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Gearing up

The Outdoor Program’s new location has more space, additional gear and easier community access

From leading a canyoneering trip in Zion National Park to ice climbing in Ouray and surfing in California — the Outdoor Program (OP) has impacted biology major Alexandrea Bryant’s experience at CMU and complimented her studies.

“It’s a great program to build not only outdoor skills and outdoor recreational ideas, but it also teaches you how to be a leader and how to work with people with different personality types,” said Bryant.

The OP offers over 60 weekend trips and 100 weekly day trips throughout the academic year, which are each led by student trip initiators like Bryant. Each trip she has led or been on requires proper gear and weeks of planning before hitting the slopes, water or road.

 The OP has over 3,000 pieces of gear and equipment,
which community members can rent.

The program has evolved — and grown — throughout the years, so much that they outgrew the building they were housed in next to the Residence Life offices.

This past March, the OP relocated to 1060 North Avenue on the south end of campus. They moved over 3,000 pieces of equipment, including kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, climbing and backpacking gear, skis and snow shoes into the renovated building that used to house the Little Mavs Learning Center.

“I had a ton of input on the design of this space,” said OP Director Ryan Dutch. “We are being very intentional with where everything goes. We want to give everything the space it deserves.” He also wanted to ensure the OP maintained its welcoming atmosphere.

The new space was designed to have designated areas for like items including a section for camping gear, a section for boating equipment and a section for winter activity gear. The OP now includes a small bike shop, where for a nominal fee students can have their bikes repaired by OP student staff. The new location also includes a platform for practicing rappelling and a classroom.

The OP’s new location now has a small bike repair shop.

The move to the south end of campus gives the OP more community visibility and accessibility. This is important since all OP equipment is available for the community to rent and is a growing revenue source for the outdoor adventure and education headquarters.

“We want to be there for the community because we want people to get outside,” said Dutch. “So when they come in to rent we are also able to educate them on safety, best practices and the best outdoor areas to explore.”

Now that the OP is settled in their new home they are looking towards what’s next including a new computer system that will allow individuals to reserve gear online and working with Visit Grand Junction to highlight opportunities available at the OP. •


Written by Katlin Birdsall