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Outdoor Programs for Veterans: Public Land Policies and Practices to Support Therapeutic Opportunities

Many veterans returning from military deployment experience stress- or trauma-related symptoms
that make reintegration with civilian society difficult. Nature exposure and outdoor recreation can
be important parts of alternative and complementary approaches to reduce symptoms and build
on veterans’ pre-existing strengths. Multiple outdoor programs now exist for veterans; many of
these occur on federal public lands and present a variety of needs, opportunities, and challenges.
This paper relies on interviews (n = 36) with public land managers, program providers and participants, health professionals, and veterans to enhance understanding about outdoor programs for veterans (OPVs).