Introduction to Outdoor Recreation
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Scope of This Text
• Sharing tall tales beside a fading campfire deep in a national forest
• Jogging on a carriage road in New York’s Central Park
• Riding the last descent on a rugged mountain bike trail in Utah
• Photographing the “cloud forest” in a Costa Rican national park
• Rock climbing the face of El Capitan
• Enjoying the company of good friends
• Testing skills
• Learning about nature
• Feeling success after meeting a challenge
• Wondering about one’s place in the universe
• Making memories
• Realizing the benefits of close families, healthy people, strong economies, and communities committed to sustaining their natural environments
These are all parts of outdoor recreation.
So are hundreds of other activities, satisfying experiences, and beneficial outcomes.
This text is about outdoor recreation: what it is, providing opportunities for it, and professionally managing the places where it takes place.
Despite its diversity, all outdoor recreation has one thing in common.
By definition, outdoor recreation depends in some way on natural environments.
The natural setting might be a pristine wilderness area virtually untouched by humans, or it could be a carefully designed and highly modified urban park or greenway.
Outdoor recreation can occur days from the nearest road or in a tiny park in the heart of downtown.
This text attempts to introduce the concepts and skills needed to be effective outdoor recreation professionals and providers in the myriad settings where it occurs.