Tag: Outdoor

How technology is helping to reshape fitness and outdoor recreation

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people increasingly have turned to exercise as a way to relax and recharge—often in droves. Yellowstone National Park, one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service, recorded its second busiest August ever as nearly 900,000 visitors passed through its gates.

But as with most everything in the COVID era, the usual rules don’t apply when it comes to staying active, whether hiking to Old Faithful or just working up a sweat at home. At this year’s Fast Company Innovation Festival, a panel discussion presented by Booz Allen Hamilton explored how digital innovations are helping to reshape recreation today, and in the years to come. Here are five key takeaways from the event:

1. Trip-planning goes digital

Forget poring over guidebooks and asking friends for their favorite hiking trails. Julie McPherson, executive vice president of digital solutions at Booz Allen Hamilton, says planning an outdoor adventure often starts with pulling out a smartphone. Booz Allen serves as innovative partner and main contractor to the federal government’s Recreation.gov service, which helps people find outdoor activities ranging from backcountry camping to ranger-led tours. The site’s mobile app was downloaded nearly 500,000 times during a three-month span this spring—more than the total downloads in all of 2019. “We’re all used to doing mobile,” McPherson said, “but we’re seeing so much more volume…whether it’s actually making reservations or just getting access to information.”

2. Slowing down, tuning in

As COVID-19 ground regular routines to a near-halt, many people found themselves with much more free time. Kristen Holmes, vice president of performance at WHOOP, which makes a wearable device that tracks fitness, sleep, and other physiological data, decided to embrace it. She has spent more time with family and has a renewed focus on her physical health. “I’ve just been trying to be more aware of the signals that my body is giving me,” Holmes said. “I want to make sure I create space for that during the day.”

Holmes is not alone. While the consensus assumed that COVID lockdowns would lead to less-than-savory habits, WHOOP collected data that showed the opposite: users were sleeping better, exercising more, and improving their cardiovascular fitness. “These are really crazy times,” she said. “We actually saw our cohort get healthier during this time of uncertainty and unrest.”

3. Outdoor retailers have had to adapt

These days, many people are embracing outdoor activities for the first time. Doing that is a process—from looking for inspiration and planning trips to getting kitted out with the necessary gear. Outdoor retailer REI has worked to make the purchasing process easier and safer for customers, from contactless pick-up at stores to more bespoke offerings, such as virtual outfitting and scheduled consultations with gear experts. “They can get the time they need with an expert to talk them through [the process],” said Christine Putur, REI’s executive vice president of technology and operations. “We’re very obsessed about removing friction from that cycle.”

4. Tech tools will help

Continue reading

Simplot opens 10,000 acres to outdoor recreation | Community

Boise — The J.R. Simplot Company announced in a press release it has partnered with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to open approximately 10,000 acres of the company’s private property in southeast Idaho’s highlands for hunting, fishing and recreation use. This opportunity comes through the property’s enrollment in IDFG’s ACCESS YES! program, administered by IDFG in cooperation with landowners, ACCESS YES! provides guidelines for access, specifying any restrictions on the enrolled private property.

The Simplot 10,000-acre enrollment is known as the Aspen Range and comprises five major parcels of property located within two Game Management Units. One large parcel is along the Ninety Percent Range northwest of Soda Springs, which is within Game Management Unit 72. The remaining properties are located in Game Management Unit 76 east of Soda Springs. These properties are located in Trail Canyon, Slug Creek, Diamond Creek, and between Sulphur Canyon and Swan Lake Gulch.

Chad Gentry, Simplot director of mining, says the ACCESS YES! enrollment is a nod to the importance of hunting and outdoor recreation to Idaho residents.

“I grew up hunting with my father and grandfather, and now I continue that tradition with my wife and sons”, Gentry said. “Outdoor recreation is part of the DNA of most of us in southeast Idaho and allowing open access to Simplot’s private property will continue that multi-generational cultural tradition that is so important to many families here.”

The J.R. Simplot Company has been active in phosphate mining in Caribou County since the 1950s starting with the Conda Mine north of Soda Springs. In 1983, the company developed a mine on the east side of Webster Ridge of the Caribou National Forest known as the Smoky Canyon Mine; it will continue to produce phosphate ore for approximately 15 more years. Earlier this year, the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management approved the company’s new mine plan which will be developed along the Dairy Syncline in the Slug Creek area.

The phosphate ore from the Smoky Canyon mine is critical to the production of fertilizer that ultimately helps put food on the tables of a growing population. The ore is crushed into fine particles at the mine, mixed with water, then pumped through an 87-mile buried pipeline to the company’s fertilizer manufacturing facility in Pocatello. The company’s new mine project at Dairy Syncline will use the existing pipeline system to transport the ore to Pocatello.

