National Get Outdoors Day slims down


Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Crosse) (Mark Crosse/Associated Press)

The fourth annual National Get Outdoors Day, scheduled this year on Saturday, June 9, aims to get kids — and adults — out to parks and forests to hike, fish, pitch a tent and learn about nature at sites across the country.

The event, a person who had been involved in the program told us, was also seen as a way to fight child obesity by getting kids off their keesters and on the move.

It’s a public-private sponsorship by federal, state and local government agencies as well as the recreation industry. A Bush administration official told us relevant government officials were “endlessly flogged” to make sure a pilot effort of the event was a success.

In 2009 events were held at 63 sites in various parks and recreation areas nationwide. There were 91 events in 2010 and it grew to 117 last year, according to the organization’s Web site, www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org.

But the Web site this year lists only 70 events. In prior years there were events in Anacostia Park, a couple in Maryland and at least one in Virginia. This year there are none listed in the District or in Virginia and only one in Maryland, out on the Eastern Shore.

This decline comes despite the Obama administration’s energetic campaign, led by First Lady Michelle Obama, to get people to focus on healthy food and exercise.

Well, one reason for the large falloff may be that the focus now is on an “outdoors month,” a U.S. Forest Service spokesman tells us, so “National Get Outdoors Day is just one of the days in June with events aimed at getting Americans” out and enjoying.

Or maybe it’s all those video games?

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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