We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healthy outdoor activity, conserving our vital natural resources, and providing volunteer opportunities.
Educate – At Go Outdoors USA, we are engaged in public education through the use of multi-media, web, and social media. We believe the best education comes from doing so we seek out opportunities to provide hands-on learning experiences to both our volunteers and the general public.
Empower – Through ongoing training, certification, and collaboration with other organizations, Go Outdoors USA empowers our volunteers to have an impact on environmental issues.
Engage – Go Outdoors USA has regularly scheduled volunteer workdays and training opportunities. We challenge ourselves and others to get engaged and make a difference. Join us in our pursuit.
Overall Health of an Area
At Go Outdoors USA, we believe that the key to effective conservation is to examine the overall health of an area in our forests. At Three Forks and Dicks Creek areas, we are tackling many elements that work together to contribute to the overall environmental health of these two places. We believe this big-picture approach will maintain the beauty of these areas for future generations.
At Three Forks and Dicks Creek, we have implemented many plans that help conserve these areas. By monitoring the overall success our actions, we will develop a blueprint that can be implemented in other forest areas. The goal of this blueprint is to provide direction in how to maintain and improve other suffering areas. By emphasizing the importance of targeting key problems, treating them, and monitoring them, our blueprint will be customizable to specific places.
Reducing Human Impact
Often, a major problem in publicly used areas of the forest is human impact, which can lead to a severe litter problem, erosion, and wildlife habituation. Go Outdoors seeks to foster public awareness about how to reduce human impact, to help people enjoy our forests in a responsible way.
In addition to creating awareness, Go Outdoors hosts work days where volunteers work to reduce human impact. We do this in many ways:
- Litter pick-up
- Campsite segregation – Often in dispersed camping areas, like Three Forks and Dicks Creek, camping and parking areas are not clearly marked or designated. This can lead to camping and parking in spots where damage is done to the forest. At Go Outdoors, we hope to better designate camping areas to help prevent this by numerous projects, such as numbering and mapping sites or restricting vehicle access to areas prone to damage.
- Special project implementation – Often highly specific projects are needed in an area to help reduce a problem faced in the area. These projects range from constructing a informational kiosk, building a set of stairs, providing wildlife-safe food storage, and numerous other projects.
By establishing a regular volunteer presence in an area, Go Outdoors USA believes we can encourage and educate visitors to the forest on the importance of enjoying the forest in a responsible and healthy way.
Water Quality Monitoring
Water quality monitoring is an essential part of maintaining the overall health of a area. The quality of water in streams affects both the water itself and the overall habitat.
Go Outdoors USA volunteers trained with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and were certified to monitor water quality. In Dicks Creek and Three Forks, we will regularly monitor water quality to obtain baseline data. Regular monitor helps us determine whether a stream is healthy and alert us to any changes that may mean stream health is failing.
Hemlock trees are a vital part of the the ecosystem of North Georgia, as well as adding much to the beauty that characterizes our forests. Infested with a foreign pest called the hemlock woolly adelgid, eastern hemlocks are dying out at an ever increasing rate, creating a severe threat to the forest ecosystem.
Go Outdoors USA now partners with Save Ga Hemlocks to treat hundreds of trees in the Three Forks area, an area hit hard by the woolly adelgid infestation. We will treat and monitor the health of both treated and untreated hemlocks on a regular basis.
For more information, visit our Save the Hemlocks page.
Hikers, campers, and visitors in our forests often improperly store or dispose of food and garbage, which may lead wildlife to associate human presence with food. Once an animal has become habituated, it may become a danger to humans. This problem is completely preventable.
Go Outdoors USA is engaged in the education of hikers and campers on proper food storage and disposal. We are creating resources to educate hikers and campers and have scheduled public education events. We hope to install wildlife-safe storage in heavily used forest areas.
For more information, visit our Wildlife Habituation page.
A Cumulative Effect
Many of the problems Go Outdoors USA targets interrelate; thus, to manage one issue, others must be managed as well. The following examples illustrate this concept:
- Hemlocks often grow along streams, helping to prevent stream erosion and keeping the streams cool. If hemlocks die out, streams may face erosion and warming. Many of the animals, including trout, living in North Georgia streams will not be able to live in these waters anymore. To protect and maintain stream health, hemlocks need to be protected as well.
- Wildlife habituation is directly tied to the reduction of human impact, including trash clean-up and public awareness.
- Campers, hikers, and visitors often access stream and river banks in ways that lead to erosion and plant-life destruction. Increasing public awareness about responsible stream access, as well as designating access points, may help reduce negative human impact on stream health.
Importance of Training
Go Outdoors USA, with the aid of other groups, engages in regular volunteer training sessions, such as hemlock treatment and water quality monitoring. As many of our targeted issues related to one another, we feel its especially important to give our volunteers a wide range of skills and knowledge to help us effectively combat the problems facing our forests.