Outdoor News June 15, 2018 - Explore! Outdoor News June 15, 2018 - Explore!

Outdoor News June 15, 2018

Rhino Dry Bag Backpack

On Monday, Rhino USA announced the release of their new waterproof, dry bag, backpack. The quality of outdoor-related products and accessories on the market today can vary greatly. This becomes a serious issue when it comes to real adventure – where poorly made gear can create headaches. Enter California-based power sports brand Rhino USA, a team devoted to their passion for the outdoors, with a chief aim of delivering the highest quality gear to the world. The new backpack is designed to be the perfect companion for adventure in even the harshest and wettest of conditions. It is especially suited for canoeing and kayaking when a portage is in the plan.

Rhino Dry Bag Backpack“We use a unique high heat press and weld technology which make the Rhino Dry Bag durable enough for even the most rugged adventures,” commented Cameron Repic, from the company. “Gear will stay safe and keep dry from water, sand, dust, dirt and snow; really just about anything a person is likely or even unlikely to face against nature’s elements!”
According to Rhino USA, the 100% waterproof dry bag backpack is built to the industry’s highest quality standards. It’s both extremely light and even floats if dropped in water, is ergonomically designed to distribute its weight in as comfortable and unobtrusive a way as possible and comes complete with a double diamond stitched viewing window for easy view of your belongings.

The bag itself varies in 5 different sizes, giving it lots of room for all kinds of adventure needs and is available in XXL (40L), XL (20L), LRG (10L), MEDIUM (5L) and SM (2L).

As an important part of the Rhino USA mission, a portion of each sale goes towards charities such as Wounded Warrior Project, ASPCA & St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital.

The company is happy to make the Rhino USA Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack available on Amazon.com for their customer’s added convenience.

The bag comes with a “No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty.”  A recent customer remarked, in a five-star review, “We took our Rhino Dry Bag on a short 4 hour trip down the Platte River in Nebraska. We dumped our kayak but our Rhino Dry Bag kept all our gear water free! When I first opened my Rhino Dry Bag from the packaging it just felt like a well made, quality product and it did not disappoint.“

New at Oregon Office of Outdoor Rec

Last Friday,  Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) announced that it has hired Cailin O’Brien-Feeney as the first head of the Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation. The Office is a new unit inside the agency, created by legislation signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in 2017.

Cailin O'brien-FeeneyThe Office’s purpose is to elevate outdoor recreation in every corner of the state. By collaborating across boundaries with local, state, and federal agencies, plus nonprofits and recreation-dependent businesses, the Office will develop and promote policies, legislation, and management practices that improve access, encourage public participation, and protect natural resources.

O’Brien-Feeney holds an Environmental Studies undergraduate degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon and an Environmental Science graduate degree from the University of Idaho. He’s worked in the recreation field for 15 years, including stints with the US Forest Service and as a river guide in Idaho, and has been the State and Local Policy Manager for the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) since 2015. The OIA is a national trade group, and under his leadership, Cailin’s worked with governors, legislators, and agencies across the country to improve access to outdoor recreation opportunities, encourage strategies that increase economic benefits, and promoted establishment of Offices of Outdoor Recreation in other states. He will start work in Oregon in late June.

“We’re happy Cailin agreed to come back to Oregon and work with the team focusing on improving outdoor recreation here,” says Lisa Sumption, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department director. “There’s a strong community in place that will benefit from his policy leadership as we work to make the benefits of outdoor recreation available to every Oregonian.”

The 2017 Oregon legislation creating the Office inside OPRD, House Bill 3350, sprang from the Outdoor Recreation Initiative convened by Travel Oregon, and was supported by a coalition of nonprofits and businesses like the Mazamas, American Whitewater, and REI, among others.

Finding Recreation in Minnesota

On Tuesday, the State of Minnesota announced the launch of a new online tool to help outdoor recreationists find amenities at Minnesota’s parks and trails. The Minnesota Great Outdoors website allows people planning to visit parks and trails – both regional and state-owned – to easily filter their search based on location, accessibility, camping amenities, lodging, interpretive programming, rental equipment availability, and landscape features, among other interests.

Minnesota Great Outdoors Website“Consolidating geospatial information that exists in dozens or hundreds of places into a single website makes it easier for Minnesotans to find the outdoor options that might be just beyond their back door, or near a favorite destination,” said Minnesota IT Services Commissioner Johanna Clyborne. “This is our mission: to work in partnership with agencies, sharing expertise and data that provides full, rich experiences for Minnesotans.”

Users accessing the Minnesota Great Outdoors site can:

  • Search for parks and trails by name
  • Pan and zoom across a map of Minnesota to find parks and trails
  • Drop a pin on a specific location to compare parks and trails without losing track of what you’ve seen
  • Use search filters to come up with a list of parks and trails with specific amenities

“Previously, you would have to know which office or region managed the park or trail you were looking for. Now, you have a clear, easy-to-navigate launchpad to find all of the information you need to plan your trip,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “By bridging technology with Minnesota’s beautiful parks and trails, we aim to make it even easier for people to connect with the bountiful outdoor opportunities available in our state.”

