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How will you celebrate Great Outdoors Month?

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There’s no better way to spend Great Outdoors Month than getting out to America’s public lands and waters. You can stroll through fields of wildflowers, make a new feathered friend, take part in a thrilling event or embrace an American tradition. Connecting to nature and getting some exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. Your chances for adventure are as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Check out some of our suggestions below for fun ways to enjoy Great Outdoors Month.

Go Fish

Two men in waders stand in a shallow river with fishing poles as a dog sits on the grassy bank watching them.
Fly fishing on the Lower Crooked Wild and Scenic River in Oregon. Photo by Greg Shine, Bureau of Land Management.

Alone or with friends and family, fishing is a fun and relaxing opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Every year, over 30 million people go fishing, many of them on public lands and waters. From the calm of fly fishing in a Montana stream to the thrill of sportfishing in the Gulf of Mexico, fishing is a great way to support conservation and inspire your next water-cooler story. Check out our tips on what you need to know when you try to hook the big one.

Be Bold

A large brown bear stands on a grassy riverbank with her three cubs.
Watching the bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the thrill of a lifetime. Photo by Sandeep Rajagopal (www.sharethexperience.org).

America’s public lands offer endless opportunities for fun and adventure! Check out our list of a few of the best events on public lands throughout the year. From Salt Flat racing in Utah to manatee watching in Florida to casting a line in Georgia, there’s something for everyone. This list includes incredible adventures (like bear watching in Alaska), but it’s only a sampling of the opportunities available on public lands.

Look Up

The milky way and a night sky full of stars hangs over a landscape of low rugged rock formations.
The Milky Way over Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Photo by Erik Fremstad (www.sharetheexperience.com).

After the sun goes down, the skies above America’s public lands come alive. Some of the last harbors of dark skies, public lands provide unspoiled views of the stars glittering above. While fewer than 500 stars may be visible at night in urban areas because of light pollution, you can see up to 15,000 stars on some public lands. At public lands across the country, we’re working to protect these truly dark skies for visitors to enjoy.  Whether you’re an astronomy expert or a lover of night skies, these public lands offer up some of the best opportunities to see extraordinary natural lightscapes.

Take a Hike

A man wearing a backpack walks along a dirt trail overlooking a massive canyon.
Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Photo by Michael Quinn, National Park Service.

No matter how many times you walk down a trail, there is always something new to be found. Great Outdoors Month is the perfect time to explore the nearly 60,000 miles of trails that honor our country’s diverse landscape and history. There are 11 national scenic trails, 19 national historic trails and over 1,200 national recreation trails throughout the country that link historic sites, wildlife refuges, national parks, national forests and wilderness areas. Whether you like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle, there is a trail for you.

Go with the Flow

A narrow blue river flows over rocks at the bottom of a steep canyon covered in bushes and wildflowers.
Summer along the North Fork of the American River in California. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.

Looking to hit the water for Great Outdoors Month? We’ve got you covered. With approximately 3.6 million miles of streams — including 12,734 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers — the United States has some incredible stretches of water. They’re the perfect place for a quiet float trip, a heart-pumping whitewater adventure or the chance to catch a really big fish. So fasten your life jacket, grab your paddle and try one of these awesome river trips.

Join the Tradition

Two men wearing hunting gear and carrying shotguns walk across a grassy plain past a small pond following a dog.
Waterfowl hunters at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Photo by Ryan Hagerty, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Hunters have played a major role in the conservation of the nation’s wildlife resources since the late 19th century. American conservation giants like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold were both avid sportsmen. Their passion for wildlife and hunting helped shape our nation’s wildlife management philosophy and public lands as we know them. By maintaining ethical traditions and respecting nature, sportsmen and women continue to be vital stewards of wildlife and habitat today. Take part in this American tradition this Great Outdoors Month and learn everything you need to know about hunting on public lands.

Roll Out

A person on a mountain bike rides down a curved wooden ramp as it runs through a forest.
Cool ramps guide riders along the Meadowood Trail in Virginia. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Grab adventure by the handlebars and enjoy some two-wheeled fun on your public lands. Parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas across the country offer excellent opportunities for bikers to ride through gorgeous landscapes, learn about history from behind their handlebars or even share the trail with wildlife. So strap on your helmet, check your tires, grab your water bottle and scoot on down one of these amazing trails. We hope you have a wheelie good time.

Load Up the Station Wagon

A man helps a little boy put on a climbing harness while other kids look on while standing next to a rock wall.
Climbing together at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Jardine.

Public lands are great places for families to unplug, slow down and spend time with one another. The staff at Interior knows these special places as well as anyone, and they’ve shared some of their pictures and memories of spending family time on public lands. We hope these stories will encourage more people to get out and enjoy their public lands together — especially families with young kids. Inspiring an appreciation for parks at an early age is critical to creating the next generation of conservationists and public land enthusiasts.

If you find all of these overwhelming and just want to spend Great Outdoors Month sitting on the beach, we can help with that, too.

Have a great time!

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