Hoosiers Urged to Enjoy Great Outdoors Throughout July

Hoosiers are being encouraged to venture beyond their homes and offices this month, and head into the state’s outdoors during National Park and Recreation Month, running throughout July.

Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship with Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs, says there are more than 32 state parks across Indiana for people to enjoy. Despite the summer heat, she hopes residents will get outside for some family time, exercise, and to explore the state’s natural settings. 

“Summer is a good time to learn about and appreciate the incredible natural resources we have available to us in this country,” says Murphy. “Summer is also a good time to learn about our cultural resources. There’s a lot of history tied to our state parks and our reservoirs.”

A recent study shows about 30 percent of Americans don’t spend any time outdoors on a daily basis. The same study found that even those who manage to get outdoors are typically there for less than 30 minutes per day.

Murphy says there’s something for almost everyone at Indiana’s state parks, including swimming, fishing, hiking and camping. For those who aren’t used to spending time in the outdoors and don’t really know where to start, she suggests taking a short day trip – and asking for help.

“Pack a picnic lunch, plop down and enjoy being outdoors,” says Murphy. “Maybe take a short hike. Stop in the park office, stop in the nature center and ask questions and get to know people. They are the experts and can tell you all the good things to see and do.”

Lauren Hoffman, director of marketing and communications with the National Recreation and Park Association, says the hope is that promoting outdoor activity in July will help people develop and enjoy the benefits of a more active lifestyle all year long.

“There are various studies showing parks and outdoor time can really help improve your mental health and reduce stress,” says Hoffman. “Parks and recreation provide the opportunity to get outside and get physically active.”

Hoffman says another major challenge to getting young people and adults outdoors is so many are glued to their smart phones and tablets.

She encourages contacting your local parks and recreation department to learn more about the programs and services offered in your area.

Mary Kuhlman