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#GetOutdoors in the #GreatOutdoors ...

As summer swings into high gear, take some time to enjoy the #GreatOutdoors.

Outdoor recreation includes camping, trail sports, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, water sports, etc. Last year, nearly half of all Americans participated in at least one outdoor activity. That equals about 144 million participants who went on approximately 11.7 billion outdoor outings!

Outdoor recreation is among our nation’s largest economic sectors, representing the lifeblood of thousands of communities, and providing livelihoods for millions of workers. Outdoor recreation in the U.S. generates approximately $887 billion in consumer spending annually, as well as 7.6 million jobs.

Keeping the land healthy for outdoor recreation is of benefit to us all. Conservation protects the natural resources and wild places where we play, compete, or just enjoy.

More than two-thirds of the lower 48 states is privately owned, which accounts for much of the nation’s open space and ecosystems. These privately owned lands provide ample opportunities for recreation.

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service works with private landowners to make conservation improvements to forests, wetlands, grasslands, and many other unique ecosystems. The practices that landowners use often improve the recreational value of the land while providing many other benefits, including cleaner water and air.

Cities and towns across the country are tapping into the business of outdoor recreation, and for good reason. They recognize that outdoor recreation and open spaces attract and sustain businesses and families, contribute to a high quality of life, and are key ingredients to healthy communities.

In Connecticut, a system of state parks and forests, state boat launches, and waterways provide many opportunities for outdoor recreation for residents and visitors alike. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureaus of Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources lead the agency’s outdoor recreation efforts by acquiring and managing lands with an eye toward providing public use that is compatible with long term protection of natural resources. Visit their website for information about boating, fishing, hunting, camping, state parks/forests, and more in Connecticut. Visit the Connecticut Forest and Park website for a list of outdoor events planned around the state.

#GetOutdoors in the #GreatOutdoors!