Outdoor News December 29, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News December 29, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News December 29, 2017

Idaho Grants Available

On Wednesday, the Idaho Recreation and Tourism Initiative (IRTI) announced that it is sponsoring a grants program to encourage outdoor Idahoactivities for youth. The Be Outside, Idaho Children In Nature grants program is in its second year. IRTI will be accepting applications from schools, governmental entities, and nonprofits for programs that encourage outdoor recreation and natural resource education.

IRTI Coordinator Rick Just said, “Last year we awarded 11 grants for environmental monitoring, school tours of outdoor facilities, and equipment such as binoculars.”

Applications are available at www.idahoirti.org. The grant deadline is February 15. Recipients will be notified by March 1.

The IRTI partners include the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Department of Transportation, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Commerce, Bureau of Reclamation, Friends of Idaho State Parks, National Park Service, Idaho Recreation and Parks Association, Friends of Idaho State Parks, and the Idaho RV Campground Association.

Saratoga National Park 100 Mile Challenge

Join the National Park Service to celebrate Healthy Parks Healthy People by participating in the 100 mile winter challenge along the trails within Saratoga National Historical Park – participants are able to cross country ski, snowshoe, hike, or bike to complete the challenge. Keep track of miles you’ve 100 Mile Challenge - Saratoga NHPaccumulated in the park and when you reach that magic number – 100 – you will earn a special prize that places you in that elite group of wilderness pedestrians. The winter challenge takes place January 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018.

Be sure to check out the 2018 Calendar of Events for guided hikes and rides. Like spontaneity? Follow the Park on Facebook and Twitter – when the weather’s nice, they might just suggest an activity!

To register for the challenge,  e-mail the Park with a list of all participants (dogs included). Call (518-670-2982) or message the Park on Facebook or Twitter for more information. They will be sending out monthly posts and tweets to advertise guided walks and you can share your hikes or rides with them via your favorite mobile hiking or riding app on their Facebook page – #SARA100mi.


Lake Quinault Land Purchase

On Wednesday,  the National Park Trust announced that it wants to preserve a 0.5 acre parcel on Lake Quinault near Washington’s Olympic National Park.  The Trust says that although the area is small in size, it is big in ecological significance.

Lake QuinaultThe parcel is surrounded on three sides by Olympic National Park and Forest. It is the only parcel in that block that does not belong to the National Park Service. It is adjacent to Grandley Creek on the north side of the lake.  The acquisition will keep it in its natural state by preventing further development along that portion of the stream and it will protect water quality for the Quinault River.  The lake and river system support populations of sockeye, chum and Chinook salmon as well as steelhead, bull and Dolly Varden trout. The Quinault National Fish Hatchery, downstream from the lake, raises salmon and steelhead which populate the river.

In order to acquire this land, the Trust needs to raise $45,000 to purchase the property and donate it back to the park. Click here to learn more about this project or contact Maryann Kearns, director of development, at 301.279.7275 ext. 15. Or click here to donate to the project today.


Outdoors at Scott Air Force Base

A Wednesday release from Scott Air Force Base in Illinois highlights the importance of outdoor recreation to health and how military families can participate.  Here’s the story by Airman 1st Class Tara Stetler of  the 375th Air Mobility Wing:

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 28% of Americans over the age of six are physically inactive. With many students and employees confined to a desk each day, active leisure time has become a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle in the United States today.

underground kayakingFor military members and their families, this is where Outdoor Recreation (ODR) steps in. ODR hosts trips nearly every weekend, and these trips help the base community stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

Some of their more regular trips include underground kayaking (Photo by Airman 1st Class Tara Stetler), horseback riding, skydiving and paintball. Jess Petot, ODR aid at Scott, is responsible for planning and executing the trips. Most weekends, Petot can be found driving a busload of people out to the latest ODR adventure.

She said that having grown up in Southern Illinois, she likes to use the trips to show people that “it’s not flat and boring out here.” “People come [to Scott], and they think it’s going to be boring,” said Petot. “They think, ‘This isn’t a good post, there’s not anything to do here.’ They’re wrong. But unless they know what to look for, they’re never going to find those things. I promise there are more exciting things to do around here. It’s there, it’s available. I’ll help you find it.”

One of the area’s hidden gems is an abandoned, flooded sandstone mine in Crystal City, Missouri, where ODR hosts the underground kayaking trip each month.  “It’s so quiet,” said Petot. “Everybody wears a headlamp; that’s the only light source when you get down there. When the water clears out, you can see 40 feet down to the floor. It’s so peaceful. It’s just absolutely amazing.”

Staff Sgt. John Marrs, 375th Medical Support Squadron medical laboratory technician, went on the September kayaking trip. “It’s something that we can still talk and joke about at work now, having gone as a work group,” said Marrs. “It’s therapeutic in that you can get out of the house or dorms and meet new people. It’s also a good release to try new things you might not normally do.”

ODR director Janice Turner also speaks of the therapeutic value of the trips.  “It boosts morale. When you do a rock climbing trip, I’ve seen people who were doing it who were probably scared, but by the time they were done they felt like they were lifted and did something amazing. It boosts your adrenaline, but it also boosts your confidence.”  This release is especially important to military families dealing with the stress of deployment. Turner herself was first introduced to ODR when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008.

“I wanted to stay busy, so Outdoor Rec became my place to go,” said Turner. “I was going there all the time. Before you knew it, I became that regular customer. Before you knew it, they wanted to hire me, and then here I am today.”  Whether it’s alleviating stress in a military family or helping an Airman find exciting things to do in the local area, ODR trips have something to offer for everyone at Scott.

Outdoor Recreation Degrees in WA

Washington’s Big Tent Outdoor Recreation Coalition says that state Senator Kevin Ranker is interested in expanding outdoor recreation credentials at higher education institutions in Washington state. He has taken Washington Statenote of the efforts of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry to establish degree programs, and he would like to do something similar in Washington.

Currently only Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University offer outdoor recreation degrees. As he begins to develop legislation, Senator Ranker would like to hear from industry leaders on what kind of talent pipeline would benefit them.

Although Senator Ranker will be out of town for the holidays, he would appreciate your time and input on a conference call with staff to discuss potential legislation. If you have something to offer the conversation,  join the call on January 2nd from 1 – 2 pm (Pacific Time). Here are the call in details:

Phone number: 1-877-820-7831
Passcode: 5727119


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Video of the Week

Yes,  underground kayaking is a thing. Add narrow corridors,  low ceilings, and darkness to the challenges of kayaking and you get the idea.  This week’s video follows kayakers through a two-mile cave created by the Chontalcoatlan River in southern Mexico.

This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
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