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Chapter 6: Nature, outdoor experiences, and human healthAuthor(s): Kathleen L. Wolf; Monika M. Derrien; Linda E. Kruger; Teresa L. Penbrooke
Source: In: Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Blahna, Dale J.; Miller, Anna B., eds. 2020. Igniting research for outdoor recreation: linking science, policy, and action. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-987. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 257 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (1.0 MB)
DescriptionRecent scientific studies from around the world identify a broad array of human health benefits associated with experiences of nearby nature. This chapter explores how the current surge in health response science can inform recreation facilities planning and programming on both rural and urban public lands, at local to regional scales. We also introduce a number of evidence-based active living and nature-for-health initiatives—both conceptually and literally—that have emerged in communities across the country and that can be implemented across the entire landscape gradient.
This collection of ideas concerning outdoor activity and human health represents a paradigm shift in several ways. First, human health response has been implicit in many recreation plans and lands, yet explicit health-centered goal setting suggests new opportunities for visitor recruitment and retention. Second, an alllands outlook, from a human health perspective, extends connectivity of recreation facilities beyond the public land boundary into nearby neighborhoods, and into partnerships with local governments. Finally, exploring the contributions of outdoor activity to human health initiates collaborations with nontraditional partners whose work is not based in natural resources, but who can offer valuable insights into visitor benefits. Such partners include medical professionals, public health departments, and community organizers. Looking back to chapter 2 (Cerveny et al. 2020), a human health lens also shifts the notion of “recreation as leisure” to one of “recreation as human connections” and expands the notion to acknowledge the importance of nature-based activity in everyday life.
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CitationWolf, Kathleen L.; Derrien, Monika M.; Kruger, Linda E.; Penbrooke, Teresa L. 2020. Chapter 6: Nature, outdoor experiences, and human health. In: Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Blahna, Dale J.; Miller, Anna B., eds. 2020. Igniting research for outdoor recreation: linking science, policy, and action. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-987. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 85-100.
KeywordsOutdoor recreation, tourism, public lands, research.
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