MARQUETTE - Anyone seeking a new way to experience the Upper Peninsula can check out the Outdoor Recreation Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Located in the Physical Education Instructional Facility, the ORC desk is nestled in the back corner of the Sport Complex, just right of the 1,145- square-foot climbing wall named the Boreal Boulder, an ORC staple.
"ORC is to help students and the community enjoy outdoor recreation to the best extent possible," said Adam Fancher, ORC student program coordinator and an NMU junior studying business marketing. "We are here as a resources and tools for those looking to benefit from the vast outdoor activities that the Upper Peninsula has to offer."
Mary Vandersluis is shown working at the front desk of the Outdoor Recreational Center at Northern Michigan University on Wednesday night. Vandersluis has worked at the ORC for about four months and says she loves the climbing wall. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Fancher started working at the ORC during the winter semester in 2011 and was promoted to student program coordinator after one semester. He hopes to take business marketing degree and love for the outdoors and turn it into a career.
"Working at the ORC gives me a chance to share my passion with others," he said.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned expert, the well-trained staff at the ORC can provide valuable knowledge on how to climb and make the climbing experience more enjoyable. The ORC staff includes nine people ranging from outdoor recreation majors to social work. Even though the employees come from a variety of backgrounds, they all share a great appreciation for the outdoors.
Belay lessons, partner climb, open climb and kid's climb are all offered at varied times throughout the week. During these sessions, there is always a staff member available to help with any questions about climbing or equipment.
The ORC also rents outdoor recreational equipment for all seasons. In the summer, the ORC makes available everything from kayaks to cookware. During winter, it offers ski and snowshoe packages. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made up to two weeks in advance.
Guided outdoor adventure climbing trips are also available through the ORC. Some climbing trips are as close as Marquette Mountain and others and far away as Madison, Wis. The ORC crew will journey to Devil's Lake, Wisc., about 40 miles north of Madison, in mid-October, to rock climb. Devil's Lake is well known as a destination location for climbing in the midwest.
If climbing isn't your interest, a certified guided white water rafting trip is available. The trip traverses the Menominee River in mid-September at a cost of $60 for members and $75 for non-members.
Registration opened up for all programs on Monday. Recreational Sports Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 243.