If you’ve been in Colorado for long, you’ve probably noticed that the trails are getting continually more crowded. This trend is actually something that’s happening around the entire country, with more people turning to outdoor recreation each day. One recent study has found that more than 6 million American households have started camping since 2014. Also interesting, roughly 331 million people entered the US National Parks in 2017 – around the same number of guests that entered National Parks in record-breaking 2016. As more and more people explore natural areas, it becomes that much more crucial to make sure that these people know how to interact with nature in a way that’s safe for both them and the environment.

Glancing over comments on OutThere Colorado’s Facebook page, I’ve noticed a growing trend of animosity toward newcomers to nature. Commenters flame each other back and forth, often sending a message of unwelcomeness on behalf of the Centennial State. While it can hurt to see the places we love change over time, this message does nothing to help. If people are moving to Colorado and looking for something to do outside, they’ll find something to do outside. The internet makes it easy.

What convenient internet research experience often tends to lack is supplemental information. This is where the outdoor recreation community must come in. Instead of shunning newcomers away from seeking valuable information about the great outdoors, they should be embraced. If these newcomers are continually shunned, they’re more likely to feel uncomfortable seeking out the crucial advice that they need regarding best practices and preservation.

Yes, it not fun when your favorite trail gets crowded, but as interest in outdoor recreation continues to grow, that’s an inevitable result. What isn’t inevitable is the destruction of natural areas. If those of us in the outdoor recreation community take the time to educate newcomers instead of pushing them away, we can turn them into another person protecting the trails instead of someone unknowingly harming them. Most people aren’t out to destroy nature, but if there’s no teacher, there’s no lesson to learn. Be a teacher. Spread the knowledge. Do your part to help keep Colorado colorful.



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What We Believe

We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More