive. He dives deep into the shapes of ice­bergs, the migra­tions of birds, the his­to­ry of Arc­tic cul­tures and mod­ern attempts to make sense of the region. You’ll want to pack up a warm par­ka and go.

The Snow Leop­ard by Peter Matthiessen (1978)
On the sur­face, The Snow Leop­ard is about a writer about shad­ow­ing ecol­o­gy George Schaller as he trapis­es around the Himalaya study­ing wild sheep and the elu­sive Snow Leop­ard. But the real jour­ney is inter­ward. Matthiessen writes about griev­ing for his late wife, his encoun­ters with East­ern phi­los­o­phy, the lives of the Nepalese, and his own strug­gles fig­ur­ing out why its’ so impor­tant to tramp through the snow to see one elu­sive crea­ture. It’s about the most fun­da­men­tal ques­tion for adven­tur­ers: what’s the nature of quests?

Com­ing into the Coun­try by John McPhee (1976)
Com­ing into the Coun­try put Alas­ka on the spir­tu­al map for climbers, riv­er run­ners, and any­one seek­ing the romance of the Last Fron­tier. McPhee embraces the lives of sub­sis­tence home­stead­ers, riv­er run­ners, bush pilots, prospec­tors, and politi­cians. McPhee’s book also delves into the chal­lenge of what Alas­ka is for: oil, fish, min­ing, or wilder­ness. Com­ing into the Coun­try drew thou­sands to the romance of the Last Fron­tier, and led many to focus on the last chance to “get it right the first time.” If you need proof that the pen is might­i­er than the sword, the Alas­ka Nation­al Inter­est Pub­lic Lands Act passed four years later.

My First Sum­mer in the Sier­ra by John Muir (1984)
The most influ­en­tial book by the patron saint of the wilder­ness move­ment, Muir’s lyri­cal book about explor­ing the Sier­ra Neva­da radi­ates the joy of explor­ing the Sierra’s high coun­try. The Moun­tains of Cal­i­for­nia was writ­ten when the Sier­ra was still large­ly unheard of oth­er than as an obsta­cle to gold rush set­tlers head­ing west. Muir com­bines both his jour­neys to the high peaks with an under­stand­ing of ecology—a ground­break­ing con­cept at the time. Thou­sands flocked to Yosemite in the years that followed.

Wilder­ness and the Amer­i­can Mind by Rod­er­ick Nash (1967)
If you’ve ever won­dered why we love wild places, this book is for you. Nash’s book, which began as his doc­tor­al the­sis, asks, and answers that ques­tion beyond the typ­i­cal “because it’s there” ques­tion. Wilder­ness and the Amer­i­can mind brings a his­tor­i­cal eye to the long arc of how Amer­i­cans see the out­doors. Inad­ver­tent­ly, Nash launched anoth­er move­ment: the envi­ron­ment seri­ous pur­suit worth of study and careers. Wilder­ness and the Amer­i­can Mind soon grew into the nation’s first Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia in San­ta Barbara.

Touch­ing the Void by Joe Simp­son (1988)
Joe Simpson’s sur­vival after a fall, bro­ken leg, and plum­met into a crevasse on Siu­la Grande in the Andes is the most amaz­ing sur­vival sto­ries in climb­ing. But Touch­ing the Void is more than just an incred­i­ble sur­vival sto­ry. Simp­son expos­es the read­er to the life and death deci­sions in the moun­tains, the ones we hope we’ll nev­er need to make. He shares the risk, skill, endurance and mani­a­cal dri­ve of peo­ple who climb at the high­est reach­es of the world. The great-grand­dad­dy of “moun­tain epics”, it’s still the best.

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine Saint-Exu­pery (1939)
You’ll nev­er think of “going postal” the same way again. Saint-Exu­pery recounts his days fly­ing mail planes between over the Sahara from France to Dakar in the 1920s and 30s. At the time, deliv­er­ing the mail was every bit as risky as climb­ing in the Himalayas is today. Saint-Exu­pery is an adven­tur­er-philoso­pher at the height of his form, con­vey­ing the beau­ty, fear and cama­raderie of adven­ture-fly­ing in North Africa in terms that still res­onate today.

outdoor organization oregon

outdoor organization oregonAlmost every­one who loves the out­doors as an adult spent time out­side as a kid. If we don’t get kids out­side, and away from their com­put­er screens and phones, all of the out­doors will suf­fer in the future. Here are five local orga­ni­za­tions that get kids out­side in nature and that need and deserve your support.

Friends of Out­door School
For thou­sands of kids in Ore­gon, a week of Out­door School is a life-chang­ing rit­u­al: learn about ecol­o­gy for a week while stay­ing at camp on the coast or in the Cas­cades dur­ing their for­ma­tive mid­dle-school years. When Out­door School bud­get cuts made Out­door School a priv­i­lege for kids from well-off school dis­tricts, Friends of Out­door School stepped in to fight for fund­ing to send every kid to Out­door School. Fund­ing for Out­door School passed by an over­whelm­ing land­slide in 2016, and they’re con­tin­u­ing the work.

The Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Association
A nation­al orga­ni­za­tion, the Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Asso­ci­a­tion is to out­door careers what Out­door School is to lov­ing nature. By plac­ing high school stu­dents, gap years, col­lege stu­dents and recent grad­u­ates in out­door intern­ships and jobs—from build­ing trails to col­lect­ing data on wildlife and teach­ing young kids—that often lead to out­door jobs and careers.

Colum­bia Slough Water­shed Council
Most North­west­ern­ers live in cities, and we need to get kids out­side where they live. The Colum­bia Slough Water­shed Coun­cil helps peo­ple redis­cov­er one of Portland’s most forgotten—and sur­pris­ing­ly wildlife-rich—waterways, via canoe­ing, hik­ing in parks and urban wildlife refuges, and catch­ing bugs and oth­er crit­ters. They’re a great exam­ple of many oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that help kids find nature around them every day.

The African Amer­i­can Out­door Association
In the Pacif­ic North­west, access to nature has unfor­tu­nate­ly been found to be lim­it­ed by income and racial dis­par­i­ties. Get­ting to the moun­tains or the rivers requires trans­porta­tion out of the city, time off from jobs, and some­one who knows the outdoors—all of which are eas­i­er when you have finan­cial secu­ri­ty. The African Amer­i­can Out­door Asso­ci­a­tion tries to break this cycle, pro­vid­ing fam­i­ly out­ings for Portland’s African Amer­i­can community.

Port­land Audubon Society
Housed on the edge of For­est Park, the Port­land Audubon Soci­ety is prob­a­bly best known for either the Wildlife Care Cen­ter, where they reha­bil­i­tate injured wild ani­mals, or advo­ca­cy on behalf of wildlife habi­tat. But they also run edu­ca­tion pro­grams that take kids out­side in urban areas, bring nature into class­rooms, train teach­ers, and teach adults about the nat­ur­al world.

Hik­ing is a fan­tas­tic pas­time; it is relax­ing, fun and a great form of exer­cise. But if you don’t pre­pare prop­er­ly you could end up haul­ing an unnec­es­sar­i­ly heavy bag. If you find that your back­pack is always heav­ier than you want it to be, use these five tips to help you on your next light­weight hik­ing trip.

