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CMU Outdoor Program celebrates new facility and expanded role in community

Director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry visits facility

On Friday May 10, 2019, Colorado Director of Outdoor Recreation Industry, Nathan Fey, toured the CMU Outdoor Program's new facility. When Outdoor Program (OP) Director Ryan Dutch was asked why students received the high profile visit his answer was clear.

"Colorado Mesa University is the 'best in the west' when it comes to location and outdoor access," said Dutch. "I believe Mr. Fey sees the same potential we do when it comes to CMU and our role in the outdoor recreation industry's future." 

CMU’s campus offers proximity to a large and diverse repertoire of outdoor experiences. According to Dutch, one of the best in the nation.  

“Colorado Mesa University is perfectly triangulated between the high alpine peaks of the San Juan Mountains, the canyon country of the Uncompahgre uplift and the high desert plateaus of northwestern Colorado,” said Dutch. “From mountain biking, skiing and river rafting to archery, marksmanship and ice-climbing CMU and western Colorado have it all when it comes to outdoor recreation.” 

While any number of colleges and universities lay claim to outdoor experiences, the geography of CMU speaks for itself in terms of reinforcing the unique attributes reflected in CMU’s outdoor program and its new location on campus. 

The university campus with its Outdoor Program facility is located just 15 minutes from the world-class mountain biking systems of the greater grand valley area. Outdoor Magazine recently tested cycling equipment in the area and according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the magazine’s test director Aaron Gully said “the riding in Grand Junction is as good in Fruita as it is in Moab, Utah, if not better.” 

For those preferring other activities, the CMU Outdoor Program is less than an hour drive to the Grand Mesa, which boasts nearly 400 lakes where students can learn to camp, fish, hike, bike, snowmobile, snow-shoe and cross country ski all within a short drive from campus. 

Students interested in archery, angling and other sportsmen activities can explore the high plateaus of the Piceance Basin where remoteness and biodiversity are tremendous. 

CMU student Ivann Garcia-Dickerson said that the new location allows the OP to reach so many more students and community members, and allows a focus on teaching safe and proper ways to get outside. 

“In addition to being accessible and sustainable, what university can say that they are less than two hours from Aspen, Telluride, Moab, Ouray, Vail, Glenwood and many other world famous destinations? No matter which way you turn, world-class options are just outside the back door of CMU," said Dickerson.

The new facility was selected to improve public access and to complement increased public offerings. CMU President Tim Foster explained that the OP is meant to serve students while also acting as an outdoor orientation facility and rental option for the larger community. 

“The OP allows CMU students to share their experiences, knowledge and equipment with people in the community,” said Foster. “The new facility is highly accessible for western Colorado outdoor enthusiasts from all levels of experience and from all walks of life. People who want to rent mountaineering, camping or rafting gear as well as tools for nearly countless other outdoor recreational experiences will appreciate what the new OP has to offer.” 

The CMU Outdoor Program’s community equipment rental program includes backpacking, boating, camping, climbing, snow sports and gear for a litany of other activities. 

Many members of the local outdoor recreation coalition were on-hand to celebrate the grand opening on Wednesday, May 8. 

“This facility promotes the values and ethos of outdoor recreation while training the next generation of recreationist to practice the safe and responsible skills necessary to sustain outdoor life in the future,” said coalition member and CMU supporter Sarah Schrader. 

For more information on the OP and to view available gear visit the OP website. Outdoor enthusiasts who have ideas for additional activities or who are interested in supporting the OP are encouraged to contact the CMU Foundation.

  • OP Director Ryan Dutch and his staff helped cut the ribbon at the grand opening

    OP Director Ryan Dutch and his staff helped cut the ribbon at the grand opening.

  • President Foster and Sarah Shrader help OP staff cut the ribbon

    President Foster and Sarah Shrader help OP staff cut the ribbon.

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Written by David Ludlam