The Great Outdoors: A Vital Resource for Scenic Conservation
June 13, 2024
Image credit: Brian Smith

June has arrived and along with it comes Great Outdoors month.  As urban development and technological advancements continue to reshape the world around us, the importance of preserving the great outdoors cannot be overstated. Scenic conservation,  the practice of protecting and  enhancing the visual quality of natural and built environments, is crucial in maintaining the aesthetic, cultural, and ecological values that define our nation’s identity. At Scenic America, we believe that the great outdoors is not just a backdrop for our lives, but a vital natural and cultural resource that requires our vigilant stewardship.

The Aesthetic Value of Natural Landscapes

Natural landscapes offer a visual sanctuary, providing a stark  contrast to the often chaotic and crowded urban environments of many towns and cities. Majestic mountains, rolling prairies, serene lakes, and dense forests create a tapestry of beauty that inspires and rejuvenates  us all. The aesthetic value of these landscapes is immeasurable. Our outdoor spaces serve as the muse for countless artists, the subject of innumerable photographs, and the backdrop for cherished memories.

Scenic conservation ensures that these natural vistas remain unspoiled by unsightly developments and environmental degradation. By maintaining the visual integrity of these areas, we preserve their ability to uplift and inspire future generations  to do the same.

Cultural and Historical Significance

The great outdoors is deeply intertwined with our cultural and historical heritage. Indigenous peoples, early settlers, and pioneers have all left their marks on these landscapes, which are imbued with stories and traditions. National parks and protected areas often serve as living museums, where the history of human interaction with nature is preserved and celebrated.

Scenic conservation helps safeguard these cultural landmarks from the encroachment of modern infrastructure and commercial exploitation. By protecting the scenic quality of these areas, we honor the legacy of those who came before us and ensure that their stories remain an integral part of our national narrative. Preservation of our nation’s most reassured wilderness has given us the opportunity to look back on the historical significance of these spaces while enjoying the same scenery as those who came before us.

Ecological Importance

Beyond their visual and cultural significance, natural landscapes play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance. Forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems provide habitat for countless species, contribute to clean air and water, and help mitigate the rapid and increasing  effects of climate change. Scenic conservation and ecological preservation go hand in hand;  protecting the beauty of our natural environments often involves safeguarding their ecological health.

Efforts to conserve scenic areas contribute to biodiversity, support sustainable land management practices, and promote environmental resilience. By prioritizing the preservation of visually stunning and ecologically vital areas, we ensure that these landscapes can continue to thrive and support life in all its forms for years and generations to come.

Economic Benefits

The economic benefits of scenic conservation are substantial. Natural beauty attracts tourism, which supports local economies and generates revenue for communities. Outdoor recreation, such as hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing, provides both direct and indirect economic benefits, creating jobs and stimulating investment in rural and urban areas alike.

Moreover, scenic conservation has been shown to enhance  property values and improve  quality of life, making any given community a more attractive place to live and work. By investing in the preservation of our natural landscapes, we invest in the long-term economic health and prosperity of our nation.

A Call to Action

The great outdoors is a precious resource that belongs to all of us. As stewards of this land, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve its scenic beauty for future generations. Scenic America is committed to advocating for policies and practices that promote scenic conservation and raise awareness about the importance of the natural world.

We call on individuals, communities, and policymakers to join us in this vital mission. Together, we can ensure that the breathtaking landscapes that define our nation remain unspoiled and accessible to all. Prioritizing scenic conservation honors our heritage, protects our environment, and preserves the beauty of the great outdoors for generations to come.

In the words of environmentalist John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”