1. Break Up The Weight
It doesn’t mat­ter if you are going for a quick day hike or an overnight trip; either way, you will need to bring a few heavy items. From water to tents, lots of items can be fair­ly heavy, and the best way to pack lighter is to dis­trib­ute the heavy items among the group equally.

If you are hik­ing with a part­ner, ask them to car­ry a cou­ple of heavy items so that nei­ther of you has to car­ry too much. This is even eas­i­er in a big group as every­one only has to car­ry one or two heavy things, which real­ly light­ens the load!

2. Choose Lighter Equipment
If you are think­ing about buy­ing a new tent, a new sleep­ing bag or even a new water bot­tle, con­sid­er the weight of the item before mak­ing a pur­chase. The lighter items are more expen­sive than the heav­ier ones so it can be tempt­ing to go for a cheap­er option, but be aware that it is like­ly that the item will be heav­ier and hard­er to carry.

This is not to say you light­weight hik­ing is only for those who can afford to splurge on high-cost items. In addi­tion to shop­ping at The Clymb, there are plen­ty of hacks you can use to light­en your load on a bud­get.

It can also be use­ful to buy a light back­pack with wide straps, as this will reduce the weight even more (and the wide straps help to dis­trib­ute the weight even more).

3. Be Stingy With Clothing
One of the most com­mon mis­takes that ama­teur hik­ers make is pack­ing too many clothes. If you are going for an overnight hike it can be tempt­ing to pack a few dif­fer­ent out­fits to wear, but in real­i­ty, this is total­ly unnec­es­sary. You don’t actu­al­ly need a clean out­fit for every new day; if you’re going on a light­weight hik­ing trip it is much more prac­ti­cal to reuse your cloth­ing, espe­cial­ly if your out­fit has layering.

The ide­al hik­ing out­fit has base lay­ers, mid­dle lay­ers, and an out­side shell. The base lay­ers should be leg­gings, vest tops, thin T‑shirts, pants and socks; the mid­dle lay­er should be jumpers or items with long sleeves, and the out­side shell will be a coat or a jacket.

Real­is­ti­cal­ly you only need to change the base lay­er of cloth­ing as this will keep you clean (and you should only need to change the top two lay­ers if they get wet or very dirty). For this rea­son, it is best to pack spare tops and spare hik­ing socks, but extra jumpers and jack­ets tend to be unnecessary—unless you are expect­ing the weath­er con­di­tions to change halfway through the hike!

4. Be Reasonable
Lots of hik­ers pack more than they need as they are being over­ly cau­tious, but this means that they spend days car­ry­ing around items that don’t get used once. This adds weight to your back­pack and takes up space, so next time you go on a hike make sure you only pack the items that you need to make your pack lighter.

Of course, you can pack a few lux­u­ry items (such as extra food) if you want, but be aware that this will increase the weight of your back­pack. If you con­stant­ly over-pack, take a good look at your pack after you get home from a trip; what did you not use that you can get rid of? Don’t keep pack­ing things that you might need to use only once a trip.

5. Use Items With More Than One Purpose
Savvy hik­ers fill their back­packs with items that have more than one use, such as camp­ing tools that include can open­ers, scis­sors, knives, and oth­er use­ful tools. This should help to reduce the weight of your back­pack for your light­weight hik­ing adventure!


His­tor­i­cal­ly, many of the great female ath­letes, adven­tur­ers, and out­door indus­try pio­neers were not always able to claim the title of both moth­er and ath­lete. Before the Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion a woman had to choose between a life of adven­ture and great ath­let­ic suc­cess, or a life where she would be able to have a family.

Even as our times and tech­nol­o­gy have pro­gressed, and oppor­tu­ni­ties for train­ing and trav­el­ing have become more acces­si­ble for men and women alike, it can still be very dif­fi­cult to raise a child and pur­sue phys­i­cal and geo­graph­ic extremes. This arti­cle high­lights a few amaz­ing women who have been able to be not only moth­ers, but also amaz­ing pio­neers for the outdoors.


Lynn Hill – Rock climber

Indis­putably a liv­ing leg­end, Lynn Hill has been a pio­neer in the sport of rock climb­ing and one of its great­est celebri­ties since the 1980s. She has accom­plished many feats dur­ing her career: she was the first per­son to make a free ascent of The Nose on El Cap­i­tan in the Yosemite Val­ley, and has numer­ous 5.14s under her belt as well as first ascents on sev­er­al continents.

Lynn always want­ed to have a child, but because of the fast-paced and stren­u­ous nature of her career, it took until she was 42 for it to hap­pen. Preg­nan­cy and hav­ing a child changed her rela­tion­ship to her sport; with par­ent­hood, and a pas­sion­ate pur­suit that took her all over the world, she found more of a need for bal­ance and security.

“For me it has been quite a jug­gling act to man­age all the demands on my time in both my per­son­al and pub­lic life. But like climb­ing itself, the most chal­leng­ing expe­ri­ences are usu­al­ly the most sat­is­fy­ing. Moth­er­hood is cer­tain­ly more chal­leng­ing than any climb I’ve done, but there’s noth­ing greater than the sense of love I feel for my child.”


Junko Tabei – First woman to sum­mit Everest

Junko Tabei was the first woman to sum­mit Mount Everest.

“Back in 1970s Japan, it was still wide­ly con­sid­ered that men were the ones to work out­side and women would stay at home…We were told we should be rais­ing chil­dren instead.”

Junko was 35 when she sum­mit­ed Mount Ever­est with a 15-per­son, all-women Japan­ese team. She was able to leave her 3‑year-old child in the hands of her hus­band and fam­i­ly mem­bers in order to accom­plish this feat.

Her ascent was a man­i­fes­ta­tion of her extreme deter­mi­na­tion and was also a sym­bol to many of the great strides for­ward that women of the era were mak­ing towards equal­i­ty and autonomy.


Gert Boyle – Pres­i­dent turned Chair­woman of Colum­bia Sportswear

When her hus­band died in 1970, Gert Boyle found her­self at the helm of Colum­bia Sports­wear, with lit­tle to no busi­ness expe­ri­ence. Gert turned a finan­cial­ly strug­gling sports­wear com­pa­ny into the behe­moth out­door indus­try that it is today. She spent 1970–1998 as Pres­i­dent, enlist­ing the help of her son and oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers to help cre­ate her vision for the business.

One of the major turn­ing points for the com­pa­ny was its clever add cam­paigns that fea­tured Gert.

“We start­ed adver­tis­ing in 1984 with the Tough Moth­er cam­paign. In one, I put my son, Tim, through the car wash and said, ‘‘That’s the way we test our gar­ments.’ Sales shot up. Tim took over as CEO in 1989.”

Through grit and tenac­i­ty, Gert chart­ed the course for the suc­cess of her com­pa­ny and the secu­ri­ty of her fam­i­ly. Talk about One Tough Moth­er (which is the title of her book)!

grand canyon hike

The Grand Canyon is one of the most pop­u­lar hik­ing spots in the US due to its long paths and stun­ning views. While some peo­ple choose to avoid the Grand Canyon dur­ing sum­mer because of the heat, most peo­ple pre­fer the warmth; in fact, the Grand Canyon sees more hik­ers in sum­mer than it does at any oth­er time of the year!

grand canyon hike

After all, sum­mer has some perks going for it; the days are long, the weath­er is warm, and the ground is nor­mal­ly dri­er. How­ev­er hik­ing in the sun comes with its own dan­gers, espe­cial­ly if you are hik­ing the Grand Canyon.