While this website does not include information about national or city parks and trails, it provides in-depth information about state and regional parks that is helpful to Minnesotans and visitors in all corners of the state, during all times of the year. The website’s search filters even break out trails by use, indicating trails that are best for hiking, off-highway vehicles, snowmobiles, and bicycles. To date, the Minnesota Great Outdoors site includes more than 184 parks and 419 trails.

“This new site will help connect even the most casual parks and trails visitors with the great outdoor recreational opportunities available in greater Minnesota,” said Renee Mattson, Executive Director of Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. “It’s the perfect ‘first-stop’ for information when planning out a trip to a new area or region.”

This new mobile-friendly site was made possible by the Minnesota Legacy Parks and Trails Fund, and it shows all state and regional parks and trails that are eligible to receive Legacy funding.

While the online map is now fully public, work continues to add additional information about Minnesota’s state and regional parks and trails, particularly related to recreational activities and the locations of these opportunities.

NRPA Announces Awards

On Wednesday, the National Park and Recreation Association announced the recipients of its  NRPA Innovation Awards and NRPA Spotlight Awards. The awards will be presented at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference, Sept. 25–27, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where NRPA will announce the winner of its Best in Innovation Award, which recognizes the best of the best in park and recreation innovation.

NRPA LogoNew this year, NRPA Innovation Awards recognize park and recreation agencies nationwide that have improved and empowered their communities through innovative practices in park design, health and wellness, conservation and social equity. The recipient

  • Innovation in Health Award: Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, Alhambra, California
  • Innovation in Conservation Award: Forest Preserves of Cook County, River Forest, Illinois
  • Innovation in Social Equity Award:  Chicago Park District, Chicago, Illinois
  • Innovation in Park Design Award: Town of Glastonbury, Glastonbury, Connecticut

The winners of each of these categories will face off in a public vote for the Best in Innovation Award. NRPA members and the public are encouraged to vote between June 25–29 at www.nrpa.org/Innovation-Awards.

“NRPA is proud to recognize innovation in parks and recreation with these awards,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Congratulations to this year’s winners who have demonstrated their commitment to building better communities through innovative park and recreation practices.”

NRPA Spotlight Awards are presented to individuals to honor their efforts — both professional and personal — in the field of parks and recreation. NRPA is proud to recognize these individuals with the following awards:    

  • Robert M. Artz Advocate Award: Nixon Adams, chair, board of commissioners, Recreation District #1, Pelican Park, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana
  • Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award: Jeff Ozimek, outdoor adventure programming manager, Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, Bainbridge Island, Washington 
  • RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity: Becky Tuttle, director of community development/chair, Greater Wichita YMCA/Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas
  • National Distinguished Professional Award: Michael Klitzing, chief operating officer, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, Carmel, Indiana
  • Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research: Andrew Mowen, professor, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

“On behalf of the entire awards committee, I want to congratulate this year’s award winners,” said Cindi Wight, chair of the NRPA Awards Committee. “Their positive contributions to the field of parks and recreation will make a difference in the communities they serve and beyond.”  


Outdoor Stewardship Guide

The Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Coalition says, "Building stewardship awareness by strengthening and expanding volunteer opportunities through a collaborative and scaled Stewardship Guidenetwork of Outdoor Stewardship Organizations (OSOs) will provide Colorado with the opportunity to forge an effective model for heightened outdoor stewardship. OSOs can offer quality assurance and reliability to public land manager partners when they are equipped with effective volunteer and project management tools and, equally as importantly, provide direct and impactful experiences for residents and visitors alike to ensure Colorado’s great outdoors are protected, conserved, and sustained."

Toward the end of encouraging and enhancing such organizations,  the coalition recently published the Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Best Practices Guide.  The guide defines “volunteer outdoor stewardship” as: the act of conserving and protecting Colorado’s lands and waters, as well as constructing and maintaining the facilities and infrastructure used by people to enjoy the outdoors.

The guide includes four main elements of effective volunteer stewardship: 

  • Volunteer Management offers suggested practices to ensure successful volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition so volunteers can be effectively involved and sustained. 
  • Working with Land Managers provides suggested practices and information to ensure quality land management partnerships, inclusive of understanding volunteer and partnership agreements. 
  • Safety and Risk Management establishes important guidelines to help your group or organization plan for and mitigate potential risks inherent in volunteer engagement and project work. 
  • Data and Impact Reporting offers data collection tools and metrics that lend themselves to better impact reporting to improve organizational effectiveness, garner new partnerships, and strengthen financial resources. 

Whether you work with an outdoor stewardship organization or want to create one or are a public land manager looking for volunteers,  this guide can help get your program together, regardless of which state you are in.  The guide may be downloaded from the Coalition's website.

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Video of the Week

In this week's video, you'll learn about the ethos of canoeing and, particularly, the Canadian cultural connection to this great activity.  Whether you want to canoe for recreation or competitively, you will get a glimpse of what it takes and how canoeing can get embedded in your psyche.  You may also want to check out a canoe story on EXPLORE!

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