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What’s It Going to Take to Get You Outdoors?

What’s It Going to Take to Get You Outdoors?
What will it take to get you outdoors and into nature?

Can you be persuaded, either through a special event or an engaging social-media campaign, to visit a state or national park or hike a trail at a national wildlife refuge? Will you go if it’s free?

In what appears to be an emerging trend in outdoor recreation, government land management agencies, nonprofit groups and others are using a mix of enticements to get more people outdoors — particularly millennials, younger families and other nontraditional demographics. The goals are to increase outdoors participation, buoy attendance at public venues (parks, refuges and trails), improve public health, and hopefully enlist a new generation of outdoors stewards.

“I think it’s absolutely a trend,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, a nonprofit group established by the Outdoors Industry Association to promote that shared passion. “In our research, young people and minorities are increasingly more indoors and inactive. Local and state agencies, among others, are looking to engage and attract new users … through savvy marketing strategies that have been shown to work with new audiences. We just have to continue to work to break down barriers.”

Although the “get outdoors” mantra isn’t new, the idea was popularized in 2005 with Richard Louv’s “Last Child Left in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.”

The bestselling book was a clarion call and confirmed that direct exposure to the outdoors is essential for healthy childhood development. In…
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