“Simplot has been a major employer and community partner in southeast Idaho since we started mining operations in 1944,” Gentry said. “Our Smoky Canyon Mine has been the sole source of phosphate for our Pocatello plant for over 30 years, and we anticipate our Dairy Syncline development will last at least that long or longer.”

Simplot’s Smoky Canyon Mine in Caribou County and the company’s Don Plant in Power County employ between 500-700 men and women

Continue reading

Public input sought for Vernon County Outdoor Recreation Plan | News

Vernon County is in the process of updating its Outdoor Recreation Plan and is looking for public participation in a short survey.

The purpose of the Vernon County Outdoor Recreation Plan is to identify issues, opportunities, needs and organize public policy to address them in a manner that makes the best and most appropriate use of county resources. It will also describe a desired future for community outdoor recreation over the next five years and establish goals to move toward that future.

“In addition to tourism economic impacts for our local communities, outdoor recreation is a significant industry driving Vernon County’s economy and providing quality of life for our residents. Being strategic about updating this plan for improving our current and enhancing our future outdoor recreation is a great step,” says Christina Dollhausen, Vernon County’s Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator.

Vernon County’s Outdoor Recreation Plan is actively being developed with participation by county committees, outdoor recreation entities countywide and most importantly, the community. The county would appreciate people’s participation by filling out the Outdoor Recreation survey by or before Nov. 3. The survey may take 5 minutes to complete.

The survey link can be found on vernoncounty.org under Parks and Forests or click on the following like to take the survey here: https://vernon-county-outdoor-mrrpc.hub.arcgis.com/

Responses will be anonymous.

Please share widely and encourage others to take the survey on or before Nov. 3 to help describe a desired future for Vernon County outdoor recreation.

Source Article

Continue reading

Allentown gets grant to help boost outdoor recreation | Lehigh Valley Regional News

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Cindy Adams Dunn, the Secretary for Pennsylvania’s District of Conservation and Natural Resources, was in Allentown on a day she handed out 31 state grants totaling $7 million. All are aimed at providing more trails throughout the state, and nearly 40 new miles will be added with the funds.

“It is phenomenal. We haven’t constructed a trail in a number of years,” said Allentown Director of Parks and Recreation Karen El-Chaar.

She says that will change as the city received a $500,000 grant to complete 1.8 miles of the Jordan Creek Greenway.

It “provides pedestrians and bicyclists the opportunity to follow the trail and take you into Whitehall,” she described.

The trail, which also runs on the road, will start at the 200 block of North Turner. It will go through Jordan Park, and onto MacArthur Road, getting users closer to Jordan Parkway. This comes as the city is looking to raise $5.5 million for Auburn Cross Trails located at 4th and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The 22 acres would act as a trail link through the city.

“This Jordan Park Greenway is emblematic of the trail system here in Pa. and how it connects communities,” Dunn said.

Dunn says the goal is to have all Pennsylvanians within a 10-minute car ride to a trail.

The D&L Trail also got a $500,000 grant to close a gap in Northampton County, helping to connect its more than 140-mile trail through the state.

It’s all a needed outlet. Dunn says state park use in September had an increase of a million people compared to last year. This follows the trend of people needing the outdoors during the pandemic.

“This has shown us how essential spending time outdoors and walking is for people, especially under stress,” she said.

Allentown hopes to start the trail construction by late summer and be finished in 2022. The ultimate goal is to connect center city with the Trexler Nature Preserve.

Source Article

Continue reading

Michigan DNR updates opening dates and modifications for public outdoor recreation sites | Coronavirus

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and carry out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15, the Department of Natural Resources has updated expected opening dates and available amenities at many of its public outdoor recreation sites and facilities.

Most state parks and recreation areas and state-managed trails and boating access sites remain open to provide local opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but social distancing is key. Federal and state health officials consistently have said that keeping at least 6 feet away from those outside your household is vital to containing the virus spread.

Proposed facility reopening dates are based on the updated stay-at-home executive order that ends May 15 and are staggered to allow for proper preparation. Details on closures and changes in services, as well as frequently asked questions, are available on the DNR’s COVID-19 response webpage at Michigan.gov/DNR.

The changes and planned public opening dates include the following, but further changes to the EO could affect these plans:

Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said he and his staff are eager to welcome back campers and visitors, but proper safety precautions and maintenance work must happen first.

“We know millions of residents are eager to return to state parks and recreation areas, and we will be here to serve them and make their visits as enjoyable as possible, but we have to open the right way and be certain that facilities and sites are clean, safe and ready to accommodate everyone,” Olson said.


