Educating the Public About Making Recreational Decisions

The most important right we have is the right to be responsible.” Gerald Amos

It is generally accepted that recreational use in natural environments result in some degree of negative social and environmental impact. Today the increasing popularity of outdoor activities indicates that people are looking for new ways to interact with the environment. 

When looking at recreational impacts the understanding of visitor perceptions of resource impacts requires the consideration and evaluation of a variety of influencing variables. What visitors perceive and their judgments about resource impacts are influenced by many factors including setting, the type of resource impact, visitor characteristics, visitor expectations, and level of knowledge. Factors such as local ecological knowledge and knowledge of minimal-impact practices positively influence visitor perceptions of resource impacts. 

Recreation activities can cause impact to all resource elements in a wilderness ecosystem. Soil, vegetation, wildlife, and water are the four primary components that are affected. When we take the time to look at the effects of recreating in nature and the opportunities to expand our knowledge base to implement more education-based programs flourish.  When you research the factors that influence visitors' perceptions of environmental and social conditions it is then necessary to inform the public about environmental management of protected natural areas. 

Environmental education is a relatively young field of study, but it is utilizing practices that are much older. With educating the public about making hiking decisions the larger long term topic and goals are related to recreation ecology and how to maintain a balance and the shorter term goals are beginning the education process. 

With the ever-increasing demand for outdoor activities being on the rise- the environmental education is going to have to grow or catch up to the progress of growth. We want you to join us, in the journey about learning about the activities and places we love, while educating others in the process and getting everyone excited about nature and the great outdoors!