MARQUETTE -There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors in the Upper Peninsula, no matter what the season. Having an active lifestyle and being able to bring that outdoors has many rewards. Trying new things though, requires the right equipment. Instead of going out and buying expensive gear right away, there is a great resource you should check out first.
Northern Michigan University's Outdoor Rec Center, located in the Physical Education and Instructional Facility building, has a student-run office has with plenty of rental gear from canoes and kayaks to camping equipment to snowshoes.
You don't have to be a student to use it, either. All community members are welcome to rent equipment at very reasonable prices. For example, a kayak package including the boat, a personal floatation device, paddles and a cartop carrier cost $15 per day (24 hours from when you check out) for PEIF members and $25 for non-members.
Northern Michigan University student Alicia Luce climbs the indoor climbing wall during the partner climb, one of the activities that the Outdoor Recreation Center offers at the Physical Education Instructional Facility. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)
Adam Fancher, an NMU student and Outdoor Recreation Center program coordinator, shows some of the items the ORC has for rent. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)
"There's a lot to offer that people don't know about," said Adam Fancher, program coordinator, and student at NMU. "There are three parts to the ORC," he added, "rentals, the climbing wall, and our outdoor programs."
Some of the other things the ORC rents out are hiking backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, different sized tents, camp stoves and cross-country boots, poles and skis.
They also rent out climbing equipment for the indoor climbing wall at the PEIF. Throughout the week, there are open climb hours, belay lessons, partner climbs and kids' climbs at the climbing wall located right next to the office.
If you like to learn new things outdoors, while also being social and meeting new people, there is also something for you. The ORC is really excited this year about the Adventure Series programs, which are guided programs that can teach you skills as well as meet other people with the same interests.
"A lot of work was put into the programs this year," said Fancher. "We're doing bigger trips, more exciting ones," he added.
Just in September, there are three trips scheduled. On Saturday, there will be a Harlow Lake canoe and kayak social, which allows people to paddle around with their friends and meet new ones. If you are a beginner, there is also some instruction.
On Sept. 11, there is white water rafting on the Menominee River, complete with a rafting guide and on Sept. 25, there is a bouldering caravan that will tour around Marquette. Other events include mountain bike trips to Copper Harbor, slackline workshops, outdoor climbing and hikes.
"We want to open people's eyes to all the different types of outdoor recreation," said Fancher.
Signup sheets open up two weeks before the trips. Most of the trips are limited to a certain number of people, so if you are interested, make sure you sign up right away.
For more information about hours, rentals, indoor climbing and the Adventure Series go to www.nmu.edu/recreation and click on Outdoor Recreation.
Danielle Pemble can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 256.