Tag: Outdoor

Muskegon, Marquette, Grand Traverse counties win big in state outdoor recreation funding

Michigan’s outdoor recreation is expected to get a boost of nearly $37.8 million in 2021, and Muskegon County is the biggest winner of funds with a single grant for $5 million.

Marquette, Grand Traverse and Ottawa counties are also raking in big bucks from the state for recreation development and land acquisition. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board this week recommended grants totaling $37,789,600 for 76 recreation projects and land acquisitions with the goal of further access to public outdoor recreation.

Muskegon County is a clear winner this year with a $5 million grant to acquire a former sand mining property for park development. Ottawa County is in line to receive nearly $1.5 million for five different projects. Park improvements and lakefront property acquisition are on deck in Grand Traverse County with nearly $1.2 million in state funds coming their way. In Marquette County, over $700,000 will help build playgrounds and trails.

RELATED: Former Nugent Sand property eyed for park development by Muskegon County

“Easy access to the beauty of Michigan’s natural places and open spaces during a challenging, uncertain year has been a source of comfort and connection for residents across our state, and the Trust Fund is a major part of making those opportunities available,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.

Trails, parks and the state’s forest lands – often developed or acquired with Trust Fund grants – and other “outdoor recreation resources like these are big contributors to each community’s quality of life and unique appeal,” Whitmer said.

This year, the board recommended $27,289,600 for 30 acquisition grants and $10.5 million for 46 development grants. Most of the funding is going to local governments while eight grants worth about $7.7 million will back Michigan Department of Natural Resources projects.

Development grants are expected to fund projects in Antrim, Benzie, Berrien, Calhoun, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Eaton, Genesee, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Huron, Ingham, Iosco, Jackson, Kent, Leelenau, Livingston, Mackinac, Marquette, Newaygo, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Find out what’s coming to your county here.

Land acquisition grants are expected to fund projects in Benzie, Berrien, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Eaton, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Huron, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lake, Lapeer, Lenawee, Macomb, Midland, Muskegon, Oakland, Ontoganon, Ottawa, Saginaw and St. Clair counties. Find out what’s coming to your county here.

This year’s projects “will make a real difference,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger, noting the overwhelming success of Proposal 1 on the November ballot as proof of Michiganders’ support for the grant program.

RELATED: Both Michigan ballot proposals on pace to pass by record margins

Established in 1976, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund aimed at public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest and revenue from state-owned oil, gas and minerals. To date, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1.2 billion to state and local governments

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York Parks and Recreation Department plans outdoor winter activities

By Dan Bancroft
 |  Portsmouth Herald

YORK – Recognizing the importance of getting outside this winter is at the heart of York’s Parks and Recreation Department’s efforts to offer and publicize outdoor activities, according to Robin Cogger, the department’s director.

Cogger noted that with social restrictions remaining in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone should be asking themselves two questions, “How am I getting outside, and how am I moving my body daily?”

“There is a direct connection between mental health, quality of life, and recreation,” said Cogger, whose remarks followed a presentation by two members of York’s mental health provider network.

Getting out of doors in Maine is not just a summertime pastime, noted Cogger. “Colder temperatures and snow do not have to mark the end of outdoor recreation,” said Cogger, who pointed out the physical, mental and emotional benefits of outdoor activities.

     Cogger listed some of the benefits that support mental health and well-being for all ages, including getting away from indoor germs, something that is particularly important this winter, and boosting your metabolism.

“Spending 15-20 minutes outside just two to three times a week, provides sunshine on your hands and face (Vitamin D), and can be beneficial for your mood and your bones,” continued Cogger.

     Cogger also noted that being outdoors in the winter provides an opportunity to do things differently and see things in a different way.

“You will use different muscles, think differently, and move differently, and that is just plain good for you,” said Cogger.

     Some of the activities to be found on the Parks and Recreation website are Nordic Walking, birding, a new partnership with the York Paddle Tennis and Pickleball Club on Mill Lane, and the outdoor nature programs at White Pine Programs.

     These are in addition to some of the better-known winter activities like ice skating, skiing and hiking.

     “Mt. Agamenticus has seen an incredible increase in activity,” said Cogger.

     The Winter Outdoor Recreation resource listing can be found on the website homepage, www.yorkparksandrec.org.

     Sally Manninen, director of Choose to be Healthy Coalition (www.ctbhorg.org), located at York Hospital, and Maggie Norbert, a social worker and therapist working with Sweetser (www.sweetser.org), also presented to the selectmen about concerns facing people who are living through the pandemic, and extolled the benefits of getting outdoors in order to beat coronavirus fatigue.

