How inaction on climate change threatens skiing and public lands recreation

Whether it is in the sun or the snow, climate change is impacting your recreation on public lands

Tyler McIntosh
Westwise

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All smiles in the freshies, Silverton CO | Connor McKeen Productions

A crisp mountain sunrise. The rush of the wind in your face and clean air filling your lungs. Deep powder days in the winter or water flowing down a canyon. Our public lands are for everyone, and outdoor recreation is one of the most popular ways to enjoy them. In the West, public lands see over 290 million visits each year: maybe you’re one of them.

But did you know that inaction on climate change is already threatening public lands recreation?

Mounting climate change impacts can be felt across the country. Just a few of those impacts include decreased snowpack and ski season length, lengthened and more intense wildfire seasons that create poor air quality, challenges to wildlife and fish populations, and decreased water recreation access. It gets worse: research shows that many of our public lands are being impacted more rapidly than the rest of the country.

Below, explore how climate change is impacting various outdoor recreation activities on public lands, and take a look at how our public lands can also be part of the climate change solution.

Climate change and snowsports factsheet
Click the image to download the Climate Change & Snowsports fact sheet

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For references, see links embedded in fact sheets.

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Tyler McIntosh
Westwise

Conservation Policy & Research Manager | Center for Western Priorities | Denver, CO