UO outdoor program offers students a springtime adventure every weekend

The Outdoor Program is hosting several spring student-led outings every weekend this term. These trips are aimed toward beginners as far as expertise in the outdoors goes, and are relatively cheap (the most expensive upcoming trip is $25).

Spring season outings include water-based activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, floating and biking. Last Sunday the program held an outing where students explored tide pools along the coast, just north of Florence.

Nick Sander, Outdoor Program bike mechanic, and Lucy Scholz, Outdoor Program rental manager, are two of the trip initiators who lead these outings.

“What’s so cool about our program is that it could be driving to Mexico or going to Spencer Butte or it could be walking to Hendrick’s Park,” Sander said. “There are so many possibilities. We can do a lot, and it’s student driven.”

Sam Stroich, the assistant director of the Outdoor Program, said the purpose of the Outdoor Program, and these outings, is to build community. “We foster community and people who come together on these trips create friendship,” Stroich said.

The Outdoor Program provides transportation for the outings, and can usually take 10 people, however events that are popular (like the tide pool outing) warrant two vans so twice as many people can attend.

Some of Stroich’s favorite trips have been waterfall hikes and McKenzie River hikes that lead to Belknap hot springs. “The best part of this is showing people amazing places that they can go back to on their own easily,” Stroich said.

The Outdoor Program also holds other events and some during the summer. Other events include film showings, talks, bike repair sessions, mountain bike and kayak lessons and gear swaps.

“Our role is to say ‘how do we get people outside?’ and ‘how do we show and expose them to what they can do outdoors easily?’ ” Stroich said.

Upcoming events that aren’t whole day trips include a “Friday Bike Adventure” on April 27 and the Outdoor Program Barn Dance on April 20.

Stroich said the reason the University of Oregon has the Outdoor Program is because Eugene is the perfect combination of city and outdoors.

Some local outdoor adventures in town and easily accessible that Stroich recommends every student visits are Goodman Creek, Fern Ridge Reservoir, McKenzie River Trail and Spencer Butte.

For students who feel like the rain makes it difficult to go outside some days, Stroich says that when wearing the right clothes and shoes, riding a bike on the protected bike lanes and river paths can pull you out of a rainy day mood.

A list of the outdoor programs events and trips can be found here.

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