     Both professionals noted that the pandemic is harmful for everyone, and particularly for anyone who already suffers from mental or emotional health issues.     

     Norbert suggested limiting access to social media and newsfeeds, and “anchor yourself by taking walks and being outdoors.”

“Try to eat well, try to get a good night’s sleep,” urged Norbert, who also suggested that doing something for others can be enormously beneficial.

“One of the things we know for sure (is that) helping others makes us (and them) feel better,” said Norbert.

“It is a good distraction from what you’re going through, and also keeps the positive thoughts moving, and to be quite frank, it is a huge,

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Outdoor Recreation Gave Wyoming Nearly $2 Billion in 2019 | | Big Horn Radio Network

The future of Wyoming’s economy looked brighter in 2019, thanks to billions of dollars generated from outdoor recreation – with every sign that growth will continue.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its latest analysis of how outdoor recreation contributed to the economies of the states and the nations. The results are impressive and show the increasing importance the industry has for Wyoming and the entire Rocky Mountain Region.

Outdoor recreation generated $459.8 billion across the United States in 2019. That accounted for 2.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product for that year.

For the nation, the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services sector was the largest contributor to U.S. outdoor recreation value added in 2019, accounting for $128.5 billion. This was followed by retail trade ($98.6 billion) and manufacturing ($55.0 billion.)

So how did Wyoming fare?

In 2019, outdoor recreation contributed nearly $1.7 billion dollars to the state economy – that accounts for 4.2% of Wyoming’s GDP.

Only four other states had a higher GDP contribution from outdoor recreation: Hawaii (5.8%) Vermont (5.2%) Montana (4.7%) and Florida (4.4%.) Maine tied Wyoming at 4.2%

Outdoor Recreation GDP Contribution by State

Courtesy Bureau of Economic Analysis


The rest of the Rocky Mountain region was similarly impacted: Utah at 3.3%, Colorado at 3.1%, Idaho at 3.0%, and South Dakota at 2.5%.

Outdoor recreation activities fall into three general categories: conventional activities (including activities such as bicycling, boating, hiking, and hunting); other core activities (such as gardening and outdoor concerts); and supporting activities (such as construction, travel and tourism, local trips, and government expenditures.)

Outdoor Recreation Value Added to Wyoming in 2019 – $1,686,585,000

  • Conventional Outdoor Recreation Activities – $474,506,000

  • Boating & Fishing – $43,148,000

  • RVing – $76,116,000

  • Snow Activities – $147,491,000

  • Other Outdoor Recreation Activities – $133,538,000

  • Amusement & Water Parks – $5,020,000

  • Festivals, Sporting Events, & Concerts – $3,839,000

  • Game Areas (including Golf and Tennis) – $40,874,000

  • All Other Supporting Outdoor Recreation – $927,398,000

  • Government Expenditures: $151,143,000

The three highest contributors in Wyoming were largely unqualified and didn’t fill into the more specific categories laid out by the BEA.

Historically, Wyoming’s top contributing recreation activities are:

  • Various snow activities (like snowmobiling and skiing)
  • RVing
  • Equestrian
  • Hunting, shooting, & trapping
  • Boating & fishing

Boating and fishing were the largest contributors nationally, generating $23 billion dollars on their own. RVing came in second with $18.6 billion, followed by hunting & shooting – $9.4 billion.

Snow activities were – individually -the largest Wyoming contributor with $147.5 million. While massive, that number pales in comparison to what Colorado earned – $1.7 billion. Utah made $666.3 million from snow activities, followed by Vermont with $289.9 million.

By comparison, snow activities were the sixth largest national contributor.

But wait, there’s more!

In 2019, the outdoor recreation industry also accounted for over 21 thousand jobs in Wyoming, mainly thru private businesses, hotels and lodging, and food services that directly or indirectly catered to outdoor recreation.

The trends are clear when compared to historic data – more people and more money are flowing into

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Outdoor recreation a mighty economic force

Outdoor recreation is emerging as a critical element in the economic recovery from COVID-19 as the recreation economy delivers a larger share of U.S. economic output for the second consecutive year.

The federal government’s latest tally of the outdoor recreation economy showed a $787.6 billion economic impact from businesses supporting 5.2 million jobs. The report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis issued this week showed outdoor recreation’s businesses and participants supported 2.1% of the nation’s economic output, or gross domestic product.

This is the third annual report on the U.S. recreation economy. The 2017 report was the first to quantify the growing role of recreation in the national economy. Each year since, the recreation economy has grown, often at a faster rate than the national economy.

