Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Announcing The Release of My New Book on The History of Hiking

I’m very excited to announce the release of my brand new book on the rich history of hiking! Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. To give you a better idea of what the book encompasses, I've copied the introduction to the book (below), which is now available on Amazon.

Ramble On:

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern array of hiking gear and apparel? How was information about hiking, trails and gear disseminated in the early years? And what were some of the reasons why people hiked, and how have those changed over time?

Ramble On, a general history on the sport of hiking (also known as rambling, tramping, walking, hillwalking, backpacking or trekking), attempts to answers these questions, as well as many others. This book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the nineteenth century, the first trails built specifically for recreational hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel.

When I first considered writing this book two years ago I wasn’t really sure how much relevant information I would be able to find, or how compelling of a story could be written about the history of hiking. I feared that I wouldn’t have enough material to write a full book. However, after diving into the project I soon realized that hiking actually has a very rich and compelling history, and has been profoundly influenced by a series of events that had nothing to do with hiking. I was continuously amazed by how much hiking has been molded by societal trends, as well as national and international events. The story of hiking took me in many directions that I never would’ve considered, from Romanticism and Transcendentalism, to the Industrial Revolution and the labor movement, to the rise of automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art, to name just a few.

However, what intrigued me the most were the anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, as well as the peculiar and quirky traditions of some of the early hiking clubs. One of the most compelling stories was the apparel women were forced to wear during the Victorian Era, and the danger those fashion standards posed to women who dared to venture into the mountains.

This book also takes a look at some of the issues that currently impact hikers and trails, such as overcrowding and social media, and takes a peek into the future on how some of these trends could unfold. I also explain some of the solutions public land managers are currently considering, and offer a few suggestions myself.

My hope is that you will you come away with a better understanding of what it took to make hiking one of the most popular activities in the world, and what we need to do to preserve our trails and the spirit of hiking for future generations to come.

To order your copy now, please click here. Thank you very much!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Colorado Parks and Wildlife leads state effort to compile comprehensive outdoor recreation plan

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has released a draft 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for public review and comment. As outdoor recreation participation booms in Colorado, the plan lays out top priorities to address the state’s needs for conservation and outdoor recreation over the next five years.

Increasing popularity for outdoor spaces plus a growing understanding of how important outdoor recreation is to Colorado’s economy, quality of life, and health make it essential that all Coloradans work collaboratively to conserve Colorado’s outdoor playground.

The draft SCORP includes new studies looking at outdoor recreation participation, including barriers and motivations, and management issues.

“According to the new information collected, 92 percent of Coloradans recreate outdoors at least once every few weeks,” said Dr. Mike Quartuch, human dimensions specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Almost 70 percent of Coloradans recreate outdoors one or more times per week,” Dr. Quartuch said. Coloradans’ favorite outdoor recreation activities are walking and hiking, while about a third enjoy picnicking, camping and fishing.

When asked about barriers to participating in outdoor recreation, Coloradans cited time constraints, crowding and traffic. When asked about future investments for where they live, Coloradans are interested in more walking trails and paths, nature and wildlife viewing areas and picnic areas with shelters that can accommodate small groups. When considering statewide priorities, people find long-term planning and management, operations and maintenance of existing facilities, and trails to be the most important.

“In 2014, our SCORP reported that outdoor recreation contributed $34.5 billion to Colorado’s economy. We anticipate this new report will show extensive growth in this powerhouse industry,” said Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Every report that comes out about this industry makes it one of the largest sectors in Colorado’s economy, greater than construction, finance, and manufacturing. The impacts ripple across both urban and rural communities and benefit our daily lives.”

Since the last statewide study for Colorado five years ago, the contribution of outdoor recreation continues to demonstrate its might both at home and nationally. The most recent Outdoor Industry Association report finds that the outdoor recreation sector contributes $887 billion in consumer spending nationwide.

Over the next twenty years, the state’s population is projected to grow by around 100,000 people every year. As a result, the acres of outdoor recreation lands per capita in Colorado will drop by about 20 percent. This means more crowding and pressure on the state’s outdoor resources, including outdoor recreation infrastructure and wildlife habitat.

“We are at a critical juncture in determining the future of conservation of the places we love and the demand for recreation opportunities. Our outdoor spaces, recreation opportunities and wildlife are defining characteristics of Colorado,” Broscheid stated. “We cannot look at these as separate from one another. Conservation and outdoor recreation are intertwined. It is up to each of us to play an active role in caring for and maintaining these valuable assets. Our way of life depends on it.”

To address these challenges, the draft SCORP identifies four top priorities:

1. Enhance sustainable access and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors
2. Promote stewardship of natural, cultural and recreational resources
3. Conserve lands, waters and wildlife
4. Ensure adequate funding to sustain Colorado’s outdoors for the future

The 2019 SCORP was prepared with extensive input from Colorado leaders in outdoor recreation, including members of the Colorado Outdoor Partnership. "For over a year, outdoor recreation interests met with conservation groups, sportsmen, outdoor educators, government and others to consider pressing issues and identify the top priorities for the future of Colorado's outdoors," said Allison Kincaid, Executive Director of Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. "This plan is Colorado's plan. It was developed through a collaborative process and will require strong partnerships to ensure its success."

With broad input, this plan provides the framework to strategically allocate Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars - combined with investments from other federal, state, local and private funding programs - and support collaborations between outdoor recreation providers that promote both recreational enjoyment and thoughtful conservation of Colorado’s special places.

The public has until October 22nd to review the draft 2019 SCORP and provide comments to CPW. For more information, or to comment on the plan visit:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking