Yes, the art of using a map and compass is quickly vanishing, whilst forays into the wilderness areas are increasing.

Since it is a given that people will go out into the woods regardless of their orienteering abilities, and since we are now a gadget society, it is a reasonable recommendation that people with little or no traditional navigation skills and subsequently no mindset for how to stay un-lost in the big woods ought to be advised to at least invest in something. The alternative view that without a GPS they would then resort to learning the proper skills or not venturing forth is unrealistic. People are going to do this because they don't know any better, overestimate their abilities, and are just plain lazy. A GPS can be considered the instant gratification answer to remaining un-lost. It is not a panacea, and is not being recommended as such. It is a tool capable of compensating for a certain amount of stuipidity on the part of the would-be adventurer so that if they do make an error or two in judgement, they will at least have one more very simple method of correcting the error on their own.

Simply put, you are not going to have any significant measure of success beyond what we already experience trying to convince regular folk that proper orienteering skills and abilities are necessary for their survival. The effort required to affect that sort of change is disproportionate to the desired outcome. You stand a far greater chance of advocating that regular folks at least equip themselves with something readily available, reasonably economical, and fairly reliable, that they will be able to more or less intuitively operate with a modicum of learning.

Doug's recommendation of carrying a GPS is germaine, practical, and likely to do far more good than harm, not that he needs my endorsement in any way. Will some people still have problems getting lost in the woods despite his advice? Well, I remember a quote from the movie "Cool Hand Luke" about a failure to communicate. Anyone who is living in such a social vacuum that they still don't get that the big woods can be a dangerous place despite all the publicity, will continue to be part of the "statistics".
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)