The 2019 report from the BEA showed the recreation economy providing $459.8 billion in “nominal value” – spending minus the costs of goods and services – to the gross domestic product, which the bureau counted as $21.4 trillion in 2019. The bureau’s 2019 study showed the recreation economy’s “real gross output,” which covers consumer and business spending as well as wages, reached $787.6 billion, up from $776.8 billion in 2018 and $759.6 billion in 2017.

The outdoor recreation economy in the U.S. is “bigger than mining and bigger than agriculture and on par with broadcasting and telecommunications,” said bureau economist Dirk van Duym in a presentation Nov. 10 after the report was released.

In Colorado, outdoor recreation accounted for more than $12.2 billion in economic impact, or about 3.1% of the state’s total economy. Outdoor recreation businesses in Colorado employed 149,140 workers who earned $6.4 billion.

Not surprisingly, winter activities in Colorado delivered more than any other state with a $1.7 billion contribution to the state’s economy. At a national level, winter sports was the sixth largest economic contributor in the outdoor recreation industry with a $6.3 billion impact.

Boating and fishing – the most popular outdoor activity in 30 states – led the outdoor recreation economy with a $23.6 billion contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product.

Touring in recreational vehicles was next, with an $18.6 billion contribution, followed by hunting and motorcycling.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the outdoor recreation economy was led by the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services industries. Other industries driving the recreation economy include retail and manufacturing.

In Colorado, accommodation and food services led the state’s recreation economy – which is driven largely by private businesses – followed by arts, entertainment, recreation and retail shops. (The bureau analysis considers attendance at festivals and concerts as outdoor recreation.)

All the industries that drive the country’s recreation economy are the ones that have suffered most during the pandemic, which settled hard on the West during the busy spring ski season and saw resorts, hotels and restaurants shuttered from mid-March into May.

Outdoor recreation was ranked nationally among impacted industries in the pandemic, alongside food, lodging and hospitality. Recreation industry losses came not only from closures of outdoor

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Minnesotans take advantage of outdoor recreation on warm Saturday

“A day like today, we were sold out probably a week ago,” Steve Whillock, general manager at Oak Marsh Golf Course.

“I love golf, it’s absolutely the perfect day to go out and hit golf balls and be out on the golf course,” said Tom Kieselbach. 

“We always feel like this is going to be it, this is the way the golfer’s world is, “This has going to be it; this has got to be it!” But — by God’s grace it’s warm again, we probably will be out here,” said Drew Ekstrom.

The pandemic and its shutdowns have been keeping everyone indoors, but here was a chance to get out. 

“You couldn’t ask for anything more, this is fabulous,” said Kieselbach. 

While at Afton Alps, it’s man-made snow, but the powder still feels fresh — a perfect chance for parents to let their children blow off some steam. 

“They just started learning how to ski like a couple years ago, and (we) thought that this would help pass the time during the pandemic, just to enjoy the outdoors,” Kari Jasper said. 

Both Jasper’s daughters, Addison and Tatum aren’t able to do their usual school sports anymore because of the recent executive order. 

“It wasn’t very fun because we had to stay home,” Addison said.

“We’re trying to stay off of electronics, and so being outdoors, going hiking, we come to Afton to go on hikes too at the state park, and just coming out here, going on walks with the dogs,” Kari Jasper said.

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Readers ask: redeployment and outdoor recreation

Brandon Sun readers requested specific questions be asked at COVID-19 news conferences with chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Shared Health.

QUESTION: I’ve heard that home care attendants from a small rural community in the Prairie Mountain Health region will be forced to go to Brandon to help at Fairview Personal Care Home. These attendants will apparently be living at a nurses’ residence for a period of time — two weeks. These same attendants visit actual homes in their community, rather than facilities. Can you confirm this is this the new plan and, if yes, how is this protective for those who need home care?

SIRAGUSA: I know conversations have been going on with the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority. I know that they were trying to find a way to have home care support the personal care home, which is not an unreasonable place to redeploy them. Also, as you know, being from Brandon, the travel distances are challenging, so trying to accommodate work at a different place and provide accommodations or support the workers’ family life and work life. I think those conversations continue to happen. I haven’t received formal confirmation that a decision has been made at this time.

QUESTION: Why have officials shut down outdoor activities for kids such as sledding and skating on outdoor ponds, especially if they were sticking to small groups of two-to-three kids?

