Recreating in nature offers us opportunities to better connect with the earth and inspire us to be good stewards of these wild places that we preserve and protect. Not only that, outdoor recreation is a part of our national heritage, improves quality of life, and adds value to our economy.
What better way to enjoy the outdoors than by visiting the public lands near you? Being in nature provides so many benefits for a healthy lifestyle that no matter what your interests or hobbies, the outdoors has an activity for everyone.
To celebrate June’s Great Outdoors Month, here are some ways you can get outdoors in the great outdoors! And remember, different land agencies have different missions, which means not all public lands have the same rules and regulations. Check agency websites or stop by a contact station before you set out on your great outdoors adventures and remember to plan like a park ranger and always Recreate Responsibly.
The birdwatching opportunities on public lands are endless, and some of the most endangered species and rarest birds on the planet can be found in these protected places.
Whether you are just discovering the joys of bird watching or you are an experienced birder, the national wildlife refuge system is filled with endless bird watching moments. From bald eagles to spoonbills, condors to puffins, birds abound across national wildlife refuges. With more than 565 refuges within the U.S., chances are there’s a refuge near you!
When the dog days of summer have you feeling the heat, it might be time to find the closest watering hole, lake, reservoir, or stream to cool down and recharge your soul.
Water-based recreation is another avenue to access the wetter side of the great outdoors. Whether your activity of choice is kayaking, swimming, canoeing, skiing, or boating, there are public land areas that offer some H20 relief.
Looking for some Interior specific places to dip your toes or cruise the pontoon? Here’s some resources to get you started:
From stress relief to family bonding, the benefits of fishing are endless! We have so many fishing hot spots to suggest that we could publish an entire blog on that topic alone. Here’s some resources to get you started on all the fishing opportunities that await you at Interior managed sites:
Great Outdoors Month is the perfect time to hit the dusty trail. Hikers, here is your horoscope for the summer:
You’ve had no shortage of outdoor connections since Jupiter moved into Aquarius last December. Solitude will be especially sweet for your upcoming summer. Use this wandering time wisely, contemplating how far you’ve come and how far you will go on the trails. Above all, make room for new positive habits, adventures, and outdoor experiences.
Now that we have that important business out of the way, let’s get inspired by the long, or short, trail journeys that could be in your future.
Bureau of Land Management areas have some of the best hiking trails for those seeking solitude. These peaceful trails offer everything from small foot paths through untrammeled wilderness, to National Historic Trails with developed trailheads and interpretive centers. Give in to your destiny and find the path/trail that’s right for you.
Photography is an important part of national park history. Early photographers took pictures to show why these special places needed protection. You can continue the tradition of park photography by getting outdoors and capturing the beauty of these protected natural and historic wonders.
Here’s some tips when photographing national parks:
Every summer, the Department of the Interior asks Americans to volunteer on our public lands. Building on Interior's proud legacy of service, volunteers have lent their talents and skills within their communities and at wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries, national parks, recreation areas, and cultural sites across the country.
Give back and get outdoors at one of the thousands of Interior managed sites across the nation. Our Volunteer page can help get you started on finding some amazing volunteer opportunities at some of the most scenic and historically significant places in the country.
We all have different reasons for camping. Some like to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. Some families go camping to revitalize their relationships, away from all the distractions at home. Whatever your reason, loading up the camper or the tent, and sleeping out under the stars can recharge your body and mind.
The National Park Service has some of the most epic camping spots available for outdoor enthusiasts and they have a variety of places you can set up your tent, hammock or camper. From the backcountry wilderness of a national park to your own backyard, the National Park Service website called Where Can I Camp will help you find a national park campground for you, your family, or group of friends and give you tips on what to expect when you get there.
Hunters are some of our most ardent conservationists and they play an important role in ensuring the future of diverse and healthy wildlife populations. In the U.S., hunting is a wildlife management tool, part of cultural traditions, and a means to feed communities.
Millions of acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land across the country is open for hunters. Breaking News: now there are even more places to hunt! Just in time for Great Outdoors Month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has expanded opportunities for hunting and fishing.
The proposal for new or expanded hunting opportunities for game species across 2.1 million acres at 90 national wildlife refuges across the U.S. means your hunting trip choices just got bigger. Check out all of the national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries where you can plan your next hunt.
Watching wildlife can be as calm or as intense as you make it. Sure you’ve seen the gluttonous bears stuffing their mouths with salmon on the Katmai National Park live cameras, but have you ever experienced this magical feast first hand? Here’s some places to put on your wildlife watching bucket-list as well as ways to stay safe while there.
Katmai National Park - come for the bears, stay for the mosquitos
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge - birds, birds, and more birds
Everglades National Park - alligators are up close and personal at this Florida swamp
Vermillion Cliffs National Monument - home to the rare and endangered California condor
Leadville National Fish Hatchery - wildlife, fish, and fun for the whole family
When viewing wildlife, remember to follow these helpful rules:
Who loves science more than the U.S. Geological Survey? USGS is the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior and they love citizen science.
Citizen science allows the public to contribute to science no matter where they live! Whether by asking questions, reporting observations, conducting experiments, or collecting data, you can use your talents to help advance scientific knowledge. Learn more about current USGS citizen science opportunities at their Citizen Science Outreach page.