Kids hiking in forest. Credit: American Forests.

Forests are great places for activities such as hiking, camping, skiing, fishing and bird watching. Being outdoors improves mental well-being by bonding with others and nature. Individuals, especially kids, are more likely to be healthier and live active lifestyles when they have access to forests and parks. Investing in forests for recreation opportunities not only boosts the local economy but builds a sense of community pride.


Did you know?

  • Today there are 155 national forests in 42 states, plus one in Puerto Rico, comprising almost 190 million acres — 8.5 percent of the nation’s total land area.[1]
  • More than 130,000 miles of hiking trails in the U.S. are open to the public through the U.S. Forest Service.[2]
  • More than 4,000 designated campgrounds in the U.S. are operated by the U.S. Forest Service.[2]
  • Recreation is a $646 billion a year industry, compared to the $340 billion spent annually on cars and car parts.[3]
  • Recreation provides 6.1 million jobs to Americans.[3]



[1] U.S. Forest Service. About Us. Forest Service History. (accessed June 5, 2013).

[2] U.S. Forest Service. Recreation. Programs. Facts. Fact Sheet (accessed June 7, 2013).

[3] Outdoor Industry Association. Research. Outdoor Recreation Economy. Recreation Economy Resources. National Report. 2012 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report. (accessed June 12, 2013)