Friday, February 08, 2008

Fewer Hikers Reported

Rich Lewis writes an editorial in the 7 February 2008 Sentinel newspaper from Carlisle, PA titled "Virtual is nice, but real is much nicer." He reports that Dickinson College there in Carlisle is beginning a brand new environmental studies program. And he ties it to the recent
"study, published Monday in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [that] demonstrates a 'fundamental and pervasive decline in nature recreation.' Specifically, Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois and Patricia Zaradic of Bryn Mawr College found that, since 1981, there has been an 18 to 25 percent drop in the number of people engaging in various outdoor activities at national and state parks and other public lands. Fishing is down. Visits to national parks are down. Hiking on the Appalachian Trail is down. Camping, a bellwether activity, is down."
While having less people on the Trail creates a more wilderness-like experience, the bad news is that fewer hikers = fewer people who care = less support.

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