Happy National Forest Week! To celebrate, we asked the National Forest Foundation (NFF) staff what this year’s theme, Forest Mode, looks like in their life. Here is what they said.

What Does Forest Mode Mean to You?

Rock Climbing! - Luke in Arizona

Rock climbing and exploring off trail. - Trevor in Arizona

Getting away from technology and connecting with nature - hiking, backpacking, and camping are my favorite ways to enter Forest Mode. I also enjoy the challenges of filtering water, setting up camp, and living simply while tuning into the sights and sounds of the forest. - Sarah in Florida

Spending time out on the trail, looking at cool native plants and discovering what's beyond the next turn. - Jack in Colorado

At Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, we don't have your typical forest, but we do have miles of trails perfect for exploring wildflowers and wildlife. To me, Forest Mode means indulging in the beautiful sites, scents, and sounds all around me. They inspire a peaceful, yet fully alive feeling. - Brittney in Illinois

Hiking, camping, climbing, and skiing in Colorado and Washington. Getting outside resets my mindset and helps me stay motivated in my weekly responsibilities. - Anonymous

Kayaking, skiing, mountain biking, or running with my dog, binoculars, hammock, or yoga mat in a vibrant, healthy National Forest. No phone, no news cycle, no bank account balance, no crowds, just Forest Mode. - Dan in California

Decompressing! Relaxing by a river, walking down a trail with my dogs. Total relaxation and restoration. - Mindy in Idaho

When I activate Forest Mode, the natural world saturates with vibrant greens, earthen browns, and sun-basted golds. I empty frivolous trinkets from my pockets and burrow my toes into the loose stone, soil, and pinecones. Even when mired in five o'clock traffic, once I activate Forest Mode, our consumeristic world vanishes, and nature claims its throne. - Jacob in Montana

Getting away from the busy city and constant phone notifications. When I'm in the forest, I feel a new energy, like I'm recharging. When I was a kid, I always wanted to live in the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh. I've never lost that childlike wonder of exploring the world around me with the sun peaking through the trees while the birds sing. - Christina in California

Being present in the physical space around you and being attentive to your relationship with that land. - Ben in Colorado

Spending quality time together outside with my family - whether that's taking our dog to walk around Monroe Lake in the Hoosier National Forest or sitting on our porch to relax and enjoy the fresh air. It means letting go of stress by enjoying nature and being in the moment. - Danielle in Indiana

I feel like Forest Mode is a state of mind. I want to receive constant reminders to be in Forest Mode because forests are calming for me. - Melissa in Pennsylvania

Packing the truck and camper and heading to any one of the surrounding forests! Usually to climb, hike, fish, or a quick bike ride. Forest Mode means trying to get away from the crowds and find solitude in the mountains, streams, or forests. - Mannie in New Mexico

Forest Mode is similar to the Do Not Disturb mode on my phone, but for my time spent in forests. In addition to shutting everything else off for a moment, Forest Mode means serenity: feeling the breeze, hearing the birds, seeing the wilderness, and smelling the fresh air. - Rebecca in New Jersey

Exploring the sounds, sights, smells, and feel of a forested area. This interaction can be accomplished by yourself or with friends. I often activate Forest Mode by going on hikes or foraging for mushrooms. - Caio in Arizonia

The Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota where the meadow lark sings over the hills, the coyotes howl, and the night sky goes on forever. - Cheryl in Texas

Solace. - Anonymous

A chance to care for my physical and mental health, to directly experience ecological systems and their beauty, and explore challenging terrains. - Matt in Nevada

The chance to connect with the Forest. Anytime that I get to hike, backpack, picnic, climb, or just exist on our public lands is my way of activating Forest Mode! - Jillian in Oregon

Immersing myself in my surroundings and finding feelings of peace and humility. - Emily in Montana

Connecting with the ecological and human communities around me. - Anonymous

Turning off all notifications and hitting the trail! - Jessica in Maine

When I enter Forest Mode, life is simpler. I can focus on the sounds of the water bubbling and the birds chirping. Forest Mode means I'm present outside and only thinking about my next step in the woods. - Hannah in Montana

Putting together a playlist of my current favorite songs and going out for a walk and some forest bathing. Time to slow down and connect with nature through music. - Abby in Missouri

Finding flow through immersive activity. Riding bikes, running, fishing, skiing, and climbing are all things I enjoy doing on National Forests. They require focus, and I often find myself in the flow when I am out recreating on National Forests. - Liam in Virginia

Enjoying the outdoors to support my mental and physical health. And of course, it means working through the NFF to improve our National Forests & Grasslands - and the waters, wildlife, and lands that we all depend on! - Emily O. in Colorado

Losing cell service, letting the battery die, and taking in the sounds and smells and sights of the forest IRL. - Jane in Montana

A chance to pause and appreciate the cultural, natural and ecological inheritance of our National Forests. - Luke in Tennesse

Diving into a sea of trees! - Cindy in California

Forest Mode is a mindset and an activity. When I engage in walking, camping, biking, or climbing in the forest, I shift my mindset to be more present and engaged in the moment, and away from the bustle and needs of everyday life. - Sara in California

Getting the kids off their Ipads, reminding them that they ACTUALLY have more fun in nature than at home, then HITTING THE ROAD!!! - Carina in Texas

Turning off technology, checking out, and being amongst nature. - Anonymous

Being in unplugged natural spaces. This could be in the front country, backcountry, and even urban forest settings. - Anonymous

Taking a deep breath and smelling warm fir trees or spring cottonwoods. - Kerry in Montana

Relaxing at a remote campsite. Seeing the beautiful views. Kayaking on a river through forests. - Amanda in Montana

Turning off the day to day distractions, stresses, and mental clutter and turning on rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It's quality time with people, connecting with nature, encouraging curiosity, and being inspired. - Jeny in Arizona

Intentional and mindful connection with nature. It's taking a moment to appreciate the marvels of our Forests and being present to all its benefits! - Kaitlin in Arizona

Opening my senses to the natural world. The sound of aspen leaves fluttering in the breeze, birdsong, and flowing water. Feeling the sun on my face or a chill in my fingers. The scent of pine needles on a warm day or a meadow in midsummer. Gazing up at the sun dappling through a forest canopy or across a sweeping mountain vista. And of course, taking deep breaths of clean, fresh air. - Jamie in Colorado

I think for me, while often related to an activity, Forest Mode is a mindset. It's the place I go when I need to escape from the everyday. Conveniently, as a forester, I can sometimes engage this mindset while I am at work. Days spent in the wood are easy to get through as I can completely shift my focus to the woods. It is also the mindset I adopt while hunting, fishing, or backpacking. It's when I feel the most in tune with the woods. It's a state of listening and thinking. Forest Mode represents the idea that I can detach from the rest of the world and, for a time, enter a space where the only thing that matters is my relationship with the land. - Anonymous

Join the conversation and share your Forest Mode with #NationalForestWeek. Looking for other ways to celebrate? Nationalforestweek.org has everything you need to know about events, the photo contest, and other ways to get involved!

Cover photo by iStock.com/mapodile.


Every day, the NFF works to help make our forests – and the experiences people have on them – relevant to ALL Americans. We tell stories, highlight historical contributions of all peoples, explore forgotten legacies, and much more. This growing part of our mission requires unrestricted support from people like you. Will you join us today? It’s easy: just click here and offer your support. We thank you!

National Forest Foundation