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The evolution and impact of the #RecreateResponsibly Movement

In May of 2020, just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic and weeks after most of the United States and world were under “shelter-in-place” mandates, people were craving outdoor experiences. Many public lands and natural spaces’ facilities were closed, but remained accessible and people were heading outside during an unprecedented and unpredictable time. Representatives from REI Co-op, the Outdoor Alliance, and the Washington Trails Association convened outdoor industry, conservation, and land management experts to address concerns and opportunities that accompanied increased visitation to natural spaces and the Recreate Responsibly Coalition and Campaign was born. 


The message to the public via coalition partners was clear and succinct. It has since grown and adapted to guidance and best practices beyond circumstances surrounding the pandemic; to include all facets of responsible recreation and shared stewardship. 


  • Convened over 1,300 coalition partners  including government agencies, businesses, non-profits and others — into one national coalition and numerous state coalitions unified by the need to help people recreate responsibly.

  • Shared a set of simple and actionable guidelines that generated billions of impressions and taught people simple tips for how to recreate responsibly during a global health emergency.

  • Created toolkits and other resources to support messaging for coalition partners, amplifying the message of creating community and consciousness in the outdoors.


As circumstances around the pandemic evolved, the need to keep people safe outdoors only grew given record visitation to public lands and waters. The coalition’s messaging has evolved to address these changes, but the goals – to keep people, places, and communities safe – remains the same.


Recreate Responsibly

Coalition formed and campaign launched

Winter Edition Launched

Wildfire Edition Launched

Off-Road Edition Launched

Create Responsibly 


Water Safety Edition Launched

Chapters formed and Steering Committee Established

Mission & Vision established

#RecreateResponsibly hits 4B impressions

RR Federal Working Group forms

For the Love Of Campaign launches

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