During National Park Week, April 20-28, 2019, the Partnership for the National Trails System encouraged people to take a break from social media and explore the outdoors instead.
Those who joined PNTS in the pledge to “get off the web and into the wild” substituted their time online for healthier habits, such as going for a walk each day, visiting new parks or sites, cooking meals from scratch, and enjoying neglected hobbies.
For example, equestrian blogger Merri Melde shared that on the same day she took the PNTS pledge, she and her horse, Hillbillie Willie, had a “fabulous National Geographic moment.” While riding on the Tower Trail ridge in Idaho, they “surprised a herd of eight mule deer in a fold of the hills below us,” recounting the riveting experience on her blog.
PNTS staff members Chelsea Bodamer and Samantha Haas also opted to disconnect from social media during their respective travels that weekend.
Samantha left wet Wisconsin for arid Arizona to reunite with some of her closest friends from college. Aside from using their phones for navigation, taking photos, and checking in with family, they had no trouble filling their weekend conversing, reading books, and hiking to see hummingbirds at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in the Huachuca Mountains. “Instead of fidgeting through apps on my phone when there was downtime, I was focused on being fully present in the moment,” she said. “Now that I’m back to my daily routine, the challenge will be remembering how freeing it felt to not be constantly clicking or scrolling.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea was in New York for the International Trails Symposium. Her week off of the web and into the wild took her to the top of Cascade Peak in the Adirondack Mountains and for a wintery paddle in Lower Lake Saranac. She found herself in a new group of fellow adventurers. Building new relationships was a fun and rewarding endeavor without the distraction of social media.
What did you do on your social media break? Share your story using #getoffthewebandintothewild or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.