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Troubles in camp

Notes from the North Woods

Introducing newcomers to the joys of outdoor travel is a primary responsibility of all outdoor travelers. Travel upon towering mountains and down wild rivers has a unique way of making men out of boys, and boys out of men. Pictured are Alex and Dillon Weatherup.

Introducing newcomers to the joys of outdoor travel is a primary responsibility of all outdoor travelers. Travel upon towering mountains and down wild rivers has a unique way of making men out of boys, and boys out of men. Pictured are Alex and Dillon Weatherup. Photo by Joe Hackett.

The current problem with camping is a lack of interest. According to a recent report on camping trends, camping is on the decline and participation rates are down nearly 10 percent from 2009.

The problem has nothing to do with the gear, food, weather or those pesky chipmunks. The primary reason for the lack of campers taking to the woods during 2010 and 2011 camping seasons was because they “just didn't have time for the outdoors.”

There are fewer Americans camping, fishing and hiking simply because “they have no time.” It is easy to understand the problem, especially with the price of gas, and the time and expense of traveling a long ways to access appropriate outdoor venues.

However, for those fortunate to live in the Adirondacks, the opportunity to hike, bike, fish, ski or paddle is often available depending on the season, within walking distance of home. It isn’t unusual for local residents to walk out their back door and take off for a ski, hike or bike trip for a few hours.

The recent report, which was sponsored by camping gear manufacturers and private campground operators, found that 40 million Americans went camping for a total of 515 million outings in 2010, a decline of about 10 percent from previous years.

A similar online survey of over 38,000 individuals and households was taken in January and February 2011. The online survey revealed that families planned about 8 percent fewer camping trips, compared to the previous year.

When asked about their reasons for fewer planned camping trips, 43 percent blamed lack of time because of work and school commitments and 33 percent said family commitments kept them from camping. Only 4 percent said they planned to camp less because it is too expensive. Camping, an outdoor activities in general, are an entertainment bargain. Where else can a person engage so easily in healthy, high quality, local entertainment so regularly, with so little investment.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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