Don’t let your sum­mer hike turn into a dan­ger­ous ordeal. Here are five tips for hik­ing in the Grand Canyon in summer.

1. Be Aware Of The Heat
At the risk of sound­ing like a bro­ken record: the most impor­tant thing you must remem­ber when hik­ing in the Grand Canyon is how hot it can get. Many hik­ers assume that the inside of the basin will be as warm as the rim, but it can actu­al­ly be around 50 degrees hotter.

If you only real­ize this when in the basin, you’ll be con­front­ed with a tough uphill hike in extreme tem­per­a­tures. This can be very dan­ger­ous, so make sure to keep the heat in mind at all times when you are hiking.

2. Set Off Early
It’s always impor­tant to set off ear­ly so that you can avoid the mid-after­noon heat, but this is extra impor­tant if you are hik­ing in the Grand Canyon. As the area is so open and exposed there is very lit­tle in the way of shel­ter, so a tough trek through the heat could leave you with sunstroke.

It’s also nor­mal­ly qui­eter in the morn­ings so your hike will be more peace­ful and relax­ing, and you will real­ly be able to take in the stun­ning views!

3. Take Breaks To Rest
Don’t for­get to take reg­u­lar rest breaks. Hik­ing is a stren­u­ous activ­i­ty at the best of times, and adding hot tem­per­a­tures into the mix can be a recipe for dis­as­ter. Make sure to look out for shad­ed areas when you are hik­ing, and if you see one take a break to sit down and drink some water.

4. Bring Water And Salty Snacks
Every­one should bring water with them on a hike, but you may want to pack twice as much if you are head­ing into the Grand Canyon. You should also pack some high-calo­rie salty snacks, such as ener­gy bars or trail mix. These snacks will help to replace your elec­trolytes as you hike, and they will give you the ener­gy that you need to hike back up the basin. Make sure that you alter­nate between water and snacks to avoid stom­ach cramps.

5. Wear A Bandana
A ban­dana will pro­tect your head, fore­head, and neck from the extreme heat, which is very use­ful as it can be hard to find shade and shel­tered areas. If you find your­self get­ting warm you can take the ban­dana off and wet it before putting it back on, as this will help cool you down.

The Grand Canyon is also sandy and it can get quite windy so you can use your ban­dana to pro­tect your mouth and nose. You can even use the ban­dana to blow your nose (might want extras if you do), wipe your hands, or dry the back of your neck; this small item has many dif­fer­ent benefits.


If you love the out­doors, you may fear los­ing access to pub­lic lands, or roll­backs in clean water and air pro­tec­tion. Amidst the entrenched par­ti­san bat­tles, it’s easy to for­get that con­ser­va­tion has often been a bipar­ti­san top­ic. Whether you love them or hate them, these politi­cians have at some point done some crit­i­cal work — often in unex­pect­ed ways — to pro­tect the envi­ron­ment. They come from both par­ties, and they may not be who you think.

Jimmy CarterJim­my Carter
With one stroke of his pen, Jim­my Carter final­ized pro­tect­ing wild places equal to the entire state of Cal­i­for­nia. On Decem­ber 2nd, 1980 as he was about to leave the White House, he signed the Alas­ka Nation­al Inter­est Lands Con­ser­va­tion Act, a sweep­ing con­ser­va­tion lega­cy that pro­tect­ed over 55 mil­lion acres. The names pre­served by ANILCA are now com­mon hall­marks of Alas­ka wild­ness: Misty Fjords, Admi­ral­ty Island, Wrangell-St. Elias, Kenai Fjords, Kat­mai, Gates of the Arc­tic and an expand­ed Denali Nation­al Park, to name a few. His push for renew­able ener­gy fore­saw cli­mate change and the via­bil­i­ty of solar, wind, and wave energy.

George H.W. BushGeorge H.W. Bush
The first eight years of the 1980s weren’t great for con­ser­va­tion. When Ronald Rea­gan left the White House and his Vice Pres­i­dent moved in, many expect­ed more of the same. But ear­ly in his term, Bush over­ruled his advi­sors and sup­port­ed a new­fan­gled mar­ket-based pol­i­cy tool to reduce acid rain. It was called “Cap-and-Trade”, and it’s a main­stay of cli­mate change poli­cies world­wide today. Bush used it to put the lid on sul­phur diox­ide emis­sions that were caus­ing acid rain. Bush also sup­port­ed the “no net loss” wet­lands pol­i­cy that led to the restora­tion of thou­sands of acres of wetlands.

Sherwood BoehlertSher­wood Boehlert
If you don’t hail from New York, you may nev­er have heard of Boehlert, a Repub­li­can Con­gress­man in Upstate New York from the 1980s until 2007. Dubbed the “Green Hor­net” for his com­bi­na­tion of envi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion and will­ing­ness to put a sting in the side of his own par­ty, Boehlert was a strong advo­cate for cli­mate sci­ence and for the aver­age fuel effi­cien­cy of cars. If you dri­ve a hybrid, he’s one of the rea­sons why. Since leav­ing Con­gress, he’s worked on ener­gy issues with a lit­tle known fel­low by the name of Al Gore.

Richard NixonRichard Nixon
Nixon is infa­mous (and right­ly so) for Water­gate. He’s usu­al­ly left off the list of envi­ron­men­tal champions—but it’s his sig­na­ture on four major pieces of envi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion: the Endan­gered Species Act, the Nation­al Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy Act, the Marine Mam­mal Pro­tec­tion Act, and the cre­ation of the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, which con­trols air and water pol­lu­tion. For his first head of the EPA, he appointed…

William RuckelshausWilliam Ruck­elshaus
Nixon’s first head of the EPA, Ruck­elshaus had a rep­u­ta­tion as a no-non­sense attor­ney. Start­ing from scratch, he built the EPA’s author­i­ty in an era when dead fish lined the shores of Lake Erie and the Cuya­hoga Riv­er had recent­ly caught fire. He insisted—correctly—that DDT posed a greater human can­cer risk than many experts thought, and insist­ed on ban­ning it. He became famous lat­er, as act­ing head of the FBI, for resign­ing as part of the “Sat­ur­day Night Mas­sacre” when he refused to fire the Water­gate Spe­cial Prosecutor.

Barack ObamaBarack Oba­ma
Obama’s lega­cy includes 22 new or enlarged Nation­al Mon­u­ments and pro­tect­ed 265 acres of land and water, includ­ing three Mon­u­ments that, along with adjoin­ing nation­al parks, make up one of the largest desert pre­serves in the world. One of his first pieces of leg­is­la­tion was the 2009 Omnibus Pub­lic Land Act, which set aside wilder­ness for the first time in decades. In an era of bit­ter divi­sions, the Pub­lic Lands Act passed the Sen­ate by a bipar­ti­san vote of 77–20.

Ron WydenRon Wyden
Camp­ing, hik­ing and play­ing out­side make up a $646 bil­lion indus­try that employs more Amer­i­cans than Apple. Wyden, a Sen­a­tor from Ore­gon, under­stands the eco­nom­ic engine of out­door recre­ation bet­ter than any politi­cian in Wash­ing­ton D.C. In 2016, Wyden intro­duced the Recre­ation Not Red Tape Act, which would stream­line per­mit­ting, increase pro­grams to main­tain trails and camp­grounds, get kids and vet­er­ans out­doors on pub­lic lands, and enlarge the Pub­lic Land Ser­vice Corps. Right now, it’s still just a bill sit­ting there on Capi­tol Hill, but maybe it will be a law some­day. Wyden is cur­rent­ly spear­head­ing efforts to keep the EPA’s pro­tec­tions on air and water strong.

