I can't remember the details, but I was reading a history of lyme disease, and it noted that on the east coast there were some pretty major changes that have partially led up to the increase in tick populations there.
I believe one was the east coast forests growing back, expanding, with their deer, and with human residences now increasingly existing right at the edges of these forested areas. In other words, suburbs, to translate that. So that puts deer, a key part of the tick life cycle, in closer proximity to human populations than was the case before. Add in that human fondness for planting perfect deer food in their yards, and you have a formula for a lot more tick/human interaction.
There's also, I believe, a lengthening of the non snow/cold season due to global warming, ie, a longer active season for ticks. Temperature changes are much more extreme the further north you go, so I could easily see tick populations rising / changing dramatically as a result of the warming climate.
I wish I could remember the full details, but that wasn't why I was reading that book so those parts I don't remember that well, but it was something along those lines.
Particularly on the east coast, but also sadly in expanding areas everywhere else, lyme is very prevalent, and is certainly no joke. However, ticks don't jump, so it seems like walking on trails would be helpful, whereas bushwacking is going to invite a lot of ticks. I believe dogs get lyme, by the way.
Sweden, to put matters into some perpective, is seeing a roughly 0.5% annual infection rate with lyme in its population now. It's got a lot of woods, forest, and their people like to go do outdoor's stuff. Big problem with ticks in Scandinavia too, the media there runs front page articles on ticks and lyme now every season I think, it's a pretty major issue in terms of public health. The USA is almost certainly seeing a major underreporting of lyme and other tick borne disease infections due to how our almost non existent health care system works currently, along with some other less savory factors.
These are deer ticks however, not sure if that's the ticks are you are talking about, they are the tiny ones, dot or sesame seed sized, depending on their age. Small ticks carry higher rates of lyme and other co-infections, and are harder to see.
personally, I'd rather eat slugs for breakfast and dinner for a month than get lyme. Sauteed they shouldn't be that bad.