Healing in the Outdoors

Healing in the Outdoors

An opportunity for all

Perspective by Ashlee Lundvall

One August morning in 1999, I swung my legs out of my bunk and pulled on a stiff, new pair of Wrangler jeans. I was at a teen camp in Wyoming, and I had chores to complete before we left that afternoon on a backpacking trip. Little did I know that day would be the last day I stood on my own.

A teardrop trailer parked roadside.

Over Look / Under Foot

Two artists road trip through Utah’s national parks

Text and photographs by Katie Hargrave and Meredith Lynn
Captions by Birch Malotky

As tent campers and national parks enthusiasts, we spend a lot of time in the company of Airstreams, Winnebagos, and Jaycos, and have come to appreciate that for many, the RV makes a kind of relationship to nature possible.

Amenity Trap

Amenity Trap

Skyrocketing housing prices drive residents out of desirable outdoor recreation communities

By Kristen Pope

Jackson, Wyoming, is famous for its amazing outdoor access, but finding an affordable place to live there is a perpetual struggle.

Four people with backpacks and helmets stand in a forest with a view of a lake behind them.

Restoring Connection to the Land

Indigenous trail crews empower the next generation of environmental stewards

By Cecilia Curiel

For the last several years, Shonto Greyeyes of the Diné (Navajo) Nation has made his living in some of the Southwest’s most sought-after landscapes—

Two mule deer seen looking at the camera through sagebrush.

Fair Game

Who should pay for wildlife management?

By Hilary Byerly Flint 

“We’re pretty darn lucky,” says Brian Nesvik, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Horses, Hats, and Heritage

Horses, Hats, and Heritage

Dude ranching offers a compelling model for sustainable tourism in the West

By Graham Marema

Just before sunrise, Nine Quarter Circle Ranch wakes up. The valley is still blue with fog, and wranglers don cowboy hats and vests, shimmying their feet into worn boots.

Illustration of pronghorn running alongside a bullet train.

Train Trek

A vision for bringing passenger rail back to the rural West

Words by Nick Robinson, artwork by Graham Marema

Steel wheels glide along a track as the conductor announces, “Next stop, Thermopolis!” Outside the window, pronghorn antelope gallop across the sagebrush. The train slows to match their speed and then enters a tunnel. On the other side, striking granite walls of the Wind River Canyon come into view.

Photo of two elk silhouetted against a sunset.

Elk Heyday

Booming elk numbers create a rare opportunity for hunting and tourism

By Janey Fugate

While scouting for mule deer on a chilly October evening in southeast Wyoming, the last thing I expected to see was several hundred elk.

Photo of a red fox sitting on a paved sidewalk near a sprinkler in a campground.

The Outdoor Recreation Ecosystem

How accounting for human behavior can improve wildlife management

By Molly Caldwell

On a summer evening in a Grand Teton National Park campground, the smell of barbecue drifts along a cooling breeze, signaling dinner time to nearby red foxes.

Cliff Notes

Cliff Notes

How place and technology meanings shape conflict around outdoor recreation development

By Wes Eaton and Curt Davidson 

In the fall of my first semester as a visiting professor at the University of Wyoming, a stranger knocked on the half-open door to my new office and said, “There’s a town in Wyoming where people are saying that an outdoor recreation development proposal is tearing their community apart. Want to look into it with me?”

A rock climber ascends a sport route in Tensleep Canyon, Wyoming.

Ascending to the Challenge

Rock climbers in a remote Wyoming canyon may help shape national public lands climbing management

By Nita Tallent

On an early summer day in 2018, a group of sport rock climbers—packs laden with ropes, quickdraws, harnesses, shoes, and chalk—clambered up a makeshift trail in Tensleep Canyon, Wyoming.

Photo of students standing in a lake with their arms around one another.

Reimagining “Leave No Trace”

Can outdoor recreators minimize impact in the backcountry while connecting deeply with place?

By Sam Sharp

It’d been raining all day when we heard them: bullfrogs, croaking from the woods. We stopped, dropped our packs, and marched through the leaf litter to find them.

Red and orange blanket flowers blooming through a tarp.

Wings Over Wyoming

Cultivating pollinator support at state parks

By Amy Marie Storey

In 2019, a plain mowed field in Oklahoma’s Sequoyah State Park transformed into an acre of wildflowers. The verdant space served both visitors and pollinators.

Three reddish-capped mushrooms on a forest floor

Foraging for Data

The power of mushroom hunting as both outdoor recreation and community science

By Shelby Nivitanont

While off-path and crouching at the base of a stoic fir, I took in my surroundings with an exhalation and fresh eyes. Huge, ruby-red mushroom caps pushed up through the earth around me—countless Boletus rubriceps, or Rocky Mountain porcini.

A mountain biker threads between boulders at Curt Gowdy State Park. (Brian Harrington/BHP Imaging)

Happy Trails

Lessons from Curt Gowdy State Park on outdoor recreation design

By Katie Klingsporn

Between Laramie and Cheyenne, amid the rocky shrubland and aspen groves of Curt Gowdy State Park, 45 miles of trail unfurl in ribbons of dirt, ramps, jumps, and berms.

A bunch of tents pitched in the desert with red rock buttes on the horizon

When You Gotta Go—Pack It Out

Finding solutions for human waste in the backcountry

By Kristen Pope

Among stunning red arches, balancing rocks, canyons, pinyon-juniper, and cacti, a hiker in southern Utah sees something white in the distance. Is it a wildflower? Approaching the “blossom,” the hiker instead finds something far less picturesque—used toilet paper and human feces.

White dog and man walking on a trail.


Managing off-leash dogs on public trails

By Sabrina White

“Boulder, as a town, has always been super supportive of dogs and people recreating together off-leash,” says Lisa Gonҫalo, recreation management coordinator for the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.

Family hiking through wildflowers with trees behind.

Making Space

Land trusts take on community access to outdoor recreation

By Meghan Kent

In 2009, Colin Betzler moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, as the first paid executive director for the local land trust. Like for many people, the Bighorn Mountains drew him to the area. On a clear day, the fortress-like summits of Cloud Peak, Blacktooth, Innominate, and Mt. Woolsey reign over the Sheridan valley.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

Issue 13: Sustainable Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

By Emilene Ostlind

On a search for a place with “a combination of adventure, culture, and affordability,” Outside magazine recently named my hometown of Laramie, Wyoming, “the most affordable mountain town in the West.”