In Our View: Pandemic reinforces need for conservation

September 9, 2021

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, outdoor recreation has helped keep us from going stir crazy. While trying to avoid gathering indoors or spending time with friends and family, a walk in the woods provided a respite.

“There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well-being,” Lisa Nisbet, a psychologist at Trent University in Canada, told the American Psychological Association last year for an article about the outdoors and mental health. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”

That is a quantifiable way to gauge increased outdoors activity. And it represents Washington residents’ thirst for such recreation. Licensing, along with the Discover Pass that provides access to state-owned lands, accounts for a large chunk of the WDFW budget, allowing the department to protect and preserve Washington’s wildlife and ecosystems.

“We have to be very deliberate and serious with how we plan and manage outdoor recreation,” said Jon Snyder, a policy adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee. “It’s a must-have if your mental health and physical health depends on it.”

Read the full article here. This article originally appeared in The Columbian.