For the past 15 years, the Outdoor Foundation has been sharing the latest findings on outdoor recreation through its annual Outdoor Participation Trends Report.

The latest report tells a story of both growth and opportunity in outdoor participation. As explained in their newest feature, the report shows that 164.2 million Americans, or 54 percent of the population, participated in outdoor recreation at least once in 2021 — the highest number ever recorded.

One area that the report dives into? The long lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred the highest-ever growth in outdoor participation. It also took a real toll on children and their families, a subject explored in this week’s guest column by Mark Yearwood, who writes, “The wild, open spaces of nature, with its solace, wonder and mystery, can heal.”