Teddy RooseveltTed­dy Roosevelt
No list of this type would be com­plete with­out TR. The orig­i­na­tor of the “vig­or­ous life,” Roo­sevelt cre­at­ed the Nation­al Wildlife Sys­tem and the Nation­al For­est sys­tem, pro­tect­ed the Grand Canyon, enlarged Yosemite, and des­ig­nat­ed the first Nation­al Mon­u­ments. But he did far more than that. What oth­er Pres­i­dent went bear hunt­ing, ditched his entourage to camp with John Muir for three days in Yosemite, and explored rivers in the Ama­zon? TR made the rugged out­doors fun­da­men­tal­ly American.

valentines date outdoors

valentines date outdoorsValentine’s Day. Most peo­ple go for the tra­di­tion­al plan of choco­lates, ros­es and a meal at a local restaurant—but what if you want to do some­thing a lit­tle more exciting?

If you and your part­ner love the out­doors, you can mix things up this Valentine’s Day with an active out­doors date. Here are five roman­tic out­doors Valentine’s Day plans that will suit any­one, no mat­ter where you live or what your bud­get is.

Sun­set (Or Moon­lit) Hike
If you and your part­ner love hik­ing, sur­prise them by tak­ing them on a roman­tic hike as the sun sets. Make sure that you check the time of the sun­set before you set off so that you don’t miss it, and plan a hik­ing route that has a won­der­ful view of the sun­set. You could also plan a moon­lit hike if you know that you will have a good view of the moon. Moun­tains, hills, and beach­es are all great des­ti­na­tions, but forests should be avoid­ed as it is unlike­ly that you will be able to see the sky!

Make sure to pack a ther­mos of hot choco­late to share so that you don’t get cold. It is like­ly that it gets cold­er as the sun goes down, so you should also make sure that you and your part­ner pack wind and water-resis­tant coats.

Out­doors Din­ner Date
Tell your part­ner that you are tak­ing them out for a sur­prise din­ner date, and take them to a scenic loca­tion where you can stay for a few hours. Good options include the top of a hill, a clear­ing in the woods, next to a lake, or on the beach. Bring some can­dles, a blan­ket to sit on and a pic­nic bas­ket of pre-pre­pared food. It’s also use­ful to bring torch­es or head­lamps if you think that it will be dark when you head back.

Impress your date with a night under the stars. You can spend the night stargaz­ing, drink­ing wine, and cud­dling under a warm blan­ket. This date may require a bit of trav­el­ing; if you live in the city you will want to head out to a more remote area with less light pol­lu­tion. Make sure that you check the weath­er in the area, too, as a cloudy sky will ruin your plans! You can check web­sites for night-time vis­i­bil­i­ty lev­els to make sure that your night goes perfectly.

Ice Skat­ing
Ice Skat­ing is always a fun way to spend an evening, and it is an active and afford­able date. Look online for ice rinks in your area and see if any are hold­ing spe­cial events for Valentine’s Day; some ice rinks host fire­work dis­plays or offer free hot drinks. Make sure to book tick­ets in advance, as it is like­ly that they will sell out quickly!

Take An Active Class Together
Con­sid­er tak­ing a fun, active class with your part­ner this Valentine’s Day. This is a great way to bond with your part­ner while you both learn some­thing new. Class­es such as rock climb­ing or sal­sa are lots of fun, and you may even end up com­ing back every week togeth­er. If you book a class, make sure to check if there is a dress code—you may be able to go to sal­sa in a dress, but it prob­a­bly wouldn’t be a good option for a rock climb­ing class!

©istockphoto/ueuaphotoIn real­i­ty, the like­li­hood of an out­door adven­tur­er get­ting hurt is much high­er in the most dan­ger­ous activ­i­ty of the day: dri­ving home. The chances of dying in white­wa­ter kayak­ing (or even sky­div­ing) are 17 times less than driving—even when held con­stant for the fact that we dri­ve a lot more frequently.

We fear bears, light­ning strikes, sharks, and snakes far more than we fear things that are both more dan­ger­ous and more com­mon: hypother­mia, sprained ankles, heat exhaus­tion, get­ting lost, and weath­er changes. In dai­ly life we dis­play a sim­i­lar­ly non­sen­si­cal pat­tern: we fear fly­ing more than dri­ving, but fly­ing is much safer. We fear ter­ror­ist attacks and vio­lent crime more than we fear heart dis­ease or diabetes—which kill far more people.

Why Fear?
To real­ly know, we need to know what fear is for. Fear plays a crit­i­cal sur­vival func­tion: trig­ger­ing our fight-or-flight reflex and mak­ing us more cau­tious. Lack of fear—which is stim­u­lat­ed by anger—can lead us to take fool­ish risks. Much of our fear is hard-wired from our evo­lu­tion. Bears are big preda­tors, and we evolved with plen­ty of big preda­tors that saw us as a snack. Snakes and spiders—small and gen­er­al­ly not aggressive—packed poi­son; fear of snakes is present even in peo­ple who have nev­er seen one in real life. But not all fear is con­sis­tent: some peo­ple see a big dog as a devour­ing mon­ster. The next per­son will give it a big hug and want to take it home.

Psy­chol­o­gist Shankar Vedan­tam told the Wash­ing­ton Post that we tend to exag­ger­ate fears when they are unusu­al, like air­plane crash­es, light­ning strikes, or earth­quakes, then com­mon occur­rences like car acci­dents or hypother­mia. We over­es­ti­mate the num­ber of acci­dents and the like­li­hood of it hap­pen­ing to us. Fear sys­tems are also trig­gered more quick­ly when we can attribute some sort of “malev­o­lence” to the cause: crime, ter­ror­ism, bears, and snakes. Our fear is trig­gered far less when there’s no “ene­my”: bad weath­er, a loose rock that twists a knee, or a sun-warmed avalanche slope.

And fear is a poor tool for slow and incre­men­tal risks, as the onset of heart dis­ease or cli­mate change. Because fear trig­gers a fight-or-flight response to com­bat an imme­di­ate threat, it doesn’t work over long peri­ods of time. In the out­doors, this pos­es some risk: we can miss storm clouds slow­ly build­ing or the of slow fatigue that sets the stage for a larg­er accident.

How to Deal With and Har­ness Fear
How can we use fear to our advan­tage in the wilds? How can we stop our irra­tional fears from par­a­lyz­ing us or killing the enjoy­ment of the wilder­ness? Here are some places to start:

1. Use Fear
If you’re afraid when you’re about to drop into a big rapid or tra­verse a steep slope over a rush­ing gorge, there may be a rea­son. Let your fear encour­age you, then reassess and become more cau­tious. That’s what fear is for, and in some degree, it’s doing its job by mak­ing you care. And if you do decide to run that rapid, mod­er­ate amounts of fear give you a per­for­mance advan­tage by releas­ing adren­a­line that gives you a quick­er respons­es and more strength.

