NCEL Blog

NCEL Staff #OptOutside and #RecreateResponsibly

November 30, 2020

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Taylor Anderson
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On November 28, NCEL staff and members chose to #OptOutside. The #OptOutside movement was started by REI as a way to forgo the busy shopping practices of Black Friday, and encourage people to spend the day in nature.

2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for many reasons, and #OptOutside is a great reminder of the physical and mental benefits the outdoors has to offer. We also know that it is important to enjoy outdoor spaces safely. However you enjoy the outdoors this year, be sure to #RecreateResponsibly. Planning ahead, exploring locally, playing it safe, and practicing physical distancing are all great ways to enjoy the outdoors while ensuring the health and safety of all. Learn more about how to #RecreateResponsibly.

Below are highlights of how NCEL staff #OptOutside in some of their favorite locations:

When traveling around the country to meet with state legislators, Jeff always finds time to get outside, hike, and explore what each state has to offer. Here, Jeff took time to admire one of the many iconic sandstone arches at Arches National Park in Utah while avoiding large crowds, a great example of how to recreate responsibly.
Dylan and his dog Roo love to spend weekends hiking and running on Oregon’s many trails. Trail running has provided an incredible opportunity for Dylan to disconnect from technology and improve mental health during a challenging year in which so much time is spent inside in front of screens.
Rain or shine, Clara always feels better after walking her dogs in the lush and densely-packed woods of western Washington State. A Washington local, Clara finds that the forest and her dogs are great reminders to slow down and appreciate the small treasures nature has to offer.
It is difficult to predict where in the West Ruth may be enjoying the great outdoors on any given day, but here she is rafting on the Main Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. Despite the smoky haze from the unprecedented wildfires in Oregon and California, the fresh river air and occasional sighting of bighorn sheep kept her at peace as she flowed down the river.
Wherever he may be traveling, Michael sees it as vital to find time to get outdoors and enjoy nature for the sake of his well being. Originally from the vast, mountainous state of Colorado, Michael managed to find adequate green space to explore with his parents and dog, George, as they traveled through Chicago this year.
Among all of the outdoor activities Kate has taken part in over her lifetime, climbing and rappelling stand out as her favorite ways to enjoy nature. Here Kate is enjoying the climbing opportunities that t Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has to offer.
Yinka, a Maryland native, is always eager to hike and show others the many meandering waterways and abundant forests her home state has to offer. Here she is taking a break from a hike along a stream in Patapsco Valley State Park, an area she knows well enough to plan ahead and recreate responsibly.
Alayna always seeks out areas with bodies of water, as she is happiest when she can enjoy and submerge in the rivers, lakes, and oceans nature has to offer. A few years ago she got to enjoy the wonders of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. It remains one of her favorite spots!
Sal, a New York native and DC resident, knows just how difficult it can be to recreate responsibly in a city setting. But open green spaces and parks have been a haven for him to slow down, take his dog for a walk, and safely enjoy what nature has to offer.
For Taylor, originally from Georgia, taking walks through urban parks is an easy and convenient way to stay connected with nature while now living in a city. Pictured here, she gives herself and her dog some space from downtown at a city park in Cleveland, Ohio.
After a day outside, Dylan always feels fulfilled and grateful, especially during a difficult year such as this one. After hiking through Acadia National Park, he felt refreshed and thankful for the abundance of nature provided by public lands, and the local legislators that make it a priority to increase access to nature for all.
Ashley feels happiest with a full backpack. Enjoying a long hike on the Mount Porte Crayon Trail in West Virginia is one of her favorite ways to clear her mind. Ashley takes any opportunity she can to pack her car and leave the city for a weekend of hiking and camping.