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Recreational opportunities: NMU named a top outdoor college

Northern Michigan University ranks 39th nationwide in a recent listing of the “Top 50 Outdoor Colleges.” Pictured is a past Snow Fest event at NMU. (Photo courtesy of NMU)

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University ranks 39th nationwide in a recent listing of the “Top 50 Outdoor Colleges” compiled by Best Value Schools.

“Even though students at this university have to face cold winters, they are surrounded by nature,” the NMU description states. “They are close to Lake Superior, Marquette Mountain and other beautiful locations. NMU students receive free rentals of snowshoes, fat tire bikes and cross country skis to explore.”

The Best Value Schools list factored in available outdoor programs, activities and clubs. It also took into consideration the number of yearly days of sunshine.

NMU offers a bachelor’s degree program in outdoor recreation leadership and management, which is enhanced by the student-run Organization for Outdoor Recreation Professionals.

OORP is involved in activities ranging from local recreation area cleanups and other volunteer work to organizing hikes and hosting guest speakers, movie screenings and other relevant programming on campus.

Northern’s Outdoor Recreation Center offers the opportunity for students and community members to explore the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula. The ORC leads many trips around the region, ranging from local waterfall hikes and mountain biking to whitewater rafting. The ORC also offers skill-building workshops to help participants better understand the basics of rock climbing, camping, backpacking and snow/paddle sports.

Northern has partnered with the Noquemanon Trail Network to provide current NMU students access to an interconnected, year-round, non-motorized land and water trail system.

Students also get free daily use of cross-country skis, snowshoes and fat bikes through the partnership. This encourages sustainable transportation and recreation habits, and provides healthy, year-round outdoor activities that are easily accessible from campus.

Stanford University was ranked first.

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