The pandemic may be in retreat, but our newfound love of nature continues to grow via outdoor sports. Hankering for a new hobby? Here’s how and where to start.

Outdoor sports like fishing have been on the rise since the pandemic. / Photography by Steve Boyle

Many of us, after various periods of lockdown and working from home, really began to appreciate the outdoors (beyond the patches of concrete behind our rowhomes). We traveled outside the city and found green spaces inside the city, too, discovering and rediscovering peaceful places of refuge in close range. A Penn State study shows that nearly half of U.S. adults now participate in outdoor recreation on at least a monthly basis — and 20 percent of respondents indicated they’re new to it.

In Pennsylvania, outdoor sports like hunting and fishing are on the rise — no surprise to those familiar with our abundance of state forests (more than 2.2 million acres!), plentiful sporting-goods stores (the multibillion-dollar Dick’s chain is headquartered near Pittsburgh), and profusion of wildlife (about 30 deer per square mile, the second highest concentration in the country). If you’re new to the sporting life — or wondering how to get started — we’ve got what you need to take your first steps. — Edited by Erica Moody

bird watching

A great blue heron at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

Did you hear? Birding is cool now. Spot hundreds of avian friends with this low-pressure pastime. Read more …


Nate McMynne rides a 2014 Can-Am Renegade 500 at Lost Trails ATV Park in Dunmore, where he works on trail patrol. For visitors without an off-road vehicle, the park provides ATVs and helmets to those taking its guided tours.

The country life doesn’t have to mean a slower pace. Rev through the outdoors on an epic ATV excursion. Read more …


A fly fisherman casts a line in Neshaminy Creek at Langhorne’s Playwicki Park

Angling for adventure? Get hooked by visiting an ocean or stream near you. (We’ve got plenty of ’em.) Read more …


Retired outdoor-marketing specialist Kevin Talbot, who lives in Media, hunts on a private farm in Delaware County.

The crisp weather is ideal for this early-riser sport that helps maintain healthy forests. Read more …

 

Published as “Call of the Wild” in the November 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.