Experience the Outdoors launched in 2022 as a way to improve awareness of, and to boost equity, inclusivity and accessibility in, park programs. Part of the Board of Supervisors State of the County Address, it's an action plan for regional recreation.
The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation hosts hundreds of free activities every year, from ranger-led hikes and interpretive programs to nature crafts, wilderness workshops, animal education and volunteer programs. Activities are designed to expose people to the beauty and benefits of nature while providing opportunities to socialize, exercise, learn something new, and build personal confidence in the outdoors.
These activities are built for all San Diegans, but, historically, attendance has not demographically represented the greater San Diego County population. That’s why a programs like Experience the Outdoors are so integral to our success as public ambassadors.
In its inaugural year, more than 14,000 people participated in over 80 Experience the Outdoors activities to include Ride On Mountain Biking Challenges, Parks 101: First Timer Series workshops, a First-Time Camping Program, Women in the Wild events, and a Rad Regional Parks series. Visitation at the County’s regional parks jumped 12 percent and the department’s social media following continued to climb steadily across all 19 accounts - reflecting greater in and awareness of activity promotions.
In general, results show more people are getting outside and being active in our parks. We are on the right track, however, we still have long way to go to provide park experiences for all.
New in 2023 will be an increase in virtual offerings, mobile park experiences and expanded introductory workshops on wilderness-based topics. Schedules are being developed and will be announced this summer.
To stay in the know: