Greens warn climate change could ruin 'outdoor' experience

Climate change is making ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy more prevalent, jeopardizing the outdoor experience, according to a new report.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) warns in a report released Tuesday that changes in weather patterns are also increasing the number of invasive pests that potentially carry diseases, or can harm those seeking to enjoy the outdoors.

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"The climate crisis is really impacting the outdoor American experience," said Colin O'Mara, president of NWF. "When you talk to hunters, anglers, canoers, everyone on the ground will tell you things are changing."

The report, titled "Ticked Off," highlights specific insects that are migrating to more areas and impacting more people and wildlife due to changing weather patterns such as drawn out winters, or earlier spring cycles.

Tiger mosquitoes are expected to emerge earlier in spring because of global warming, according to the report, which will lead to increased numbers every year.

Additionally deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease, are expected to be more widespread. Venomous fire ants, which benefit from warmer temperatures, are spreading northward across Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia, the report states.

The conservation group hopes to steer the climate change conversation away from just polar bears and glaciers, O'Mara said.

O'Mara said the report is meant to reach hunters, fishers and all lovers of the outdoors. He also hopes it will help "depoliticize" climate change. 

"[What] we are trying to do is make sure that we are localizing the problem so instead of fighting over polar bears and things we hear on the extreme right, we are focusing on things people are seeing in their own backyards,” he said.