News & Updates

Leave No Trace & Penn State Launch Covid-19 Recreation Patterns Research

Leave No Trace - April 10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly altering daily life and leading to changes in the way we spend time outside. In an effort to gather timely and relevant data on national recreation patterns before, during and after the pandemic, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is working quickly with its academic partner, Pennsylvania State University, to conduct a study that can offer guidance to land managers, recreation providers and the general public. The hope is that the results of this rapid assessment will provide valuable  information for managing the changing recreation use of public lands, predicting spikes in recreation and offering insights for land managers and other relevant groups as they work to protect the natural world.

“This type of rapid assessment research is critical right now as we work to get a handle on how COVID-19 is changing recreation patterns across the country, ” according to Ben Lawhon, Leave No Trace’s Education Director. Spending time outdoors offers a refuge for so many during the pandemic, yet we are already seeing and hearing about increased impacts in many locations. The results of this research can help inform strategies for both managing the potential impacts and ensuring that parks and protected areas continue to meet peoples’ needs.”

As the pandemic continues to evolve so rapidly, the Center and Penn State will continue to assess recreation patterns and provide additional data.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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