ROUSSIN: Outdoor group sizes are five. So if you were out on a pond with less than five people or going for walks or anything … We shut down recreational facilities, outdoors, right now, just because we wanted to decrease the risk of large amount of people gathering. If you had an outdoor hockey rink we would expect only five people to be on it at a time, right now. So outdoor recreation facilities have been shut down just for the short period. But, still, there’s a lot of outdoor recreation that can occur. The group size limits are five.

Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to [email protected] with the subject line: Readers Ask.

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Vermont Fish & Wildlife launches mobile app to enhance outdoor recreation | Outdoors

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department released a new mobile application to help the public recreate outdoors in a safe and socially distanced manner. The “Vermont Outdoors” app connects the public with department lands, fish and wildlife regulations and up-to-date COVID-19 guidance.

“We’ve seen an increase in outdoor recreation across our 100 wildlife management areas and nearly 200 fishing access areas since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski. “This new app will encourage Vermonters to find new opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, or view wildlife on public lands and waters. The app will also provide access to fish and wildlife law digests, baitfish dealers, department news and current events, and the ability to report fish and wildlife violations.”

This project was paid for with federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) stimulus to enhance outdoor recreational opportunities. Other CARES funded projects completed by the department included improvements to boat ramps and other water access points, wildlife management area roads, parking areas and informational signage.

The application can be downloaded at the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android phones.

For more information, call Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski at 802-917-1347.

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The Economics of Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor recreation is not only intrinsic to the Montana lifestyle, it is also one of the most crucial parts of the state’s economy, a point that was again underscored in a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which listed the Treasure State as a top contributor to the nation’s gross domestic product in revenue generated by outdoor activities.

According to the report released last week, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for $459.8 billion of the country’s national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, or 2.1%. Combined with new data from 2018, the burgeoning industry’s two-year contribution to the country’s economic output is $788 billion, supporting 5.2 million jobs.

The new BEA data don’t include analysis of the outsized impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the outdoor recreation industry, which suffered as stores and manufacturing plants shut down and national and state parks closed or adjusted operations. In May, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked the industry as the second most affected by the coronavirus-inducted downturn, behind the food and accommodations sector, according to Lise Aangeenbrug of the Outdoor Industry Association.

But Aangeenbrug said a new survey of the national trade organization’s members shows the financial impacts are beginning to ease as the options for outdoor recreation outweigh more conventional entertainment and vacation avenues, which remain limited.

“The BEA release of economic data comes at a time when the health and wellness benefits of recreation cannot be overstated,” Aangeenbrug said. “A recent poll showed 69% of Americans have gained a renewed appreciation for the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. People want to get outside for their physical and mental health.”

From bikes and boats to bows and arrows, the surging sales of outdoor recreation gear will likely figure prominently into the 2020 economic picture, particularly in terms of resilience, Aangeenbrug said.

“What’s more, they yearn for social connection, which they can find through safely distanced activities in neighborhood parks or national parks,” she added. “Now more than ever, we need the outdoors.”

For its part, Montana’s outdoor recreation economy contributed $2.5 billion and employed 31,598 people, while making up 4.7% of Montana’s total economy. That places Montana near the top ranking for its size, placing third behind Hawaii, which linked 5.8 percent of its GDP to the growing outdoor recreation economy, and Vermont, with 5.2%.

“In Montana we understand the far reaching benefits and impacts of a healthy and vibrant outdoor recreation economy on nearly every facet of our lives and livelihoods,” said Rachel Schmidt, director of the Montana Governor’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Having this economic data is vitally important to forming the best policy decisions to support and enhance the recreation economy at every level of government in the country.”

Montana is one of 11 states in which outdoor recreation accounted for 3.1% or more of a state’s economy.

Further, in real gross output, compensation and employment grew faster in the outdoor recreation economy than the national economy as a whole,

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How to Support the Outdoor Destinations and Recreation Areas You Love

The great outdoors is experiencing a historic crisis, one that’s resulted in the new buzzwords “sustainable recreation.” On one hand, there’s the push by the outdoor industry to get more people outside, especially nontraditional users. However, COVID-19 has done this job better than any marketing campaign could ever dream. Many state parks have experienced a 40 to 300 percent uptick in visitation. Adding to the pressure on public lands are wildfires and an uncertain political climate that’s undermined protection for millions of acres. The result? Many recreation sites and wilderness areas are suffering due to misuse, lack of staff and funding, or just plain natural disaster.

But there are ways you can help to support places you love. Kenji Haroutunian, Access Fund board member, says that “volunteering time and resources to organizations not only feels great but creates a lasting relationship with the land.” There’s no doubt that the year 2020 has been a wild ride, for us, communities, and mother nature, but here are some ways to give back.

