Outdoor Escapes and Etiquette

Notes from the North Woods

According to a recent national survey, people who regularly recreate outdoors, and those who had participated in outdoor recreation while growing up, are more likely than all others to be completely satisfied with their lives. Research reveals that those who recreate most often, are more likely to be completely satisfied with their choice of careers, friends and their perceived success in life.

Unfortunately for a majority of the country’s population, the pleasures of outdoor recreation and wilderness travel are no longer considered to be a normal part of everyday life. Despite this reality, there lies buried deep inside nearly everyone an untapped desire to pursue the pleasures and challenges that outdoor adventure provides.

The undisputable reality of enjoying the woods and waters is that the best, and most successful outdoor travelers are the ones who are having the most fun, without infringing on the enjoyment of others.

The vast majority of outdoor travelers take to the woods and waters to enjoy the peace, quite and solitude that such places afford. They seek such simple pleasures as a loon’s mournful tune, or the spectacular silence that is only available in a lonely valley, where the ambient noise is achieved by a rustling of leaves on the nearby trees.

Regrettably, there remain far too many travelers who never learned, or have simply forgotten, most of the important concepts and common courtesies inherent to the pursuit of responsible outdoor recreation. As a result, there are bound to be user conflicts, especially when different types of recreationalists engage in activities that require them to share limited natural resources.

The fun of one group should never be derived at the expense of others. Courtesy, compassion and understanding are key considerations in maintaining good wildwood relations among all user groups.

While regular outdoor travelers often understand the nuances of common sense, courtesy, and treating others as they wish to be treated, a similar understanding cannot always be expected.

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

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