Your Guide to Winter Adventure


Discussion / Blog

Amusement Parks
National Parks

Welcome to Outpost USA, your outdoor adventure planning website. We provide information and photos to help you plan one day, weekend or two week trips into the Great American Outdoors. We cover hiking, backpacking, canoeing, rafting, cycling, amusement parks, history sites and national parks. For each outdoor adventure we offer details on lodging, restaurants, trails, rivers, slopes, rides, beaches and lessons if needed.

The outdoor adventure sites we cover radiate out from Kentucky but include trips to all corners of the nation. We especially focus on planning for kids because while we want everybody to experience outdoor adventure, we think it is critically important that kids have the experience and we fear fewer and fewer of them have such opportunities.

Our site has a definite Kentucky, Ohio Valley, Midwestern flavor. 70% of our readers live in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana and another 20% live in states adjacent to those. So our routefinding directions start from there.

Unlike many web sites, we never evaluate anything we have not personally experienced, be it trails, rivers, slopes, rides, lodging, restaurants or beaches. And we return to these sites annually, to keep the information as up to date as possible. You will notice this is not one of those websites where readers are asked to post their own reviews. Our research says that while that is a quick and easy way for a site to create a lot of content in a hurry, it is not reliable. You don't know who the people are, and you never have a context for their opinions. The internet is filled with abuses, most particularly of restaurants and lodging, paying their employees bonuses to go to those sites and post very negative reviews of their rivals and glowing reviews of their own businesses. Here, you can get to know us, then read our reviews confident that we are very consistent in what we're looking for and what we dislike. For your opinions and new information we offer the Forum, a free flowing discussion.

We urge parents, schools, churches and Scout units to take kids to as many of these places as possible. In the global economy of the 21st Century, America is being challenged by cultures quite different than ours. If we are to survive those challenges and preserve our way of life, we have to know who we are. A large part of who we are is found at Plimouth Plantation, The Old North Church, Lexington Green, The Old North Bridge, Williamsburg, Washington, The Alamo, Tara, Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Laramie, Fort McHenry and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. If children are to grow up appreciating what it means to be American, they have to visit those sites. And they have to visit the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Hatteras Island, Yellowstone, the Boundary Waters, Mesa Verde and the Wind River Wilderness. It's more important to visit Plymouth and Boston than Disneyworld, more important to visit Hatteras Island and the Grand Canyon than Myrtle Beach and Fort Lauderdale. If it means we have to budget carefully or spend more time fundraising, so be it. We were handed a torch by the previous generation. This is how we pass it on.

Winter presents special challenges. Kids no longer have huge backyards with long hills where they can sledride, ski, or tube within sight of their own backporch. Towns and cities no longer block off hilly streets so kids can sledride safely in their neighborhoods. So now adults must transport kids to distant ski, sledding and tubing facilities. It requires more planning, takes more time, and costs money.

And in between those special trips, it's also important that kids get out in Nature in their own backyard. There are skiiable hills everywhere, and even small patches of woods or small hillside meadows are valuable. Richard Louv has documented in his now famous book Last Child In The Woods the critical importance Nature has to a child growing up. His research, and other studies done at Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Stanford show that about 80% of what we call Attention Deficit Disorder is really Nature Deficit Disorder. Because of working mothers, school cutbacks on field trips and recess, the decline of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the movement of families to big cities where kids cannot bike or walk to open country, they are being walled off from their own natural environment. And the results are showing up in detachment, obesity, underachievement, and various psychological disorders. So take your own kids outside, and take their friends along with you. In particular, Winter must not be reduced to a time of year during which kids sit inside on the couch and either watch TV, play video games, surf the internet or pretend they're doing something on their Wii, rather than actually doing it outside. We must get them back out there, where they can sledride, tube, ski, snowshoe, build snowmen and snow forts, wage snowball fights and generally revel in the snowy landscape.

We're also going to have to fight to preserve natural places. Budget cutbacks have slashed funds at local, state and national parks. Farmland is being suburbanized at an alarming rate. Such chores as trail maintenance, building repair and routine ranger duties are being shifted more and more to volunteers. Places we once took for granted, like the Red River Gorge and the Big South Fork, are always under the eye of timber, coal, oil and resort development companies. If we don't keep the pressure on our politicians, we will find ourselves outbid for these lands. And natural places are fragile. Once paved over, cleared off, dynamited, built up, flooded or bulldozed into the nearest valley, they are lost forever. The End Of Nature cannot be allowed to occur. If our kids are to vote for politicians who support Nature, and allocate money for it, we must take our kids to Nature and teach them not just to appreciate it, but to love it enough to fight for it.
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