To prepare state-managed parks, trails and boating facilities, many important tasks must be completed once nonessential work is permitted. The department anticipates staff can start work May 15 once the stay-at-home order is lifted; prep work is expected to take roughly five weeks. Duties include:

  • Acquiring drinking water permits from county health departments.
  • Opening bathrooms.
  • Hiring and training seasonal staff.
  • Ensuring sanitation systems are running efficiently.
  • Making progress on infrastructure needs.
  • Other operational duties.


Camping and overnight lodging reservations for dates between May 15 and June 21 have been canceled, but the following reimbursement options are available:

  • Request to change reservation dates to later in the season (pending availability within the reservation booking window) and earn a free night for that time period. No reservation fees or cancellation/modification fees will be charged. Reservation holders who want this option must contact the call center at 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m.
  • Choose a full refund to automatically be applied to original payment method, including the reservation fee. Reservation holders DO NOT need to take any action; all remaining reservations will automatically be canceled after May 15, and an email will be sent when the refund is completed. No cancellation/modification fees will be charged.

In addition, reservation holders whose camping reservations for stays between March 23 and May 15 were canceled due to COVID-19 are eligible

Continue reading

PA Outdoor Recreation Plan

Applications for the 2020 Community Conservation Partnership Program grant round should reference the 2014-2019 Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan Executive Summary (PDF).

The 2020 grant application round closes Wednesday, April 22.

Every five years, states across the nation are required to produce a new statewide recreation plan to help guide their recreation policies, programs, and investments.

The plan is needed to remain eligible for federal grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which are used to:

  • Build parks and historic sites

  • Conserve forests, rivers, lakes, and wildlife habitat

  • Provide access to recreation, hunting, and fishing

Pennsylvania has benefitted from more than $178 million in funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for projects across the commonwealth during the last 55 years.

2020-2024 Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan

While Pennsylvania is still implementing the recommendations and action of its
2014 Outdoor Recreation Plan, DCNR has begun the process of developing its 2020-2024 plan, which is expected to be released in the spring of 2020.

A 39-member
Technical Advisory Committee (PDF) of state agencies and organizations who can bring resources to the planning, funding, and implementation of the plan, has helped develop
Draft 2020-2024 Statewide Outdoor Recommendations and Actions (PDF), containing 20 recommendations and nearly 100 action items for future outdoor recreation planning.

Public Participation in Developing Plan

Public participation is a vital component of the development of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan.

With each plan, research is conducted to gather feedback and insight of Pennsylvania residents, recreation enthusiasts, and those that provide outdoor recreation services and facilities.

Fall and Spring Lion Polls

During the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019, the Penn State Center for Survey Research conducted two Lion Polls to understand outdoor recreation patterns and opinions regarding future recreation land conservation, facility development and management.

Summary of Fall 2018 Lion Poll (PDF)
Summary of Spring 2019 Lion Poll (PDF)

Local Recreation Provider Survey

More than 1,000 recreation providers, including local appointed officials, local elected officials, and park and recreation directors, responded to a survey gauging outdoor recreation services in their local communities and the challenges they face.

Summary of Local Recreation Provider Survey (PDF)

Public Online Survey

An online survey was conducted during May and June 2019 to capture the thoughts and opinions of everyday Pennsylvanians who did not have an opportunity to answer the other surveys, but had an interest in outdoor recreation. A total of 8,676 people responded.

Summary of Public Online Survey (PDF)

Focus Groups

Two focus groups of Latino and Black Pennsylvanians were conducted to garner opinions from two groups that are underrepresented in other survey methods used by DCNR.

Summary of Focus Group Sessions (PDF)

Source Article

Continue reading

Partners protect habitat and expand outdoor recreation | News

We know from experience that maintaining permanent vegetative cover along the shorelines of rivers, streams and lakes leads to higher quality water and wildlife habitat. That’s why conservation groups are working with public partners and landowners to protect land along the Cannon River.

Thanks to the collaborative work of the Trust for Public Land, Goodhue County, and the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, the Minnesota DNR will add 205 acres to the Cannon River Turtle Preserve Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) and the Cannon Valley Trail will add 9 acres to this public trail system. The effort will help protect habitat important for turtles, such as Blanding’s turtle, one of southeast Minnesota’s rarest turtle species. It will also provide opportunities for wildlife-based recreation including hiking, hunting, fishing, bird-watching, and nature observation.

