Outdoor recreation is commonly seen as a form of escapism from the modern world. The opportunity to disappear into the wilderness is one of the major attractions that draws large numbers of people into participating in these types of activities. To escape from modern day technology is a major attraction of the activity. It is therefore interesting that technological developments have made outdoor recreation even more appealing and accessible to people. People find that they can access certain areas with far greater ease and when they participate in certain activities they can do so in a far safer environment. Just the basic improvement in transport networks has made certain area easier to access. The building of roads in certain areas of the world has meant that people can travel further into a certain area.
The building of the Alaskan highway in 1942 opened up great areas of the Canadian Rockies so that man could go and explore. The construction of the road causes many great difficulties, and it was an engineering feat to be able to successfully complete the project. In mountainous areas hill walkers and rock climbers have been able to take advantage of the building of lift systems for the ski areas. Previously these areas have now been un-accessible as it has been impossible to scale the initial slopes.
The advancements made in the clothes and shoes worn by people participating in recreations in the wild has been huge. Previously people would rely on wool, cotton and leather to stay dry and warm. As well as being heavy, they caused the body to sweat which caused moisture, so people were getting wet and the freezing conditions that people were entering, were producing life threatening situations. The introduction of Gore-Tex in 1970 has resulted in clothes being made that as well as being lightweight, are able to release moisture while at the same time being able to stop outside water entering through to the body. Waterproof and breathable clothes are now worn by all people who enter the wilderness.
The same major advancements have been made with foot wear. Today the shoes are lighter, have more grip, are water proof and are able to breath. The combination of these factors has resulted in more environments can be safely explored by greater numbers of people. The development of the Global Positioning System has made entering the wilderness a far safer experience. People now are able to use satellites through a radio to get an exact location of where they are in relation to the surrounding area.
This is most important when stuck is a vast area of water as it is so easy to lose complete track of one’s position as the skyline can look exactly the same on a 360-degree radius. People can even track their location through the use of their cell phone which can also be used to call for help.
There has also been advancement in designs of all types of boats, gliders and other craft. Snowmobiles and off-road vehicles mean that it is possible to travel a great deal further than previously. The designs of boats hulls have improved so they can travel faster, and the shape of glider planes has been modified over the years to ensure that the plane can stay in the air for longer periods of time.
There have even been improvements in nutrition so people who stay out in the wilderness for long periods of time are able to replenish energy levels far quicker. Energy drinks, plus foods that successfully replace lost nutrients, are carefully planned and packed for those going on adventures. The one danger is that people can feel that they are now invincible and do not pay proper respect to the environment they are entering. It is essential people do not enter the outdoors with a deceptive “bubble of safety” as modern technology at times will break down, and that is when it is essential to have other plans in place.