A remote and rugged destination, a trip to American Prairie Reserve is similar to a visit to a wildlife refuge, not a developed national park. Visitors find more game trails than hiking, biking, and birding trails, and the former offers just as many inspiring views and opportunities to see wildlife, wildflowers, and other natural treasures.
While recreation infrastructure like trails and campgrounds will be added as the Reserve grows, today's travelers can still find plenty to see and do during their time here. And one activity well-suited to the pace and scale of the prairie is called land snorkeling.
According to the Land Snorkel website:
Land snorkeling is taking the time to savor aspects of nature we ordinarily don’t see or pay attention to. Land snorkelers wander through nature with no intention of hiking to a destination. One contemplates what we find in nature and explores every possible connection with all parts of our natural world.
Each blade of grass, rock, or creature has some connection to us. We ask questions looking at nature and find out what that connection might be – we develop our cognitive and abstract muscles to solve the problem. We have fun doing it. It helps us to think. Our imagination and creativity is enhanced and richens our lives in a healthy and productive way. It’s free and it’s fun.
The land snorkel concept was developed by artists Clyde Aspevig and Carol Guzman. Clyde is a long-time Reserve board member and Carol serves on our National Council. In a 2009 article in Montana Quarterly by Scott McMillan, Clyde says, “Appreciating landscape translates into being actively involved in landscape and trying to preserve what’s left."
We couldn't agree more.
Get Started With Land Snorkeling
One of the best parts of land snorkeling is that it doesn't require specific equipment, a special location, or even a set time commitment. Here are some tips for slowly enjoying nature with all of your senses:
- How to conduct your own soundwalk (Nature Conservancy Canada)
- A Guided Practice of Being Mindful in Nature (Children & Nature Network)
- 11 Fun Ideas for Exploring Nature with Kids (ParentMap)
- 4 Lessons I Learned From Hiking Aimlessly (The Outbound Collective)
- Hiking by the Light of the Moon (Wanderlust)
You can also see land snorkeling in action in this video with Ellen Anderson (jump to 0:46).