The addition of these newly protected lands is the outcome of people working together to achieve a shared vision for land stewardship. “This land protection project is emblematic of the great work The Trust for Public Land is doing with partners to protect lands along the Cannon River,” said DJ Forbes, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. According to Forbes, by coordinating with and responding to the priorities of the MN DNR, Goodhue County and the Cannon Valley Trail, land with exceptional natural resource value and immense outdoor recreation opportunities has been protected for Minnesotans to utilize and enjoy.

“This is an excellent opportunity for young and old to be a part of nature and protect the areas for future citizens to enjoy,” said Brad Anderson Goodhue County District 2 Commissioner and Cannon River Watershed Partnership Board Member. “The coordinated efforts of the organizations is the best way to acquire and protect these sensitive areas right outside our back doors,” he said.

The Cannon River, one of Minnesota’s seven Wild and Scenic designated rivers, flows through the newly protected land near its confluence with the Mississippi River in Red Wing. The land is primarily made up of floodplain forest, yet it also has steep slopes and prairie habitat high above the Cannon River. It also includes a calcareous fen, one of Minnesota’s rarest wetland types.

The Cannon Valley Trail also passes through this newly protected property. The beautiful 19.7-mile Cannon Valley Trail connects the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing, providing great opportunities to walk, run, and bike. According to CVT Manager Scott Roepke, a ‘Cultural Heritage’ park, planned for this new 9-acre parcel, will allow trail visitors to explore a unique flat-topped archeological mound and other culturally significant sites.

The 205-acre addition to the Cannon River Turtle Preserve SNA, which was funded by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, increases the SNA in size by nearly 25% and continues the protection of this dynamic environment. This SNA contains southern terrace floodplain and maple-basswood forest, oak-hickory woodland, and prairie with ongoing prairie reconstructions that look down on the Cannon River. This land is critical habitat for the “threatened” Blanding’s Turtle. The MN DNR’s SNA Program protects the best

Continue reading

Outdoor Recreation

Hours of Operation

This facility is currently closed

Monday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Outdoor Recreation is a one-stop shop for all outdoor adventure enthusiasts. ODR offers a variety of programs including hiking, hunting, archery, boating and special day trips throughout the year. With an extensive equipment list, equipment issue is offered year-round for parties, camping trips, cookouts, and organization day events. Live or frozen bait can be purchased to take advantage of the great fishing location along the Potomac River.  Parks and pavilions can be reserved for large gatherings and family picnics. 

Outdoor Recreation offers a RV park, travel trailers, tent camping, a rustic cabin and the Thermo Con House for guests to rent and relax right in Fort Belvoir. The Travel Camp is in a perfect location along the shore of the Potomac River. There are 52 full hook-up, 40-foot RV spaces available for rent. Castle Park, two fishing piers and Accotink Wildlife Refuge hiking trails are all within walking distance.

View the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge Trail Map.


Jon Boats with Electric Motors. Details located in Equipment Issue tab below.

BEL_ODR_Jon Boat.jpg


Travel Campers. Details located in Equipment Issue tab below. 

Coachman Viking 17BH Travel Trailer.

BEL_ODR Trailer 17bh PIC.JPG


Coachman V12RBST HW Camping Trailer



BEL_ODR_Rustic Cabin Front.jpgThe Rustic Cabin is now available for rent! Visit the Recreational Lodging and Travel Camp Page for the details.

Facility Overview

Outdoor Recreation offers equipment issue and a variety of programs such as hiking groups, hunting, archery, fishing and special day trips throughout the year.

Outdoor Recreation is home to an RV Travel Camp available for a day, weekend, or week-long getaways and also has various parks and pavilions available for rent for family picnics or large gatherings.

Outdoor Recreation has added to the ice, bait and ice cream resale items, and has begun selling a new array of snacks and beverages for Tompkins basin patrons to enjoy. Come on down and visit the new space!

Experience nature and hike the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge. View the Trail Map.

Equipment Issue


Equipment Issue Price List (PDF).


Sports and Game Equipment

Item 1 Day 3 Days 7 Days
Basketball/Football/Soccer Ball/Volleyball/Kickball  $2  $3 $5
Softball Set (9 Gloves, 3 Bats, 3 Balls, 4 Bases, 1 Mask) $10 $15 $20
Disc Golf Set (3 Baskets & 9 Discs) $10 $15 $20
Bubble Ball Suit (Set of 2) $25 $50 $75
Jousting Sticks $25 $50 $75
Horseshoe Set
Continue reading

Oregon making plans to reopen outdoor recreation areas

SALEM, Ore. — Now comes the difficult part.

It’s been almost exactly a month since an unprecedented shutdown of the state’s outdoor recreation sites to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Few measures have been more controversial than the closure of boat ramps, trailheads and state parks. And with COVID-19 cases stabilizing and talk of reopening the state in the headlines, Oregonians are clamoring to get back to the beaches and forests.

