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    “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” John Muir

    Nature-based recreation is believed to be the fastest growing sector of the recreation and tourism industry globally, generating an estimated 10-12 percent growth in international travel per year (World Tourism Organization, 2001). The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Conservation International (CI) have indicated that most of the growth in leisure travel is occurring in and around the world’s remaining natural areas (Christ, 2005). Within the United States, demonstrating the highest increases (double digits from 2008), were backpacking, mountain biking, and trail running; with hiking and camping increasing slightly (7 and 9 percent respectively). Participation in nature-based activities has been measured by Cordell et al. (2008) since 2000. Prominent among the top seventeen activities, viewing or photographing flowers and trees and natural scenery ranked the highest, with growth rates of nearly 26 percent and 14 percent respectively. Cordell et al. (2008) suggest that "Americans' interest in nature and nature-based recreation, though changing is not declining; rather, is strong and growing" (p. 10).

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    Bricker, Kelly S.; Winter, Patricia L.; Schultz, Jeremy R. 2010. Health, economy, and community: USDA Forest Service managers' perspectives on sustainable outdoor recreation. Rural Connections5(1): 38-42.

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