Last updated: 10:46 AM ET, Tue October 11 2016

Is Climate Change Affecting How We Play Outdoors?

Features & Advice | Janeen Christoff | October 11, 2016

Is Climate Change Affecting How We Play Outdoors?

PHOTO: Temperatures and dust are climbing in Moab. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)  

Have you noticed that your favorite winter playgrounds don’t get as much snow or that rivers you used to play in aren’t as full? That’s only the beginning of how global warming and climate change will be affecting our outdoor playgrounds over the coming years, decades and millennia, according to a report in Outside Magazine

“We’re mountain biking into November, and it feels like we’re spring skiing all winter long,” Ray Rasker, a 30-year Bozeman resident and executive director of Headwaters Economics, a research firm that has extensively studied the intersection of climate change and recreation, tells Outside. 

Outside used climate predictions from and to analyze five different popular outdoor destinations in the west. 

In Jackson Hole, Wyo., the rising snow/rain level is a concern. 

“Jackson Hole’s somewhat northerly latitude may provide a bit of a buffer compared to ski areas to the south,” Kelli Archie, a lecturer at the Climate Change Research Institute in New Zealand who has studied how mountain communities are adapting to climate change, tells Outside. “But lower-elevation ski areas are automatically at higher risk for seeing less snow and more rain.”

Mountain biking in Moab, is popular from mid-September until early spring when temperatures are more tolerable — but in addition to rising temperatures, the region has dust to contend with. 

Moab’s slickrock is not about to crumble, but the warmer, drier, hazier days could trigger changes in how and when people ride,” says Outside. 

 READ MORE: Climate Change Threatens the World’s Most Iconic Sights  

Whitewater rafting seasons are also getting shorter in drought-stricken regions such as the Truckee River. 

“As a boater, you can’t do much more than hope it rains—or better yet, hope it snows. Then hope the snowpack doesn’t all melt at once,” says Outside. 

For more ways in which climate change is or will be affecting your outdoor playgrounds, read on here


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