It’s “Great Outdoors Month” across the nation, and for the fifth year, just about every one of Pennsylvania’s 120 state parks has planned something special to encourage people to explore outdoor recreation.
There’s a Twilight Paddle in Moraine State Park on Tuesday geared toward people who have never kayaked before, a wildlife program focusing on bears at Keystone State Park on Thursday and an early morning wildlife viewing by boat on Friday at Ohiopyle State Park, just to mention a few.
Special programs exist to attract campers, especially first-time campers. Some state parks will offer unique, guided experiences to introduce people to camping, according to Terry Brady, spokesman for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Brady said Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods” revealed that many young people no longer experience the outdoors.
“Perhaps it’s perceived as not hip, or perhaps it’s perceived as unsafe — a commitment to electronic games and the video world," he said. "For whatever reason, and this is not a Pennsylvania problem, it’s across the nation, so many studies have shown that obesity is linked to inactivity and inactivity stems from just sitting around the house and not getting out there.”
Louv wrote of a "nature deficit disorder" with negative behavioral consequences, as well as the physical.