When it comes to the idea of the “great American pastime,” forget baseball — because it seems that camping is now the go-to activity for American families.
In the last year alone, about 43 million Americans went on a camping trip. And with the number projected to grow even higher in the future, the U.S. Forest Service is now developing a strategy to meet this demand and give Americans more room to enjoy the great outdoors.
According to a December 13 Ravalli Republic article, a few Forest Service officials recently met with trail crew foremen, landscape architects, wildlife biologists and more to construct a plan to sustainably expand the amount of public recreation area that is available to Americans.
The Forest Service is also grappling with ways to fund upkeep for these lands, according to the Republic, an issue that has also been discussed at its meetings with outdoor recreation experts. With its expansion strategy, the Forest Service plans to re-allocate its budget to better maintain the public lands it oversees.
For Horseshoe Bend, a popular boating, bicycling and hiking destination, this strategy means both an expansion of the recreational opportunities visitors have access to, along with a more regulated limit on the number of days visitors can stay.
According to the Helena Independent Record, the Forest Service plans to implement wide-reaching regulations on the number of days a visitor can occupy a location on National Forest System lands.
Currently, the Forest Service’s plans only include Region 1 states like Montana and North Dakota, with the limits currently set at either 14 or 16 days for campers. However, its regulations will likely spread to Region 8, where Horseshoe Bend is located, in the near future.
With the Forest Service’s plans to expand and regulate the amount of public lands available to Americans, the millions of Americans who want to enjoy some time outdoors will soon have no shortage of places to do so.