President Donald Trump offered tantalizing news on Wednesday, announcing that “in line with my administration’s guidelines for opening up America again, we will begin to reopen our national parks and public lands for the American people to enjoy.” 

But conversations with land managers across Oregon indicates that action is just beginning. None of the closed areas have yet reopened.

Oregon officials said the soonest they’ll have a plan in place to reopen recreation sites, such as state parks, is the first week of May. And it won’t happen all at once. 

A committee is being formed that will plan how and when to reopen the state’s recreation sites, likely following a tiered system. Mayors and Commissioners of towns on the Oregon Coast are meeting next week as well. 

“We need three things: park rules that reduce the transmission of coronavirus, staff who are trained and equipped to serve the public safely, and local community support for a limited opening of state parks,” Oregon Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Chris Havel said. “People just need to sit tight until May.” 

Havel said Oregon’s state parks system would reopen day-use first, followed by camping “when the larger social conditions are right,” he said. 

“We don’t yet know which places will be re-opened first, or what kind of limited services they will offer when they do,” Havel said. 

The most complex place for reopening will likely be the Oregon Coast. 

“Because the coast is such a vacuum for tourists, recreational openings will have to be incremental and coordinated,” Warrenton Mayor Henry Balensifer said. “I do know many parts of the state are eyeing the coast for how to manage reopening in a tourist-heavy area. It will be tricky for sure.”

Federal officials, who manage Oregon’s vast national forests and desert lands, said they’re likely to reopen in stages as well. For example, facilities in more remote parts of the state could reopen sooner.

But closures are unlikely to lift until Oregon Gov. Kate Brown alters her “stay home, save lives” executive order.

“As Oregon lifts stay-at-home executive orders, we will be working with state and local health agencies to transition Forest Service operations and services as local conditions warrant,” Forest Service spokesman Jon Mcmillan said.

Oregon’s outdoor closures have sparked widespread frustration with hundreds of people entering closed areas, risking citations from police. The primary gripe is that there’s little evidence the coronavirus spreads in an outdoor environment the way it does indoors, and that it’s hypocritical to keep golf courses open while closing remote trailheads. 


Continue reading

Inslee says elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and some construction could restart as Washington begins to recover from coronavirus

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday evening announced a road map for reopening Washington’s economy that could soon allow the return of some elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and certain construction projects.

In a 5 p.m. televised public address, Inslee didn’t say when the stay-at-home order — scheduled to lift at the end of the day on May 4 — might start to be rolled back. The plan would only move forward, he said, once cases of the new coronavirus have fallen enough that the state is able to manage future outbreaks.

But Inslee said that data on cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, was beginning to look favorable.

If that continues, Inslee said, elective surgeries could begin again soon, as well as some outdoor recreation. Meanwhile, the governor’s office has agreed upon a plan with the construction industry and labor unions, “allowing limited return to construction with safety measures in place,” he said.

“We can modify some of these restrictions in the coming weeks, if the health modeling holds up,” Inslee said. But, “The health of Washingtonians is our top priority.”

The governor has said at least some restrictions are likely to stay in place longer than May 4.

Inslee’s three-part plan includes massive statewide testing, teams of workers performing contact tracing, resources for mental health and homelessness and a phased-in reopening of certain businesses while continuing social distancing.

The plan would make sure the state could quickly tamp down new outbreaks of COVID-19, reopen the economy in phases and help workers and businesses recover from the economic downturn.

The governor has emphasized that his decision to lift temporary restrictions such as the stay-at-home order — which shuttered thousands of businesses and maintained a ban on large gatherings — will be driven by public health data. One of the key indicators will be if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to trend down over time.

As of Tuesday, there were 12,282 cases of COVOD-19 in Washington, including 682 deaths.

The plan envisions rapid and wide-scale testing across the state, as well as a surge in contact tracing. The state Department of Health (DOH) is working with county public health agencies to create a plan for extensive contact tracing, in which staff track down those who had direct contact with people who test positive for the coronavirus.

Inslee described the 1,500 people being brought on to do contact tracing — a mix of state and local health workers, members of the National Guard and volunteers — as a “rapid response” team. They could start operating by the second week of May, he added.

State officials aren’t saying yet how much it will cost. At a news briefing earlier in the day the governor’s chief of staff, David Postman, only said that Inslee told him to “go big, be aggressive and find people where you can get them.”

To successfully reopen, the state ultimately needs to be able to conduct between 20,000 and 30,000 tests daily for the

Continue reading