Recreational Value

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children sledding on sand dune
Children enjoy sand-sledding in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado.

NPS photo.


America’s geologic heritage sites are exceptional settings for hiking, camping, biking, climbing, boating, and countless other outdoor recreational opportunities. In addition to allowing visitors to experience the geologic landscape of an area, outdoor recreation provides innumerable physical and mental benefits. The mission of the Let’s Move! Outside program, led by the Department of the Interior, is to connect people with outdoor recreational opportunities near them and across the country to increase the physical and mental health of Americans. Working to maintain geologic heritage sites by removing litter, rehabilitating trails, or participating in other active science and educational programs provides rewarding ways to get moving outside—keeping you and your geologic heritage in great shape.

Outdoor recreation does not have to be just about adrenaline-pumping sports activities. There are also benefits to simply relaxing outside, breathing fresh air in open spaces, contemplating the natural solitude afforded by some geologic heritage areas, or even providing a brief change of scenery during a workweek. Outdoor recreation also does not have to involve a cross-country journey. A walk to a nearby park provides opportunities to explore geologic heritage in your local landscape by observing simple things like the rocks of a streambed or local building stones.

a visitor at badlands
A park visitor savors the view in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

NPS photo by Larry McAfee.

Recreational Value at a Glance

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    Part of a series of articles titled Values Embodied in Geoheritage.

    Last updated: December 21, 2020