June is Great Outdoors Month

DES MOINES — While the 2015 Memorial Day weekend was a soggy start to the summer recreation season, there are plenty more days ahead to enjoy the outdoors.

Governor Terry Branstad recently proclaimed June as Great Outdoors Month, encouraging all Iowans and visitors to step outside, enjoy the state’s scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, and renew their commitment to stewardship of Iowa’s natural resources.

“Getting outdoors promotes good health for both the mind and body, and helps create memorable experiences with family and friends” says DNR director Chuck Gipp. “Iowa has outstanding opportunities for safe and fun outdoor recreation.”

Studies show children average about 10 hours a day in front of a screen and many leading health organizations recommend outdoor recreation as a remedy to the adverse effects of this inactivity.  Great Outdoors Month is designed to focus on the importance of simple outdoor activity and appreciation of Iowa’s natural resources by promoting biking, swimming, hiking, paddling, fishing, hunting, boating, bird watching, camping and general nature exploration of our lakes, prairies, woodlands, rivers and wetlands.

The national economic impact of outdoor recreation exceeds $650 billion in annual expenditures, and in Iowa alone, outdoor recreation supports some 105,000 jobs.

“Enjoyment of the outdoors fosters a deeper appreciation of our natural resources,” says Gipp, “which eventually leads to better environmental stewardship. And no one understands this better than Iowans, who realize the direct relationship between natural resource conservation and the quality of life in our state.”

Great Outdoors Month allows us to celebrate the partnership of federal, state and local agencies, the recreation and tourism industries and recreationists which makes outdoor opportunities available. For ideas on what to do or where to go to enjoy Iowa’s great outdoors, www.iowadnr.gov; www.traveliowa.comor www.mycountyparks.com 

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