As the calendar flips to the new year, the all-too-familiar mantra of “new year, new you” reverberates in the air. Instead of succumbing to the pressure of creating huge goals, a better way to kick off the new year is to make more achievable resolutions that connect us to nature. This is the opportune moment to step outside your comfort zone and nurture healthy habits for 2024. Here are some small steps you can take this year! 

Immerse yourself in the outdoors. Make a commitment this year to spend more time outside. Challenge yourself to explore new hiking trails, discover biking routes, or embark on nature walks in your local area and beyond. You’d be surprised how many secret scenic spots you can find. We recommend documenting your outdoor journey, too! Keep a journal or start a blog to reflect on your time spent outside and preserve your memories. 

Practice mindfulness in nature. Beyond the lens of a camera, find solace in mindfulness amidst the great outdoors. Whether it’s meditating by a babbling brook, immersing yourself in the rustling leaves of a forest, or simply being present during a breathtaking sunset, unplugging and connecting with nature offers unparalleled benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. We recommend spending a night under the stars! Whether it’s planning a camping trip away from the city lights or setting up a cozy campsite in your backyard, it’s a humbling experience, allowing you to appreciate the vastness of the universe and your place within it. 

Embrace adventure. Consider trying something new! Whether it’s the thrill of rock climbing, the serenity of kayaking, or the adrenaline rush of a zip-lining adventure, these outdoor activities not only offer excitement but also contribute to building confidence and resilience. If extreme activities are not your forte, we recommend taking up a new outdoor skill, such as bird-watching or learning wilderness survival techniques. By exploring these alternatives, you not only open doors to new interests but also contribute to a diverse and rewarding outdoor experience. 

Help protect parks. Become an advocate for the ongoing preservation of our nation’s parks this year! From trail maintenance to wildlife habitat protection to educating future generations, protecting our public lands and waters heavily relies on crucial support from people like you. Whether through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or actively participating in conservation initiatives, our collective efforts can make a significant impact. By supporting park organizations (like National Park Trust!), we become stewards of these natural treasures, enhancing the overall experience for present and future generations.

Did you know that there are six days in 2024 when the entrance fees to National Park sites are waived? If there’s one that’s on your bucket list, these are the times to go:

🌳Jan. 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

🌳April 20: First day of National Park Week

🌳June 19: Juneteenth National Independence Day

🌳Aug. 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act

🌳Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day

🌳Nov. 11: Veterans Day

As you welcome the new year, let the outdoors be your playground for growth and exploration. Embrace the beauty of nature as you strive towards fulfilling your resolutions and embracing new experiences. Here’s to an exciting 2024 filled with meaningful outdoor adventures!