2. Smile and Laugh
Mod­er­ate amounts of fear are help­ful, but too much fear will immo­bi­lize you and drain you. To reduce your fear, smile. Laugh. Tell jokes. Horse around. These phys­i­cal moves will stim­u­late your parasym­pa­thet­ic ner­vous sys­tem, help­ing shut down the fight-or-flight response. Even if you don’t feel like smil­ing, the mus­cle move­ment affects your sys­tem and helps you unwind. Fake it till you make it.

3. Con­front The Sil­ly Stuff
Con­front the less ratio­nal fears we face in the outdoors—the dark, some crea­ture lurk­ing out there, or being alone. Go for a walk in the dark. Over time, the instinc­tive part of your brain will learn that it’s not some­thing to be so afraid of.

4. Watch the Small Stuff
Train your­self to be aware of where our evo­lu­tion­ary instincts tend to fail us. Devel­op a quick eye for the small risks that are slow­ly accu­mu­lat­ing: fatigue, dehy­dra­tion, dete­ri­o­rat­ing weath­er, a group mak­ing slow­er time than planned; and that might hit prob­lems lat­er in the day, and the mem­ber of your group who’s start­ing to look exhaust­ed and wobbly.

Franklin Roo­sevelt over­sim­pli­fied when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The only thing we have to fear is fear of the wrong things.

©istockphoto/wanderlusterSome char­ac­ter-build­ing is best accom­plished in nature. The wilder, the bet­ter. Here are six lessons you learn in the great outdoors.

While explor­ing the back­coun­try, metaphors like “going the extra mile” or “climb­ing to the top” aren’t just the­o­ret­i­cal; some­times they’re lit­er­al­ly what you’ll have to do if you want to make it back to civ­i­liza­tion. The obsta­cles could be small like blis­ters on the heel—or great like a suc­ces­sion of tricky rapids to nav­i­gate in your kayak. You’ll put in the work to achieve your goal. And you’ll feel amaz­ing when you succeed.

Progress is earned in the wilder­ness. You learn to per­form fun­da­men­tal tasks from start to fin­ish using only your own wits and strength. Each new adven­ture brings expe­ri­ence and skills you can apply to the next outing.

Trust and Communication 
When you ven­ture off the beat­en path, you’re putting faith in the peo­ple you’re with. Whether it’s trust­ing that the bud­dy you’re belay­ing with knows the ropes, or depend­ing on a mem­ber of the group to do first aid when you twist your ankle, you’ll have to work as a unit. And if dis­agree­ments crop up, you can’t just walk away. You’ll have to work through your dif­fer­ences and arrive at com­pro­mis­es for the ben­e­fit of the team.


Wilder­ness is spe­cial. But until you’ve worked hard to get some­where tru­ly remote, it’s hard to appre­ci­ate just how valu­able our pre­served spaces are. Get­ting beyond the reach of con­ve­niences and mod­ern dis­trac­tions puts it in per­spec­tive. And human impact shows so glar­ing­ly in pris­tine places, your aware­ness of your behav­iors is increased exponentially.

Brain run­ning a mile a minute? Smart­phone always divid­ing your atten­tion? Even a small amount of out­door time increas­es men­tal acu­ity. Being out­doors can recal­i­brate your sens­es. When you trade the ping­ing of text mes­sages for the music of bird calls, you get a seri­ous brain boost. To enjoy the ben­e­fits, sim­ply hit the trail. Nature will take it from there.

Humil­i­ty and Awe
Words and pho­tos nev­er quite do jus­tice to the beau­ty of nature. We can’t cap­ture it or domes­ti­cate it. What’s more, is nature is always at least a bit of a risk; the unan­tic­i­pat­ed storm will remind you that weath­er apps aren’t gods. The thin air at the top of the moun­tain will give you a les­son in lung capacity.

About the most an adven­tur­er can do is come before it with an atti­tude of respect and grat­i­tude. John Muir described his beloved Yosemite as a cathe­dral, pro­found­ly express­ing the awe that being in wild places instills. You’re not the mas­ter of the uni­verse, and this is a good thing.

The lessons learned in the wilder­ness, from out­door skills to group team­work, add up to con­fi­dence in dai­ly life. You’ve braved the ele­ments. You’ve tast­ed the chal­lenge and thrill of sur­vival, hum­bling your­self in the process.

Pat your­self on the back. You’re ready for anything.

hiker hunter

hiker hunterHunters and hik­ers can coex­ist peace­ful­ly dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son. All it takes is a bit of under­stand­ing and respect on both sides.

If you’re a hik­er, chances are hunt­ing isn’t exact­ly on your radar. If you’re a hunter, how­ev­er, hik­ers and oth­er peo­ple who are recre­at­ing while you’re try­ing to fill your tags are ever-present in your mind for safe­ty purposes.

Here’s how both par­ties can stay safe and friendly.

Know the Area Well

With the inter­net at your dis­pos­al, there’s not much you can’t dis­cov­er by research­ing. For hik­ers and hunters dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son, it can be an invalu­able resource to deter­mine where to go and what pre­cau­tions to take.

For Hik­ers:

If you’re plan­ning to hit the trails, check to see if and when hunt­ing is allowed in the area. Try to avoid areas where hunt­ing is heavy dur­ing sun­rise and sun­set when vis­i­bil­i­ty to low. Be cour­te­ous when you encounter hunters.

For Hunters:

Check to see if any pop­u­lar hik­ing trails run through your unit. Keep an eye out for hik­ers and oth­ers recre­at­ing in the out­doors. Be cour­te­ous if you encounter any non-hunters.

Stay Vis­i­ble

Dif­fer­ent states have reg­u­la­tions for hunters and the types of col­ors and cloth­ing they’re required to wear dur­ing spe­cif­ic sea­sons. How­ev­er, for hik­ers who stray into hunt­ing units, there are no spe­cif­ic regulations.

That said, if you plan to hike, snow­shoe, or back­coun­try ski dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son, make sure you are vis­i­ble. Where bright col­ors and bright hats. Orange and hot pink will catch hunters’ atten­tion because these are reg­u­la­tion hunt­ing col­ors in most states.

Leash Your Pets

Play­ing with your pet in the great out­doors is a joy but it can be dan­ger­ous dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son. Though very unlike­ly, your dog could be mis­tak­en for an ani­mal by a hunter. Not to men­tion, if your dog is prey-dri­ven, they might chase away elk, moose, or oth­er ani­mals that hunters are try­ing to track.

Best prac­tice when hik­ing with your ani­mal dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son is to keep them leashed or to hike off-leash where hunt­ing is not tak­ing place.

Be Respect­ful

For Hik­ers:

Regard­less of your views on legal hunt­ing, under­stand that hunters are out pur­su­ing their pas­sion in the wilder­ness just like you. If you see one, say hel­lo and look out for one anoth­er. Also, keep in mind that hunters have paid a lot of mon­ey and invest­ed con­sid­er­able time to pur­sue their game. Try to inter­fere as lit­tle as possible.

For Hunters:

Under­stand that hik­ers have just as much right to be in the wilder­ness as you do, in fact they may even be an asset since avid hik­ers often know their areas extreme­ly well and can tell you where the ani­mals might be. Talk to them, let them know if there are any oth­er hunters in the area, and be cour­te­ous always.

©istockphoto/PoparticWhether you spent a sum­mer bag­ging every four­teen­er in the Rocky Moun­tains or you walked across the coun­try com­plet­ing a Nation­al Scenic Trail, these expe­ri­ences that define the way you think can also define the way poten­tial employ­ers see you as a poten­tial employee.

