Outdoor Recreation | WAMC

Outdoor Recreation

Swimming is much more than an Olympic event. According to 2017 data 27 million Americans swim for fitness. Similar data is reported from English cities where more than 4 million men and women's swim at least once a month. USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport in the United States, has 400,000 members and 2800 teams in the country.

Howard Means has just authored the new book "Splash: 10,000 Years of Swimming."

What is there to do? How about a hike with the dog? Our next guest has written a comprehensive guidebook for dog owners that includes seventy-seven great hikes from the Adirondacks through the Catskills.

More than a guidebook showing readers great places to hike with their canine companions in upstate New York, "Doghiker" is a dog owner’s operating manual and tool kit.

A lifelong dog owner, Alan Via makes a strong case for responsible ownership and offers guidance on selecting a canine hiking companion, training, safety, appropriate gear, canine first aid, and keeping your dog fit and healthy.

Why spend countless hours indoors in front of screens when being in nature feels so good? In learning why and how to nurture our emotional connection with nature, we can also regenerate the ecosystems on which we depend for our survival.

"Renewal: How Nature Awakens Our Creativity, Compassion, and Joy" by Andrés R. Edwards explores the science behind why being in nature makes us feel alive and helps us thrive.

New Hampshire is creating a state office dedicated to outdoor recreation in hopes of both expanding that industry and using it to attract young workers to other sectors.

The Adirondack Park is home to the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 states--six million acres including more than 10,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and thousands of miles of hiking trails running from mountain summits through a wide variety of habitats including wetlands and old-growth forests.

Carl Heilman has spent the last 40 years hiking and photographing his beloved Adirondack Mountains. He will tell us about his new book: "The Trails of the Adirondacks: Hiking America's Original Wilderness."

Heilman will be giving an illustrated lecture on Wednesday, August 7 at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs. 

Next year, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel from Amenia to Copake Falls without dealing with traffic or detours.

The final stage of construction on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail will connect the two segments of the former Harlem Valley rail line turned hiking and biking trail.

The eight-mile segment, the construction of which began last month, will create one continuous, 23-mile trail. The newest segment will begin begin at Main Street on Route 44 in Millerton and end at Under Mountain Road in the Town of Ancram.

Tree clearing to begin the project is underway, with October 2020 slated as the estimated date of completion. The total trail will begin at the Wassaic Train Station in Amenia and end at the Copake Falls area of Taconic State Park in Columbia County. Dick Hermans is the Chairman of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association.

A conservation organization has purchased hundreds of acres along the Hudson River in Saratoga County.

From 2001-2010, kayakers from around the world traveled to the Hudson Valley for the Great Hudson River Paddle, hosted by the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

In 2017, Hudson River Valley Greenway was awarded a grant to revive the beloved Paddle. For this year’s excursion, Hudson River Expeditions, a private kayaking adventure operator based in Cold Spring, was chosen to breathe new life into the Paddle over the next three years.

The company plans to relaunch the new Hudson River Paddle with some significant changes including all-inclusive offerings for participants. This year’s paddle takes place August 1-5 and registration is open now.

Brian Grahn is the owner of Hudson River Expeditions.

Vermont outdoors in the fall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The U.S. House has passed a bill authored by Democratic U.S. Representative Peter Welch of Vermont that would measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation.

The Flying Deer Nature Center in New Lebanon, NY is a non-profit wilderness school and community dedicated to mentoring children, youth, adults, and families in deep connection to nature, self, and others.

In September they are starting a program entitled: Awakening Wild: Nature Immersion for Adults. Awakening Wild will meet one weekend a month, September to May, and will offer an ongoing experience of fun, exciting nature immersion to awaken senses, bolster sense of comfort and confidence in the woods, and strengthen connection with the natural world.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

There’s only a few more weeks to enjoy recreational trails throughout the region without snowshoes or cross-country skis. Now, hikers and bikers in Saratoga and Warren Counties will see some of their favorite trails expanded or improved as new grants give a boost to several projects.

  American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth.

Yet, according to our next guest, teachers, parents, and other caregivers lack a basic understanding of how to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world.

Scott Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist and host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train. His new book is How to Raise a Wild Child.

  Writing for magazines and newspapers for more than twenty years, including two decades at Field & Stream, Bill Heavey has become famous as America’s everyman outdoorsman, unafraid to draw attention to his many and varied failures—from sporting French lavender deodorant to scaring a UPS man half to death while bowhunting in his front yard.

    There are nearly twenty-five million veterans and active-duty soldiers in North America. Some experts estimate that more than one quarter of these men and women suffer from post-traumatic distress, and many other military persons experience difficulty reintegrating into civilian life.

The new book: Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities shares the stories of men and women who are finding relief from stressful and traumatic military experiences, while also establishing community networks and other peer support initiatives. Stephanie Westlund has authored the book and holds a PhD in peace and conflict studies. She has been conducting research with veterans since 2009.

    Flying Deer Nature Center is a wilderness school in New Lebanon, NY that has been connecting children and adults to nature and community since 1996. They offer school programs, programming for homeschooled children, adult programs in animal tracking, bird language, women’s retreats and more.

Executive Director Michelle Apland and Programs Director Devin Franklin join us to tell us more.

Jarek Tuszynski via Wikipedia Commons

A national association has released a report assessing the economic importance of outdoor recreation to each state.  In New York and Vermont that sector of the economy translates to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenues.