Outdoor Adventures continue despite COVID pandemic

Students visit Porcupine Mountains on Labor Day of 2018 as part of a past outdoor adventure. Courtesy Photo | Aubrey Foldi

Outdoor Adventures will continue despite the pandemic, offering students the chance to explore the state of Michigan.

Aaron Mowen, the director of Campus Recreation, said three trips have been planned for the fall semester.

The first trip, planned for Sept. 25, was canceled due to low numbers, Mowen said. However, the next two trips already have enough students registered.

“In October, we will kayak down Platte River and hike the Sleeping Bear Dunes,” he said.

The trip to the dunes will run Oct. 9-11, costing $40. Students can register on the Campus Recreation website up until the Monday before the trip.

Mowen explained that, because of the Corona Virus pandemic, trips would be limited to campsites, which are more flexible with cancellations.

“(Closing registration) gives us time to cancel reservations,” he said. “We’re a lot more flexible with registration right now.”

The last trip of the semester, Nov. 13-15, will take students to International Dark Sky Park and costs $45.

“We’re keeping all trips in the Lower Peninsula this semester,” Mowen said. “That’ll keep it accessible to students despite COVID.”

Winter semester trips will include affordable adventures such as skiing and ice climbing, with larger trips planned for after spring break.

“For now, we have a lot of one day trips planned,” he said.

Unlike much of college life, Outdoor Adventures has gone relatively untouched by the pandemic, Mowen said.

“The only change was transportation,” he said. “Previously, I would get a 12-passenger van … but now students have to drive themselves. It’s easy to social distance in the forest.”

There are no requirements for attending, either in skill level or equipment.

“We provide all equipment, from the kayaks to camping gear, with the exception of personal items on the packing list,” he said. “We also have gear available for rent.”

Rental gear is sanitized after each use and is available to students between trips, as well.

Mowen said he hoped the trips give students the opportunity to learn outdoors.

“The purpose (of Outdoor Adventures) is to get students outdoors and to have them engage,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the teamwork and … the group dynamics.”

History fourth year Aubrey Foldi said her favorite Outdoor Adventure was
a backpacking trip through Porcupine Mountains in 2018.

“It was the first time I had ever back packed, so I was able to really challenge myself,” Foldi said. “It was a difficult weekend, but I felt so accomplished after completing my first backpacking trip.”

Going on a guided trip taught her nature etiquette like “Leave No Trace” and other camping tips, she said.

“Outdoor Adventures is for everyone,” she said. “It’s the perfect place to explore nature with short day trips to see if hiking, camping, backpacking, etc. is for you. The atmosphere is always super friendly, and so many great friendships have come from this program.”

Foldi said the Adventures program has been one of her favorite parts of SVSU and encourage students to join.

“(Outdoor Adventures) offers affordable trips and you definitely get what you pay for,” she said. “Don’t let any lack of experience deter you.”

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