Proclamations: June is Great Outdoors Month

More than half of the states have already proclaimed June 2019 Great Outdoors Month!  Since 2008, Governors from across the country have joined the President in proclaiming this month-long celebration of America’s great outdoors.  Click here for images and PDF versions of each proclamation.

Trails Are Life … Arkansas State Parks



“These trails mean life to me, physically and mentally,” hiker Jerry Brown says. We feel the same way. Yes, a lot of thought goes into building and maintaining trails but it’s really about how they breathe life back into you; that is the magic. And that’s our focus at Arkansas State Parks. #ARStateParks


Scenic Train Rides in Each State

The clichéd old adage “it’s not about the destination, but the journey” rings especially true when it comes to train travel.

Easily the best part of traveling by train is looking out the window and staring at the passing landscapes. Whether you’re a tourist exploring a new region or a commuter getting to and from work, you can catch the country’s natural beauty aboard one of the many trains crisscrossing the United States.

From Mount Rushmore to Miami Beach, every state has awe-inspiring landscapes and beautiful landmarks to enjoy by train.

Many of the trains are in or provide very scenic views of state parks and natural areas across the country.

Cass RR SP       MtWash RR

Cass Scenic RR, West Virginia & Mount Washinton Cog RR, New Hampshire

Find the most scenic train ride in your state according to INSIDER here

#escapetheoutdoors…National Public Lands Day…Sept 22

Lightning storm at the Grand Canyon



The 25th Annual National Public Lands Day is happening on September 22, 2018!

Mark September 22 on your calendar and make plans to head to your favorite outdoor spot as NEEF gets set to celebrate the 25th annual National Public Lands Day, nationally sponsored by Toyota Motor North America. No matter what is happening in the world, on National Public Lands Day, outdoor enthusiasts turn out in droves to give back to and enjoy their favorite outdoor places.

Every day, natural disasters and extreme weather, human activities, and a host of other factors take their toll on our public lands, threatening the health and wellbeing of the people and wildlife who depend on them. Public land managers, volunteers, and others who steward these special places work tirelessly to restore these areas, make them more resilient to future threats, and ensure that people and wildlife continue to enjoy them for years to come.

This enduring support and commitment to public lands year after year inspired NEEF to focus National Public Lands Day 2018 on resilience and restoration. Our natural resources are resilient, but only if we treat them right and give them the care they need. Through volunteer service on National Public Lands Day as well as grant support to local organizations, NEEF helps ensure people of all ages and abilities connect with public lands for recreation, hands-on learning, and community-building—now and in the future.


More about NEEF here

ME – Maine’s Katahdin is forever wild

OH – Women in the outdoors

83 learn skills during Ohio Women’s Outdoor Adventure

  • MAG-OUTDOORWOMEN-Instructor-Cindy-Orth

    Instructor Cindy Orth teaches a group of women on how to paddle a kayak.

The moment a flame was detected, Heather Franks broke into what she referred to as her “happy dance.” Building a fire with flint and without the use of matches is cause for celebration, especially when the flame rises during a workshop at the Ohio Women’s Outdoor Adventure.

“Before I got there, I couldn’t do that to save my life, but we built a fire,” the 37-year-old from Findlay said. “Me and the gal beside me were pretty happy. We learned a new skill, and we did it in a really fun environment.”

The event took place recently at Maumee Bay State Park, and 83 women of all ages and backgrounds went through sessions on archery, fishing, backpacking, standup paddleboarding, and many other outdoors skills.

“It was all women, and it was so much fun,” Ms. Franks said. “It was a relaxed atmosphere where we could face new challenges and try our luck at a bunch of different outdoor activities.”

Valerie Cox from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the outdoors for women workshops have been very successful and wildly popular. In the three years the program has been in operation, 250 women have taken part. Registration for this year’s program was full in less than 24 hours.

“It’s an opportunity to meet other women with similar interests and then share the experience with them,” Ms. Franks said. “A lot of my friends don’t have the same interest as I do in these outdoors activities, but this brought women who enjoy the outdoors together.”

Jennifer Warnement of Perrysburg got connected with the OWOA event at Maumee Bay through her sister.

“Growing up, we were always doing things outdoors. We loved being around the water and hiking, and we still love those things, so this day of outdoors adventures was ideal for us,” she said. Ms. Warnement, 41, took part in the kayaking, standup paddleboarding, and archery and also learned how to make maple syrup.

“It is just a better learning environment when it is all women, and that is definitely one of the reasons I went,” she said. “When it’s all women, everyone is a little more relaxed and it’s a better situation for bonding, I believe. I was new to the kayaking and paddleboarding, and those turned out to be a lot of fun.”

Ms. Warnement said she had not picked up a bow since attending 4-H camp as a kid, but she shot both a compound bow and a crossbow in the archery workshop. While she does not expect to shoot much on her own, she has been kayaking a couple of times since the event, testing her recently acquired skills.

“The instructors were all awesome — very patient and very thorough with us — and I think that makes it much easier to pick up something new,” she said. “There is a lot to learn, but I loved it. If I go again, I want to try the power boat course and the personal watercraft (jet ski) sessions.”

Ms. Franks said the sailing and paddleboarding workshops introduced her to outdoors skills that she might previously had been hesitant to pick up.

“I’ve had this weird fear of water all my life, and to actually get out there and do those things was awesome,” she said. “I told my husband I want a Hobie Cat (sailboat) and a paddleboard for Christmas. But he said I’ll have to pick just one of those.”

Governors Support Capital Campouts

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 6.09.24 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 6.11.03 PM

Indiana Governor and Capital Campout host Mike Pence is now the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate! In June 2016, Governor Pence hosted his second Capital Campout for Indiana youth in Indianapolis at Fort Harrison State Park. He took the campers on a “Hike with Mike” to celebrate Indiana’s trail system. To see photos and how other Governors celebrated Great Outdoors Month 2016, visit:!capital-campouts/cb41

WA – New Old Time Chautauqua, State Parks team up to host summer events

A very interesting summer interpretive program happening in Washington!

Events take place in seven state parks and nearby communities

OLYMPIA – June 3, 2016– The New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC), America’s only traveling or circuit Chautauqua, is joining forces with Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission for a 2016 summer tour of seven state parks and nearby communities.Chautauquas were based on the idea that learning continued throughout life. The Chautauqua Movement began in 1874, bringing a mix of education and entertainment to communities throughout the nation. When a Chautauqua came to town, all normal activity stopped as citizens dedicated a week of their lives to learn, be entertained and join with their community.

“The idea of the Chautauqua-Parks partnership is to renew ties and to foster goodwill between the towns and their local state parks,” said Paul Magid, founding member of the NOTC and The Flying Karamazov Brothers. “Chautauquas and Washington Parks share common goals: to promote community through education and experience by being a catalyst for cultural and creative exchange surrounded by the beauty of nature.”

“Chautauquas were always held in an idyllic setting—among the trees, by a shore, or in a park—which is why this partnership is such a natural fit,” said Debbie Fant, Coordinator for the State Parks Folk & Traditional Arts Program. “And each park on the tour can tell its own story in workshops led by local experts.”

Each Chautauqua takes place over several days, with events occurring one day in the nearby town and another day in the state park. Each Chautauqua includes entertaining and educational workshops in parks and towns, a community potluck in each state park, live music, speakers and a grand parade—community participation encouraged—through the town. Each Chautauqua comes to a close with a family-friendly finale featuring Broadway stars, a big band, aerialists, comedians, jugglers and more.

Presss release

More on Chautauqua