Human beings are happier, healthier and more productive when we are active in nature.

In pursuit of the greatest quality of life, we uprooted from rural origins. We traded the constant toil of carving and collecting a subsistence from the wild woods and waters for the promise of parity and pay provided by the growing might of our urban environments.

From an evolutionary perspective, the massive shift of mankind from rural to urban populations is spontaneous and unfamiliar to the human experience. In the haste to hustle a better future within our built environments we left behind a powerfully satisfying ritual experience; physical activity in nature.


The rise of urban environments must include outside adventure, within city limits.

As our global population increases, we meet the rising demand for jobs, homes, schools and security with the rapid expansion of urban areas. Urban planners around the world commit themselves to providing the greatest possible quality of life to their city’s inhabitants. In too many cases, providing opportunities to recreate in natural wilderness areas are sacrificed, relegated to distant parks and preserves, miles from the heart of the city where it is missed the most.

As urban infrastructure expands, these places become scarce, contained and incredibly special spaces in our built environments: the forest beyond the fence, the river below the bridge, the cave beneath the pavement.

Our urban wilds.


 Cities that wish to claim health, happiness and productivity must prioritize outdoor recreation opportunities in planning and policy.

Consider this. Outdoor recreation as an urban planning strategy for public health, social equity, and economic development.

Urban wilds are not consolation for the lack of true wilderness experiences. They are distinct and valuable in their own right. Confrontations are not with weather extremes, natural disasters or big critters. Instead one encounters and must reconcile the differences that meet in these shared spaces; the diversity of user group perspectives, questions of when to convert the environment and when to preserve it,  the actions of the past against plans for the future.

Our cities are impressive achievements. They are growing, and worthy of pride. By experiencing and appreciating every inch of our surroundings – what we’ve built, what we’ve protected and those we share it with – we are better able to create urban environments worth celebrating.


 MSP is the nearest to an urban-wild ideal.

Minneapolis and St. Paul is a leading example of a major metropolitan city prioritizing a balanced urban and natural recreation playground.

Geographic location, passionate user communities and supportive policymakers have given rise to a champion for the outdoor centric city. Situated at the confluence of The Mighty Mississippi and The Muddy Minnesota rivers, sprinkled with chains of lakes, a handful of climbing areas and threaded with enough miles of trails to wear the tread of any boot or bike tire – this major metro has begun to position itself as the urban outdoor recreation capital of the world.

Already, recognition has been received through national awards for greatest park system#1 bike city and America’s fittest metropolitan area.

Our greatest strength – of mixed urban and natural amenities, aligns powerfully with the top attributes attracting young talent to cities around the world. We must continue to craft our image around our vibrant, adventurous user communities, outdoor recreation inclusive development and the integration of active outdoor lifestyles into our everyday urban existence.

MSP is poised to become the Urban Outdoor Adventure Capital.
Let’s own it.
urban wild magazine

Flavoring the MSP brand with stories of outside adventure within city limits.

These words, sounds and images are an editorial mission to demonstrate the power of natural spaces to create healthier, happier and more productive cities.

Read the Stories

u.w. adventure society

Sharing the secrets of MSPs hidden natural sanctuaries.

Subscription to this newsletter grants access to an archive of adventure guides that ease and incentivize participation in the outdoor recreation community.

Join the Society

institute for urban wilds

Exploring ideas for the expansion of MSP outdoor recreation infrastructure.

The research of this think tank supports policy and planning that foster the growth of a world class collection of urban outdoor recreation venues.

Share the Vision

I’m Joe Jackson.

selfportraitI’m a homegrown outdoor recreation enthusiast and young professional in the outdoor industry.  I’ve got a camera, a canine companion, and a growing collection of stories that celebrate the magic of outdoor adventure experiences in our urban wilds.

I’m a cultural floater. More interested in the stories of local outdoor tribes than my own adventure achievements, my goal with this project is to capture the excitement of the urban wild lifestyle and pass it on to you.

Just the right mix of steward and scofflaw – I’ll continue to navigate the recreation establishment collecting the latest insights and push boundaries, accepting the risks necessary to bring you tales from the less accessible.

 I believe in the power of these natural places.

They are an exceedingly important requirement for designing cities that can successfully deliver health and happiness.

We need to protect and expand our natural recreation spaces within city limits.

We need to increase participation in our passionate outdoor communities.

We need to further integrate an active outdoor lifestyle into our every day urban existence.

#GTFO and # Keep MSP Wild