Outdoor News December 1, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News December 1, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News December 1, 2017

Nature Playlists

Nature Play Queensland (Australia) has published a series of posters designed to help parents get their kids outdoors.  The posters suggest activities for kids from ages 1 to 12.  The titles:

  • 33 things to do before you are 1
  • 33 things to do before you are 2
  • 33 things to do before you are 3
  • 49 things to do before you are 5
  • 51 things to do before you are 12

They also offer a series of “10 Things To Do” posters, also aimed at kids.  You can learn more and download all the posters at the Nature Play Queensland website.


Adirondack Trail System Being Developed

Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging System has just completed a three-year study to support their vision: “The Adirondack Park will be a renowned sustainable tourism destination containing a parkwide, community-based system of world-class, self-powered recreation trails with both frontcountry and backcountry lodging.”  

AdirondacksAccording to Leading E.D.G.E., the project manager, “By developing a trail system with huts or other overnight accommodations modeled after the Great Walks in New Zealand, the trekking network in Norway, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain, the unique assets and amenities of the Adirondack Park can be leveraged to attract a global market of outdoor recreators and provide recreation opportunities that improve the quality of life for Adirondack residents.”

The project is being funded by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.  For more on the project see the Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging System website.

Foreign Owners Worry New Zealand 

The New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers says that it welcomes news that the new Labor-led Government will tighten rules around farm purchases by foreign buyers. Graham Carter President of the group said many New Zealanders would be delighted at the Labour-led government’s decision.  “Tightening the rules around is well overdue and very welcome,” he said. 

NZ SheepThe announcement live by Environment Minister David Parker along with Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage was that the new government had pledged to strengthen the Overseas Investment Act. “The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has fallen short in many of its obligations over recent years and in particular has affected those Kiwi recreational users wanting access to areas some of which have been closed off by the new foreign owners wanting exclusive capture of the public’s recreational resources of these areas,” said Graham Carter.

The national government had many opportunities to act and failed to do so which created considerable frustration among the outdoor recreation sector who were saddened at the privatisation of many of New Zealand’s wild places. In recent years oversea buyers have been to the forefront in restricting public access to the freshwater areas that have been cooperatively used by a wide range of recreational users for over 150 years. The ‘reigning in’ of these foreign buyers is vital for the preservation of the outdoors culture which is a part of the Kiwi Psyche.”

“This exclusive capture of our recreational access and resources shows how the National government has bullied its way into a ‘scratch the back’ of those wealthy overseas hunters and fishers that supported National’s way of doing business.”

It was very important that the new Minister ensured that the rights of kiwi hunters and fishers came first and foremost and that the OIO in future must properly implement the law governing sales of sensitive land to foreign buyers.

“Locking kiwi’s out of their own backyard is deplorable,” said Graham Carter.


OHV Group Wants More Access

Staff from the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Government Relations Office met late in November with high-level Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service officials to discuss the importance of outdoor recreation on Forest Service lands. The MIC urged Department officials to prioritize recreational access, stating that off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation in national forests is vital to the industry and that it is a local and national economic engine.

Dirt BikeRepresenting the MIC, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, the Government Relations Office staff was part of a delegation of members of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable.

“Working as part of ORIR, we are better able to garner the attention of high-level land management agency officials and harness the power of a collective industry that generates $887 billion in economic impact and supports 7.6 million jobs across the country,” said Kathy Van Kleeck, senior vice president, government relations for the MIC. “And, as we said in the meeting, the industry values its relationship with the USFS..”

MIC staff expressed the need to embrace partnerships to enhance recreational opportunities, and said that the industry associations, in cooperation with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, stand ready to partner and assist in increasing access for responsible use on forest lands.

Dan Jiron, the USDA’s acting under secretary for natural resources and the environment, told the group that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is an outdoor recreation advocate and committed to improve the experience for forest visitors nationwide, and further help with overcoming any barriers to effective partnerships.

The meeting ended with an agreement to plan further meetings involving the department’s leadership and its recreation partners focusing on action steps, overcoming barriers to partnerships and improving rural prosperity.

“Much work remains for the MIC, its partners and the roundtable,” Van Kleeck said. “But this was another positive step to ensure that powersports enthusiasts nationwide, young and old, continue to have riding areas open to them for responsible use well into the future.

Higher Park Fees Hurt Towns

A proposed national park fee increase from $30 to $70 for a seven-day pass likely will negatively affect the gateway communities near the parks, according to a new study by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently announced its plan to increase fees in 17 of the most-visited national parks in response to a nearly $12 billion backlog due to deferred maintenance. For many of the parks, the fee increase means a seven-day vehicle pass will more than double in cost during the park’s five-month peak season. The National Park Service expects to generate an estimated 34.3 percent increase, or $69 million, over its 2016 revenues.

“As with most goods or services in our economy, a price increase leads to a decrease in demand,” said Jeremy Sage, the ITRR study’s lead author. “In the case of a national park, this means a reduction in the number of visits.”

The ITRR report estimates what the change in demand might mean for Yellowstone National Park. Sage and his colleagues find that for every 10 percent increase in travel costs, including entrance fees and fuel costs, the number of monthly visits to the park declines by 2.7 percent when all other factors are constant.

This decline in number of visits may negatively impact the gateway communities surrounding the parks. According to a 2016 report from the NPS, visitors to parks across the country spent $18.4 billion annually in gateway communities, including nearly $525 million around Yellowstone alone. According to the ITRR analysis, an annual loss of $3.4 million in spending in Yellowstone’s gateway communities would result from just the change in the price of seven-day vehicle passes.

 “The effect of the price change is disproportionately felt by local visitors from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming,” Sage said. “Visitors from these local states currently have an average travel cost of about $106, including fuel and the entrance fee. They would see an increase of nearly 38 percent with the new fees. This obviously has a potential to create a significant hardship for many families in the local area.”


The price changes mostly will affect the local communities, with U.S. citizens outside the area and Canadians seeing an average change of 14 percent and international visitors facing an average increase of only one percent.

 “The effects shown in our assessment of Yellowstone likely carry over to the other parks and gateway communities as well,” Sage said. “We only assess the seven-day vehicle pass, but changes are proposed to the motorcycle pass, the per-person pass and the park-specific pass. All should be expected to reduce visits and thus have a negative impact on local communities.”

The full report, “Thinking Outside the Park – National Park Fee Increase Effects on Gateway Communities,” is available on the ITRR website at https://scholarworks.umt.edu/itrr_pubs/362.


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Video of the Week

Iceland is a remarkable place of snow, ice, rain and water.  This week’s video, “Tears of Heaven” offers a melancholy look at the country through the eyes of L’oeil d’Eos.  Enjoy!


This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
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