Though the job-seek­ing process is a far cry from what your adven­ture stood for, if you ever do want to step up to that dream orga­ni­za­tion and pri­mo posi­tion you’ve been striv­ing for, a big adven­ture can help you stand out in the play­ing field. While it always helps to apply towards an orga­ni­za­tion with sim­i­lar out­door val­ues, if you do need a lit­tle help sell­ing your case, check out these ways any big adven­ture can help you on your next job application.

Plan­ning, Orga­ni­za­tion, and Atten­tion to Detail 
Any­one who has loaded climb­ing gear into the back of a vehi­cle knows the val­ue of orga­ni­za­tion, plan­ning and the impor­tance of being detailed. That’s because in many ways in the out­doors, your life depends on it. Beyond the sticky notes and col­or-cod­ed manil­la envelopes, when you put your­self out in the back­coun­try, on top of the rock or any­where where mod­ern con­ve­niences don’t apply, it’s your plan­ning, orga­niz­ing and atten­tion to detail that helps keep you safe.

Pas­sion­ate and Value-Driven 
Per­haps you plunged into the wilder­ness to pho­to­graph the nat­ur­al world, or you scaled the high­est moun­tain to know if you could do it, what­ev­er the rea­son, there is an iden­ti­fi­able spark of life that push­es you for­ward. It takes more than nails to build a house, it requires a relent­less swing of the ham­mer that comes from these pas­sions and val­ues. With that kind of enthu­si­asm and the right posi­tion you are apply­ing for, many things are possible.

Works Well with Others
Send­ing mes­sages back to base­camp, ensur­ing cor­dial con­tact with your climb­ing part­ners, even know­ing how to ask for that last scoop of peanut-but­ter, a key to any suc­cess­ful expe­di­tion is the abil­i­ty to work well with oth­ers. Even the most self-dri­ven, high­ly-capa­ble adven­tur­er relies on oth­ers, or more appro­pri­ate­ly on his/her rela­tion­ship with oth­ers. Whether you lead with a joke or cut straight to the point, com­mu­ni­cat­ing and sur­viv­ing togeth­er in the out­doors is a bal­anc­ing act between hear­ing and speak­ing, and can be a huge addi­tion to any com­pa­ny or position.

Self-Moti­va­tion, Deter­mi­na­tion, Tenacity
Your dri­ve for life is set on high, after all, what else could have pushed you to that final mile and beyond the fin­ish line? For some it’s cof­fee, oth­ers it’s tea, but it is the rush of a brand new day that gets you out of bed and one step clos­er to your goals. Giv­en the right direc­tion to fol­low, and the sup­port at your side, with your demon­strat­ed self-moti­va­tion, deter­mi­na­tion and tenac­i­ty behind you, you can take any busi­ness that extra distance.

Crit­i­cal Think­ing Abilities 
Remem­ber that time the bridge was out? Or when your tent poles broke under the weight of the overnight snow? Or how about that time mice got into your food bag and killed a few day’s sup­plies? While every­one has been in a sit­u­a­tion that wasn’t includ­ed in the plans, for many instances it didn’t mean game over. Instead, by eval­u­at­ing the ele­ments, assess­ing the assets and mak­ing a most-informed deci­sion, plans have changed and obsta­cles hur­dled. This kind of think­ing-on-your-toes abil­i­ty is valu­able in all aspects of life and career.

Phys­i­cal and Men­tal Capabilities
If you are apply­ing for a job that would require some phys­i­cal move­ment, then rid­ing your bike across the coun­try or swim­ming across Lake Michi­gan is a clear exam­ple of your abil­i­ties. The oth­er side of things, the part that doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have such tan­gi­ble def­i­n­i­tions as miles ran or ver­ti­cal climbed, is the men­tal capa­bil­i­ties that pushed you for­ward. You might describe it as fool-hearty or as a lack of com­mon sen­si­bil­i­ty when it’s day 13 of pour­ing-down rain and your thigh mus­cles feel like bal­loons about to pop, but in the end, your are stronger from these expe­ri­ences, both phys­i­cal­ly and mentally.

Char­ac­ter Building
It all seems to boil down to this, such easy words to use but a hard con­cept to tru­ly under­stand. Big adven­tures have a way of rear­rang­ing some of the hard-wiring in our brains, infus­ing new capa­bil­i­ties and per­spec­tives with every step and turn of the wheel. It can be sub­tle, like a beard try­ing to grow, but the per­son you become after a big trip is dif­fer­ent from the per­son who start­ed one. Whether it was the plen­ti­ful exer­cise or the insight­ful moments, per­haps even just the ego-boost from an accom­plish­ment, that per­son you are now because of your big adven­ture is the per­fect can­di­date for your dream job or position.

©istockphoto/scotto72Before you head into the hills, it’s impor­tant to have an hon­est con­ver­sa­tion with your climb­ing part­ner. These sim­ple ques­tions can make your day run more smooth­ly, let you both have more fun, and keep things safer when things get real.

What are your com­fort limits?
As tempt­ing as it can be to exag­ger­ate the ter­rain you’re com­fort­able climb­ing, ski­ing, or trav­el­ing through in the moun­tains, it’s vital­ly impor­tant to be hon­est with your climb­ing partner—and with your­self. Iden­ti­fy which grades are easy, chal­leng­ing, and out­side of your com­fort lev­el, and keep in mind that those num­bers might be dif­fer­ent on dif­fer­ent types of ter­rain. A 5.10 crack climber might be uncom­fort­able on a run-out 5.7 slab, for exam­ple, and that’s impor­tant to understand.

Do you have any phys­i­cal concerns?
When your life depends on the per­son hold­ing the oth­er end of the rope, it’s impor­tant to under­stand any med­ical con­cerns or health issues that they might have—especially if you’re in a remote area or off the grid. Ask your part­ner if they have aller­gies, what med­ica­tions they’re tak­ing, if they’ve ever had surg­eries, and if there are any oth­er med­ical con­cerns that you should know about. If you’re plan­ning a mul­ti-day trip, write down emer­gency con­tact num­bers, health insur­ance infor­ma­tion, and pre-exist­ing conditions.

If some­thing goes wrong, what kind of train­ing do you have?
Before head­ing for the hills with a new part­ner, it’s worth com­par­ing expe­ri­ence. Do either of you have wilder­ness med­ical train­ing, like a Wilder­ness First Aid (WFA) or Wilder­ness First Respon­der (WFR)? Have either of you tak­en an avalanche course? Do you have safe­ty gear—beacons, shov­els, a res­cue rack—and do you both know how to use it? Not hav­ing train­ing isn’t a deal-break­er, of course—but it might be a good excuse to seek out some train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties together.

What’s your dream goal?
Every­body has dif­fer­ent goals, and they can vary wild­ly among climbers and skiers. For rock climbers, it might be a first trad lead, an icon­ic mul­ti-day big wall, or an onsight of an impres­sive grade. For skiers, it might be a back­coun­try tour, a first descent, or just that nail­ing that hard run at the local resort. But know­ing what your part­ner day­dreams about can help you pick objec­tives that chal­lenge and sat­is­fy you both on your pre­cious days out.

