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In the words of Alexander Pope, hope springs eternal. Even with an ongoing pandemic, we can look to the beauty of the outdoors to witness nature’s promise that change will come.

And that promise of change is for everyone regardless of race, ability, city or rural, or economic status.

As we usher in spring, let the snow melting, birds chirping and buds bursting remind us of renewal and that with each sunset comes a new day to follow.

For many of you, I know Wisconsin’s famed winter wonderland can’t keep you indoors, yet for many more, new adventures await this spring.

Getting outdoors is great for the mind and body. But you don’t have to take my word for it. According to UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, nature is the best medicine.

Photo of Preston D. ColeMIKE GORSKIPreston D. Cole

In a recent episode of the DNR’s “Wild Wisconsin – Off the Record” podcast, Mirgain explains that nature is restorative and offers us something beyond what human connection can, adding that when we’re in nature we feel a sense of relief that can enhance our well-being.

We have something truly special here in Wisconsin, from acres of state parks, forests and wildlife areas to thousands of miles of rivers and streams, wetlands and Great Lakes shorelands.

Wisconsinites flocked to the outdoors during the pandemic and continue to do so. And we can do that because we have invested in public lands and public access to those lands for decades now as part of a broad bipartisan commitment, in large part with Knowles-Nelson Stewardship dollars. It is who we are as a state.

As you make your way through this issue, I hope you are inspired to try your luck at fishing this spring with our expanded fishing coverage, or perhaps learn something new about foraging for food. While you’re here, take some time and get to know our state’s first female chief state forester and discover the hard work we’re doing to get the lead out of water service lines.

From a profile on a Milwaukee tackle shop legend to a look at how the outdoors inspires state-based gear manufacturers to a mouth-watering recipe for morel mushrooms and asparagus, there’s something to learn for everyone.

Take this time to welcome your own personal spring and remember that Wisconsin’s trails, rivers and breathtaking vistas offer endless opportunities to unwind.

Let’s continue to carry that feeling of hope and enjoy Wisconsin’s outdoors this spring.