Summer will be here before we know it, making the coming months the perfect time to stretch those legs and embrace the tranquility of the great outdoors. Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise for a reason — not only is the landscape stunning but also the options for outdoor activities are endless.

I grew up in a desert so moving to an area of the country with trees and water was a welcome change. As my good friend Gerald (who lives in Las Vegas) said when he came for a visit, “it’s so alive here.” He’s right. Northwest Louisiana is alive. 

This issue is meant to inspire you to take a chance at outdoor adventure this summer and explore nature’s wonder. So here’s a challenge: pick a day (or a weekend, if you dare) to unplug and disappear into the woods. Go hiking, fishing or bird watching. Turn off the phone, be still and listen. You will be surprised at how refreshed and relaxed you feel. Just don’t forget the bug spray. 

We also dedicate May’s magazine to the locally owned businesses in the Shreveport-Bossier City community. Locally owned businesses are directly invested into the community and we should invest in them in return by shopping in their stores, eating at their restaurants or hiring their services. Consider this: if you spend $100 at a local business, nearly $68 remains in the local economy. If you spend the same amount at a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy (source: Civic Economics Study in Grand Rapids, Michigan). That’s a difference of $25 — which is enough to convince me where I should spend my money. Read more about these businesses in our annual Locally Owned section and hopefully, you too will realize the importance of supporting these incredible businesses.