Governor Terry Branstad recently proclaimed June as Great Outdoors Month, encouraging all Iowans and visitors to take the time to enjoy the state’s recreational opportunities, take in its scenic beauty and make a commitment to stewardship of our natural resources.
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.
“Iowa has outstanding opportunities for safe, fun outdoor recreation,” says DNR Director Chuck Gipp, “and getting outdoors promotes good health and helps create lasting memories with friends and family.”
The economic impact of outdoor recreation nationally exceeds $650 billion in annual expenditures, and in Iowa, it supports an estimated 105,000 jobs.
Iowa’s parks, forests and wildlife areas reflect the state’s natural and cultural history and attract millions of recreationists each year. Iowa’s state parks alone expect to host more than 900,000 overnight stays and nearly 15 million day visits this year.
“Enjoyment of Iowa’s outdoors allows us to celebrate the commitment of our state to conserve and protect our air, water, wildlife and lands,” says Gipp, “and also contribute to conservation efforts through various licenses and fees. Iowans understand, as well as anyone, the direct relationship between natural resource conservation and the quality of life in our state.”