What do you need from me?
Every­body oper­ates dif­fer­ent­ly in the moun­tains, and every climber faces dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. For some peo­ple, vocal encour­age­ment and pos­i­tive stoke help build con­fi­dence; for oth­ers, hav­ing part­ners shout beta might be dis­tract­ing while they’re on lead. You’ll gain under­stand­ing with shared miles, of course, but don’t be afraid what helps your part­ner be the best they can be.

©istockphoto/PeopleImagesActive par­ents often raise adven­tur­ous fam­i­lies, which is won­der­ful for kids: they get to test their lim­its, learn how to han­dle them­selves in the out­doors, and grow up with a very respect­ful rela­tion­ship to nature. Just make sure you’re high­light­ing these impor­tant skills.

How To Read A Map
No mat­ter how com­plex our nav­i­ga­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy becomes, the abil­i­ty to read old-fash­ioned paper maps is an irre­place­able skill: it’s empow­er­ing, use­ful, and helps adven­tur­ers of all ages under­stand where they are, what the sur­round­ing areas con­tain, and how to chart a course to a cho­sen des­ti­na­tion. Start with the basics, like ori­ent­ing charts, under­stand­ing the car­di­nal direc­tions, topo­graph­ic demar­ca­tions, and iden­ti­fy­ing and dis­cern­ing lakes, rivers, moun­tains, and roads. As kids get old­er and more famil­iar with maps, move on to the more advanced skills, like the con­sid­er­ing con­cepts that cause dec­li­na­tion, find­ing a slope angle, and cal­cu­lat­ing dis­tances between points.

A Basic Under­stand­ing of Fire
Every­body loves pok­ing around in the camp­fire, and kids are no excep­tion. Rather than dis­cour­ag­ing school-aged chil­dren from exper­i­ment­ing with fire, teach them to respect the flames and edu­cate them with the knowl­edge of how to play safe­ly. Where are safe places to start fires in your local ecosys­tem? How should they be con­tained and extin­guished? What should they do if they see a spark fly out of the fire? What are some of the most effective—and fun—ways to cook over a campfire?

Sit­u­a­tion­al Awareness
Of all the things the out­doors can teach us, this is one of the most important—and the most over­looked. When you’re out­side, encour­age kids to prac­tice sim­ple aware­ness activ­i­ties. For exam­ple, ask ques­tions like What’s above you? What’s below you? What kinds of nois­es are nor­mal for this place? What kinds of ani­mals might live in this envi­ron­ment? If you were to trip and fall, what would hap­pen? Keep the atmos­phere light and play­ful with fun games to encour­age obser­va­tion­al skills—but don’t under­es­ti­mate how use­ful those skills can be.

Respect for Knives 
Knives have been fas­ci­nat­ing to kids for cen­turies. They’re pow­er­ful and dan­ger­ous tools, and many pint-sized scouts crave the knowl­edge to use their blades safe­ly. Embrace that curios­i­ty by teach­ing safe and respect­ful knife-han­dling skills: start with an age-appro­pri­ate pock­et knife or mul­ti-tool, encour­age prop­er fin­ger posi­tion­ing and hand place­ment, and explain thor­ough­ly how to eval­u­ate whether a sit­u­a­tion is a safe place to use a blade. The first project? Whit­tling the per­fect marsh­mal­low roast­ing stick.

A Basic Sense of Risk Assessment
Most young peo­ple under­stand that doing cer­tain things caus­es cer­tain results—but prac­tic­ing, under­stand­ing, and talk­ing about actions and their con­se­quences in a con­trolled wilder­ness or out­door envi­ron­ment can be a very reward­ing expe­ri­ence. Try set­ting up safe sit­u­a­tions where kids can prac­tice their own eval­u­a­tion of risk ver­sus reward. For exam­ple, go on a walk in a local park, then ask which way they’d like to go: the short­er route, which will be easier—or the longer route, which will be hard­er but more reward­ing? By prac­tic­ing these skills with the help of fam­i­ly mem­bers and loved ones, young peo­ple will be more pre­pared to thrive in the outdoors—and in life.


Jump­ing over ledges, leap­ing over logs and per­form­ing some pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar aer­i­al acro­bat­ics are all stan­dard pro­ce­dure for most dogs, but they’re also the same tal­ents shared by folks who love tra­vers­ing long dis­tances out­doors. We think there’s no rea­son dogs and peo­ple shouldn’t be doing them togeth­er. If you have a love for sports that are best played out in the wild, here are a few breeds you’ll prob­a­bly get on well with.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/corinne_benavides/Bor­der Collie
The Bor­der Col­lie is heav­i­ly regard­ed as the most intel­li­gent dog breed out there and he’s incred­i­bly active to boot. If you see one of these guys in an agili­ty com­pe­ti­tion you can bet he’ll be at the top of the pack. He loves to jump and dart around obsta­cles and would be the per­fect com­pan­ion for any­one who spends his days leap­ing over logs and splash­ing through rivers.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vladm2007/Stan­dard Poodle
The sec­ond most intel­li­gent dog breed is also capa­ble of learn­ing how to nav­i­gate dif­fi­cult obsta­cles, mak­ing him one of the best breeds for folks who love to moun­tain bike through the woods. The Stan­dard Poo­dle is eas­i­ly rec­og­niz­able for its remark­able appear­ance, which includes long legs that car­ry him high in the air and allows him to move grace­ful­ly across the ground. He’s per­fect­ly capa­ble of keep­ing up with a fast pace and, truth­ful­ly, might even be able to out­run you on your bike.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/haroldmeerveld/Ger­man Shepherd
The Ger­man Shep­herd is sort of the bad boy of the dog world, with a fierce per­son­al­i­ty, hand­some looks and a bit of a wild side. He loves to be in the mid­dle of the action and is always down for com­pe­ti­tion. His long, lean body makes him very agile and capa­ble of mak­ing astound­ing leaps from his hind legs. He’s also a tad sus­cep­ti­ble to hip dys­pla­sia, so he needs to be well mon­i­tored if you’re going to go hop­ping over boul­ders with him. He’s a great trail run­ner and can even do well with moun­tain climbing.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eyth16_de/Jack Rus­sell Terrier
Yep, that’s right; this tiny ter­ror is one of the best dogs at tack­ling obsta­cle and agili­ty cours­es. He’s chock full of ener­gy and is great at tack­ling sharp turns. He might not be able to make the high­est leaps out there, but with his smarts he’ll find a way to climb over any­thing you can throw in front of him. The rugged out­doors are actu­al­ly pret­ty per­fect for his tiny body. Take him with you when you’re hik­ing, jog­ging or even rock climb­ing as he’s pret­ty good and find­ing his way over the rocks. Heck, he might even beat you to the top if he takes the long way around.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdehaan/Aus­tralian Kelpie
The Aus­tralian Kelpie has the per­son­al­i­ty and work eth­ic of the Aus­tralian Shep­herd and the body of a Ger­man Shep­herd, mak­ing him on mon­strous pup when it comes to agili­ty. He’s quick on his feet, high­ly intel­li­gent, and always ready to throw down on a chal­lenge. It sure doesn’t help that he’s cute as a but­ton, too. Ide­al­ly, he’ll have an own­er who enjoys long-dis­tance run­ning or a good day spent on the beach or out on the waves rid­ing a board.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/smerikal/Labrador Retriev­er
The Lab has been America’s favorite dog breed for 25 years run­ning, thanks heav­i­ly to his friend­ly dis­po­si­tion and his abil­i­ty to fit in well in any sit­u­a­tion. Out­door enthu­si­asts will find this guy to be ath­let­ic and agile, while also smart enough to tack­le any bar­ri­er in front of him. He’s easy to train and loves to please, so you can feel com­fort­able let­ting him off leash wher­ev­er you choose to run.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bantam10/Aus­tralian Shepherd
It’s impos­si­ble to make a list of per­fect breeds for leap­ing over things and not include the Aus­tralian Shep­herd; this guy con­sis­tent­ly ranks near the top of the leader­board in every com­pe­ti­tion he enters. The Aussie is quick, smart and has more ener­gy than most peo­ple can han­dle. He’s the per­fect pup for those who like to spend their days out­side on the run or in the air. He’s great for moun­tain climbers thanks to his thick coat, as well as hik­ers, campers and runners.

