Hank Forester expressed a concern.
He’s youth education and outreach manager for the Quality Deer Management Association. His job, through the association’s Rack Pack youth group and other venues, is to get kids interested in being outside.
When we spoke recently, he told me that one problem he sees is the recent emphasis on what might be called “adventure” outings. Turn on a hunting or fishing television show and chances are the hosts will be in some far away, fly-in camp, seeking species that are almost otherworldly in their scarcity or remoteness, he said.
That’s all well and good, Forester told me. But those kinds of trips are unattainable for a lot of people. And while they’re perfect for veteran outdoorsmen, they’re not what it takes to build a lifelong sportsman out of a newbie.
For that, he said, you need regular, frequent visits to woods and streams, the kind of repeated visits that are only possible by focusing on opportunities close to home.
Some people here in Pennsylvania seem to agree.
The state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Park and Recreation Society recently unveiled a new initiative showing people how to get afield without having to travel far.
The “Good for You, Good for All” campaign aims at highlighting local parks and recreation. It has a website, www.GoodForPA.com, showcasing 5,600 local parks using aerial photography, lists of amenities like fishing spots, hiking and biking trails, ball fields, and more. Visitors to the site can search for parks by address or county.
The campaign is part of the state’s new five-year “Outdoor Recreation Plan,” meant to guide recreation planning into the near future. The complete plan can be seen here.