History of Hiking
Date Event Details
1933 Hiking was considered as a recreational activity the Forest Service’s annual Report of the Chief included hiking in its recreational usage reports (reported as "motorists, horsemen, hikers, etc."), its development as a recreational activity can be seen earlier in other aspects of American life, such as outing clubs and outdoor based programs for young people.
1863 First outdoor organization was founded The Alpine Club, founded in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Focused its activities in the mountains of New Hampshire.
1902 First outdoor youth program was established The Woodcraft League was the first outdoor-based programs for young people in the U.S. Founder Ernest Thompson Seton believed the best antidote to the problems of juvenile delinquency in the early 20th century was to teach boys the skills, lore, and law of the American Indians, whom he admired for their spiritual character and intimate knowledge of nature.
1906 The beginning of the Boy Scouts The success of the Woodcraft League gained the attention of an Englishman, Sir Robert Baden-Power. Baden-Powell was developing his own program for boys based on his experience training reconnaissance soldiers in the Boer War, and he enthusiastically combined Seton’s woodcraft ideals with his own curriculum and launched the Boy Scouts in 1906 in Britain. And four years later, the Boy Scouts of America was founded
1911 Several similar organizations for girls were founded Ernest Seton was also involved in the promotion of the "Camp Fire Girls," founded by his friends Luther and Charlotte Gulick. Based primarily on the Woodcraft League principles with the goal "to guide young people on their journey to self-discovery," Camp Fire Girls quickly grew in popularity and continues as an active organization today.
1950 - 1955 The recorded visitors to National Parks boomed According to the 1955 Report of the Chief, "Recreation use of the national forests increased from 27 million visits in 1950 to almost 46 million in 1955, an increase which is greater percentage-wise and in actual numbers than the population increase in the United States during the same period. Use has outgrown the facilities available." The report included a table showing the number of hiking and riding related visits to national forests had increased from over 634,000 in 1950 to over 1 million in 1955.