While at first glance you might think we must be jok­ing, but Papil­lons have increas­ing­ly been involved in agili­ty com­pe­ti­tions over the last few years and are cer­tain­ly mak­ing a name for them­selves on the scene. These tiny toy spaniels are full of ener­gy and are capa­ble of mak­ing some pret­ty impres­sive leaps for dogs of their size. Take one of these along on your jaunts and you’re sure to draw a lot of attention.

Not all towns are cre­at­ed equal when it comes to liv­ing that out­door lifestyle. These are sev­en of our favorite cities for amaz­ing access to out­door adventures.

©istockphoto/Left_Coast_PhotographerSan Diego, CA
There’s only one “America’s Finest City,” and it’s San Diego for good rea­son. Sev­en­ty miles of beach­es cre­ate excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ties for surf­ing and every oth­er water sport imag­in­able, and great weath­er twelve months out of the year means you’ll find some­one to share your stoke in every sea­son. San Diego is also a great base of oper­a­tions for hiking—there are six­ty-five miles of trails in the famed Bal­boa Park alone, and oth­er local trails cut through canyons and across sea­side cliffs. A bit far­ther out you’ll find the Lagu­na Moun­tains, which see reg­u­lar snow­fall, and deserts, includ­ing California’s largest state park, the Anza-Bor­rego Desert, home to slot canyons, mud caves, and the elu­sive bighorn sheep.

©istockphoto/christiannafzgerBoise, ID
Most peo­ple hear “Ida­ho” and think “pota­toes,” and to be fair, the Ida­ho Pota­to Drop is still a thing. But Boise is also home to the 25-mile Green­belt, a tree-lined recre­ation­al space that fol­lows the Boise Riv­er, pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for fish­ing and bird­watch­ing. The Boise Riv­er is itself a recre­ation­al site, pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies for its kid-friend­ly flat­wa­ter stretch­es that beg to be float­ed and home to the Boise Riv­er Park, where expe­ri­enced pad­dlers can test them­selves against the river’s waves. For even more thrills, try raft­ing the Mid­dle Fork of the Salmon Riv­er, 100 miles of class IV white­wa­ter run­ning through the Frank Church Riv­er of No Return Wilder­ness, the largest road­less wilder­ness left in the US.

©istockphoto/Maxim KazitovOlympia, WA
Seattle’s prox­im­i­ty to heavy hit­ters like the Olympic Nation­al For­est, the Puget Sound, the Cas­cades, and even Mt. Rainier, makes it a fine city for out­door enthu­si­asts, but less­er-known Olympia is clos­er to those des­ti­na­tions, and it boasts a num­ber of home­grown parks per­fect for fam­i­lies and week­end-war­riors to boot. Priest Point Park and Per­ci­val Land­ing Park pro­vide water­front oppor­tu­ni­ties along the Sound, while Capi­tol State Forest’s 150-plus miles of sin­gle­track and eques­tri­an trails lie just out­side the city. Thurston’s Boun­ti­ful Byway fea­tures 60 scenic miles of loca­vore heav­en, wind­ing between dis­til­leries and farms, and the Chehalis West­ern Trail pro­vides fifty miles of access to over 170 acres of park­land, includ­ing near­ly two miles of frontage along the Deschutes River.

©istockphoto/epanthaChat­tanooga, TN
Chat­tanooga’s nat­ur­al beau­ty is arguably its great­est attrac­tion. Hik­ers and pad­dlers alike take advan­tage of trails in the moun­tains and on its blue­ways, and crush­ers flock from around the nation to the routes along the miles of sand­stone bluffs and myr­i­ad crags and boul­ders. All that rock means Chat­tanooga is absolute­ly rid­dled with caves, from the more com­mer­cial oper­a­tions in The Lost Sea and Ruby Falls to the unnamed, pos­si­bly unchart­ed 7000+ sys­tems through­out the region, best suit­ed for expe­ri­enced spe­lunk­ers. And final­ly, the warm sun on the Ten­nessee Riv­er Val­ley cre­ates some seri­ous­ly pow­er­ful ther­mals over the Cum­ber­land Mountains—hang glid­ers can soar for hours on a sin­gle launch when the winds are just right.

©istockphoto/Brent_1Moab, UT
Sit­u­at­ed between the oth­er­world­ly red rock of Arch­es Nation­al Park and the eerie, com­pelling land­scape of Canyon­lands Nation­al Park, it’s no won­der Moab is pop­u­lar with out­door recre­ation enthu­si­asts. Moab’s got it all. Into moun­tain bik­ing? Spoil your­self with an amaz­ing buf­fet of bik­ing trails, from easy Gem­i­ni Bridges to the tech­ni­cal rock drop descent on Cap­tain Ahab—and of course, you can’t miss the icon­ic Slick­rock Trail. BASE jump­ing? Legal in many places around Moab. Slack­lin­ing? World records have been set here. Canyoneer­ing? Zion Nation­al Park’s just hours away. Kayak­ing? Col­orado Riv­er. Heliski­ing? Those are the Wasatch Moun­tains, and they’re calling.

©istockphoto/LeiengAnchor­age, AK
The peak of Denali is vis­i­ble from down­town, and that’s just the begin­ning of things to love about Anchor­age. Chugach State Park is its back­yard, boast­ing 155 peaks and almost twice that in trail mileage, and locals love Flat­top Peak—an easy hike for the stout-heart­ed and a pop­u­lar spot to spend the sum­mer solstice’s 22 hours of day­light. If you’re look­ing for glac­i­ers, more than five per­cent of the state is cov­ered by them, and they’re close enough to touch in places like Matanus­ka Glac­i­er Park where you can walk right out onto the ice or grab your pad­dle and kayak through a sparkling ice field. Win­ter days are short, but sev­en hours is still plen­ty of time to climb a frozen water­fall or play a game of pick-up ice hockey.

©istockphoto/Fernando-HPort­land, ME
Maine boasts 3,500 miles of coast­line on the Atlantic Ocean and its inland lakes and streams, mak­ing it an excel­lent East Coast des­ti­na­tion for pad­dlers, and Portland’s the per­fect launch­ing point. Take a canoe out on the Scar­bor­ough Marsh, a large salt­wa­ter tidal marsh per­fect for begin­ners and fam­i­lies, or put into Cas­co Bay and explore Peaks Island and the sur­round­ing waters. Mean­while, land­lub­bers can appre­ci­ate the hun­dred-odd miles of walk­ing trails, and more chal­leng­ing treks are just min­utes away in Aca­dia Nation­al Park and Bax­ter State Park, the lat­ter of which is home to the state’s high­est peak, Mount Katahdin.