On June 5th of 2019, the US Senate officially designated June 2019 as ’Great Outdoors Month.’
‘Great Outdoors Week’ began under President Clinton in 1998 and has grown under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations into a month-long celebration of the outdoors. Since 2008, governors from across the country have joined in designating June as a month to celebrate the great outdoors and more than half the states have already proclaimed June 2019 as Great Outdoors Month!
See all the proclamations across the states below:
This celebration brings not only health benefits, but social and economic benefits as well.
The Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 was enacted to analyze the outdoor recreation economy of the United States. The most recent report released in September 2018 showed that outdoor recreation contributed more than $412 billion to the US economy in 2016. This comprises about 2.2% of total US GDP. The report also found that the outdoor recreation industry had faster growth than the overall economy in 2016 and provided over 4.5 million jobs across the country. Over the past 3 years these numbers have continued to rise. For more detailed economic benefits, download the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 State of the Industry.
A Highlight of Celebration Events across the Parks
People have used #EscapeTheIndoors throughout the month of June to share what they did for Great Outdoors Month 2019. The graphic shows some of the top words that appeared in these tweets throughout the month.
National Trails Day
The celebrations kicked off on June 1st with National Trails Day. National Trails Day, the first Saturday in June, recognizes the benefits provided by federal, state, and local trails. Events were held throughout the US to promote awareness of everything trails have to offer from hiking and mountain biking to birdwatching and land navigation education. National Trails Day is sponsored by the American Hiking Society with NPS as one of its federal partners. The participation of volunteers and donors has made large impacts in the past.
2018 National Trails Day Impacts:
Urban Kids Fishing Derby
Also on June 1st, the National Mall hosted the 5th Annual Urban Kids Fishing Derby DC. The Urban Kids Fishing Derby is a traveling amateur fishing derby aimed at helping inner-city youth experience nature through fishing. Last year 300+ poles were given away to kids, and this year the winners received cash prizes. According to Urban Kids Fish, “[t]he excitement is real and there is a life changing positive impact that takes place. Our children need moments like this to help keep balance in their lives.” With a full roster of 250 participants, the event was an overall success. Find more photos from the day visit.
National Get Outdoors Day
Great Outdoors Month celebrations continued with National Get Outdoors Day on June 8th. National Get Outdoors Day, held on the second Saturday in June, is a nationwide event coordinated by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and the US Forest Service. Several of the National Forests offered a ‘fee free’ day to encourage people to get outside and celebrate the day.
Great Outdoors Day of Service
The 6th Annual Great Outdoors Day of Service took place Friday, June 14th at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Young adults from across the country came to Washington D.C. to participate in service projects at iconic parks throughout the Nation’s Capital. The purpose of the annual event is to inspire people to get outside and contribute to the preservation of natural spaces. It is also a way to raise awareness, celebrate our natural treasures, and make a difference by making a dent in the backlog of maintenance projects at our parks. This year’s event involved invasive species removal and debris cleanup. Over 200 volunteers participated in this year’s event for the largest Great Outdoors Day of Service to date. View more pictures of the event visit.
Overall Great Outdoors Month saw people engaging in events across the nation. Pictures, posts, and comments abounded on social media throughout the month. FindYourPark was a movement launched in 2016 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, but has continued into 2019. The picture to the right shows the top words found in tweets with the handle #Find YourPark throughout the month of June. It is a great representation of the progress we have made in getting people to ‘Escape the Indoors’ and experience all that the national parks have to offer.