Programming Nighttime Activities in Outdoor Adventure Programs


  • J. Adam Becco Clemson University


The current study sought to understand how the participant's experience of guided night hiking could be used as a resource for outdoor recreation programming. Many parks, outdoor recreation programs, and other interpretative services are offering nighttime programs for participants, such as star gazing, kayaking, and night hikes (Beeco, 2008; Smith & Hallo, 2011). This may be due to the use of night as one of the remaining frontiers in recreational experiences (Melbin, 1978). As Melbin (1978) suggests with his urban study, placidity with day activities can led to an interest in exploring the utility of night. For example, trekking into the night may provide a different experience for the hiker who has already found the summit on all of their local trails. Programming during these later, less visited hours can provide unique conditions different than traditional daytime experiences (Beeco, Hallo, Baldwin, and McGuire, in press). Specifically, nighttime recreation activities might offer increased challenge, risk, or a sense of solitude. Furthermore, these programs may also attract participants that believe they are competent daytime adventurers, but are intimidated by recreating at night. Nighttime recreation could also provide opportunities to see or hear nocturnal wildlife such as lightening bugs or owls.