Recycle waste litter rubbish garbage trash
Olesya Kuznetsova / Shutterstock


Our public lands need you. Find a local group doing work that you care about, whether it’s acting as a park host or interpreter, building trails, counting wildlife or conducting tours. You’ll make friends, have fun, and gain some sweat equity in our public lands. Check out volunteer opportunities with the forest service or contact your local national and state forests. “Consider your skill base, and whether you are interested in restoration, protection, conservation or something else, like saving white rhinos or tigers,” says outdoor industry and conservation consultant, Chris Van Dyke. “It really depends on what pushes your buttons. You can volunteer digitally, with letters and helping with campaigns, or physically through working with communities and parks. The important part is to get involved.”


Don’t give up on burned areas. Once a fire is out and restrictions are lifted, these landscapes are fascinating spots to explore and local communities could use your support. Sure, the landscapes will look different, but Douglas fir, Western hemlock, and Western Red cedar regenerate relatively quickly. In the meantime, you’ll be hiking (or snowshoeing) through some amazing new meadows, with spring wildflowers and plenty of new plant growth. Many mushrooms thrive after burns, as do animals who seek out new undergrowth for grazing.

Mammoth Ski Resort Panorama Vista Eastern Sierra California
Vivian Fung / Shutterstock

Do your COVID Homework. If you travel, pick a place that is COVID smart. For example, Mammoth Mountain (CA) has spent more than $1M on COVID-19-related improvements, especially guest safety. Throughout the town, lodging properties are prioritizing COVID-19 protocols to ensure a positive guest experience, with occupancy limits for hotels and condos, and a vacancy period for short-term rentals.

Beat crowds by avoiding Google searches for your next hike or camping trip. Those “best of” destinations are most likely straining with overuse. Instead, get creative and find your own off-the-beaten path itinerary. Buy a map or check out a guidebook. Think outside the box. For example, consider Mojave National Preserve

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Outdoor recreation sales expected to ‘skyrocket’ in the Inland Northwest; including avalanche beacons

Earth Economics estimates outdoor recreations sales are expected to exceed $26 billion in spending as people are rushing to get outside amid the pandemic.

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s nearly been a year since a devastating avalanche at Silver Mountain, three people died and four others were injured. Since then, skiers and resorts have been gearing up to make sure they stay safe on the mountain. 

After the avalanche at Silver Mountain, local retailers saw a spike in avalanche beacons. They’re devices that help locate rescuers locate skiers if they get stuck under the snow. 

Now amid the pandemic, REI Spokane reports beacon sales are spiking once again as record amounts of people rush to get outdoors. 

RELATED: Silver Mountain makes changes to its operations after deadly avalanche

Winter sales in general are projected to skyrocket. Earth Economics estimates outdoor recreation in Washington supports more than $26 billion dollars in spending and that number is said to be larger this season as more people turn to outdoor recreation. 

Even amid new statewide restrictions limiting capacity in stores retailers have stayed busy.

“You know we were concerned about the crowd size and everything, but they’re following the protocols,” Jay and Judy Stafstrom said.

The Stafstrom’s are in shopping for cross-country skiing gear to get into the backcountry.

“We just canceled Thanksgiving with family in Seattle and so now it’s like you gotta get the energy out and the anxiety out, getting outdoors really helps with that,” the Safstrom’s said.

They’re not alone, Katie Wiseman with REI Spokane said demand for outdoor recreations has stayed steady throughout the entire pandemic and people hoping to get their hands on winter outdoor gear should buy now.

RELATED: How to enjoy the outdoors safely in Spokane while social distancing

“Most of our snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and downhill skiing is kind of taking off, we’re telling customers to buy now,” Wiseman said.

Record high demand for outdoor gear has been causing supply to short out sooner. Wiseman said the beginning of the pandemic is a good indicator for what retailers can expect as many chose to opt outside.

“It’s hard to guess and then you look at demand and everyone wanting to get outside, everybody, because that is how to stay apart with your loved ones,” Wiseman said.

One of the most popular items this year is avalanche beacons, something normal for the back-country, but this year some are choosing to carry them even at resorts.

“Every person should have one, if they are in the backcountry in reality that’s a safety concern,” Wiseman said.

RELATED: Spokane-area stores see spike in avalanche beacon sales after Silver Mountain deaths

The devices are used for people going into avalanche danger areas, they send out a radio signal which is picked up by another beacon. However, these devices by themselves aren’t any good unless you have other necessary tools like a shovel and a probe.

“You use that to kind of poke into the snow and see how deep it’s

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