How Recreationists Can Help Parks and Protected Areas of the World

I believe that everyone who visits parks has a role to play in their protection. The same is true of other types of protected areas, such as national forests and seashores, wilderness, reserves, refuges, sanctuaries, scenic landscapes, watersheds, and preserves.

People who visit these types of places often create strong personal connections to them. This is especially so with recreationists, such as hikers, fishermen, mountaineers, climbers, and nature viewers, who often visit these places many times. They feel the need to somehow "give something back" to these cherished places.

I find ways for recreationists to work with protected area managers to help protect the places they love. We collaborate to design innovative projects, such as the one shown above in Yosemite National Park, that enable protected area managers to protect these areas with recreationists and other visitors. This benefits all involved: managers, recreationists, visitors, and the protected area.

How can these skilled visitors use their special abilities and experience to help protect these special places?  Here are some other ways that recreationists can help parks and protected areas around the world:

  • Recreationists and their organizations can be very effective advocates and supporters for parks and protected areas, creating a web of mutually-beneficial long-term alliances
  • Recreationists and their organizations can provide participants, media attention, and support to Volunteers-in-Parks programs
  • Recreationists and their organizations can provide participants,media attention, and support to other types of preservation, assessment, restoration and clean up projects in protected areas
  • Recreationists and their organizations can work with other non-profit groups to donate needed technologies and expertise to assist a range of natural and cultural resource projects in protected areas