Art Lander’s Outdoors: Americans Go Outdoors in Record Numbers During Pandemic

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The constraints imposed on indoor activities by the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing people outdoors in record numbers.

Participation in traditional outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, boating, tent and RV camping, hiking and paddle sports has increased since 2019, according to a number of surveys. .

Other outdoor activities are also on the rise. For fitness and to help relieve worry and stress, more Americans are biking, walking and running, practicing yoga or meditation, or starting a daily exercise routine.

Lakeside camping (Photo by Flickr Commons)

In difficult times, we return to our roots of self-reliance, planting “victory gardens” in the backyard. Digging in the ground, planting seeds, nurturing young plants and watching them grow to maturity, produce flowers and food crops for the table, is as satisfying and sane as anything we can do at home. ‘outside.

Others discover the relaxation of being socially distanced around a ring of fire in the backyard, watching the flames leap into the night air.

Another activity on the rise is toasting with family and friends. There is nothing more calming than a good conversation, a cold drink and the smell of burgers, chicken wings or sizzling steaks.

Going out is liberating, the opportunity to remove the hated mask, mandated by the authoritarians, and to breathe freely, the fresh air of dawn or dusk. Look up to the sky and let the cool rains wash away your fears and worries.

If possible, take a trip to the outdoor destination you’ve always wanted to visit and surround yourself with streams, soaring woods, peaceful lakes, or verdant mountains. With fall fast approaching, now is a good time to plan your dream vacation, to enjoy the colorful foliage and cooler temperatures that are sure to arrive, starting in late September.

Here are some related facts and observations:

Mountain biking at Breaks Interstate Park (Photo by Flickr Commons)

• This argument for outdoor activities was posted on the Mayo Clinic website. “The COVID-19 virus spreads mainly person-to-person among people in close contact, within a radius of about 6 feet. The virus is spread by respiratory droplets released into the air when you speak, cough, talk, breathe or sneeze.

When you are outdoors, the cool air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. You are therefore less likely (to be infected) by breathing in respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19. “

Other outdoor activities that the Mayo Clinic said participants were safe from being infected with COVID-19 include inline skating, golf, ice and ice climbing, diving scuba, skiing (cross country and downhill), ice skating, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

• The Associated Press reported that 8.1 million more Americans hiked in 2020 than in 2019, 7.9 million more went camping, and 3.4 million more went fishing in pure water.

“States have seen an increase in sales of hunting and fishing licenses this year,” the article said.

“All of the things that hunting offers people and the various reasons people hunt all match the pandemic,” said Louis Porter, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner.

The increase in hunting license sales would also show a reversal of the decline in the sport’s popularity in recent years. Zane Groucher, a hunter from Michigan, told the AP that due to changes brought about by the pandemic, he finally decided to resume hunting after a 22-year hiatus. He also brought his daughter with him, explaining that he feared she was spending too much screen time due to being locked in the house all day.

Michigan has seen a 10 percent increase in hunting licenses, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, and the number of people purchasing licenses for the first time in at least five years (or if ever) has increased by 80 percent.

In Wisconsin, archery license sales soared 12%, and Maine and Nevada also all saw similar peaks.

Kayak Angling Photo courtesy of Native Watercraft)

The fishery has also seen an increase in interest, with Idaho reporting an increase in fishing license sales of nearly 30 percent from last year.

The Utah Wildlife Division reported a record 28% increase in hunting and fishing license sales from March 2020 to February 2021. “This is by far the most licenses we have sold in one year, ”said Phil Gray, Wildlife Licensing Coordinator.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reported an 18.74% increase in all categories of fishing licenses.

Launching licenses to use commission facilities for boating, canoeing and kayaking increased 40.33%.

“I think it would be fair to say that (the pandemic) has played a major role,” said Mike Park, director of communications at the Fish and Boat Commission.

• An article published on Yahoo! News gave these numbers as part of the booming outdoor trend.

Golf saw a 27% year-over-year increase in the number of games played in the United States from June to December, in 2020.

Tennis saw a 22% increase in the number of people who reported playing at least once.

Art Lander Jr. is editor of the Northern Kentucky Tribune. He is a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a lifelong hunter, fisherman, gardener, and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine reporter and author and is a former editor of the Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and the Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-editor of the Kentucky Afield newspaper column. Outdoors.

• On investor Barron’s website, an article on recreational vehicle sales was published on October 3 and headlined that recreational vehicle sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic. These stocks could see more gains to come.

“American vacationers hit the road this summer, to hell with the pandemic… (staying) in their own mobile bubbles. Motorhome sales hit a near record pace in June and July, after falling in the spring.

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association said sales of recreational vehicles in North America increased 4.5% in 2020, to 424,400 units, despite three months of lost sales and supply chain and service disruptions. work related to the pandemic.

• A University of Vermont study explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Americans’ relationship with nature.

“This data is like a treasure chest from the moment of the pandemic: a record of how people thought about their relationship with the (natural) world during a time of great upheaval,” said Rachelle Gould, senior author of study.

Among women, the outdoor activities that experienced the largest increases were: viewing wildlife, up 64%, gardening, up 57%, taking photos or making drawings or paintings in nature, up 54%, relaxation alone outdoors, up 58% and walking, up 70%.

The study also found that people have experienced a change in why they enjoy nature. During the pandemic, those surveyed said in nature that they cherish a greater sense of mental health and well-being, 59%, exercise 29%, appreciate the beauty of nature, 29%, and spirituality, 22%.

The outdoors – the beauty of nature and the abundance of plants and animals we have here in Kentucky and across North America – has always been a great escape.

The COVID-19 pandemic has just given us another reason to appreciate this generosity, and how it nourishes our body and soul.


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