Researchers at the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) have recently detailed an interesting trend, where the economy is actually responsible for driving people back to nature. Compared to other recreational venues, the outdoors, the woods and waters are a real bargain.
Each year nearly 150 million Americans continue to enjoy the outdoors by hiking, rock climbing, bird-watching, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, paddling, hunting and fishing.
However, wild places are also very restorative and can offer a host of benefits beyond the stated economic and recreational factors, including stress reduction, a healthy lifestyle and high quality family experiences.
According to a recent OIA press release, "We see the economy driving people back to nature. This has tremendous implications for health and wellness issues.," explained Christine Fanning, executive director, "Outdoor recreation is finally being recognized as part of the solution. Our position is that nature should be the first prescription."
OIA research has also documented a shift in the mindset of many outdoor travelers and identified the growing demand from travelers that are simply seeking peace and solitude, rather than being motivated by high adventure.
Still wild after all those years
"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit," Robert Louis Stevenson
Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we tend to overlook the benefits of recreation, and the important restorative aspects of outdoor travel.
However, the fact remains that at the very core of our culture, Americans are adventurers. So too, were many of our heroes, from Daniel Boone to Teddy Roosevelt to John Glenn. We admire them because we all retain the need for adventure in our life.