The great outdoors
and big bargains
By Dorothy Velasco
sun shines brightly and plants burst into bloom, even the most
sluggish of us begin to turn our thoughts to outdoor activities.
Those who are brave want their outdoor activities to be
Adventures can be costly, but fortunately we live where exciting
outdoor activities are not too expensive. We're lucky that many
local folks who love the outdoors are willing to volunteer their
time and skills to help others enjoy modestly priced outings.
You'll do well to start your search for affordable adventures with
the Obsidians, an organization that promotes prudent enjoyment of
our wilderness areas. The Obsidians formed in Eugene in 1927 to
provide better safety measures and outdoor opportunities for
people wanting to begin hiking, skiing or mountain climbing. The
group also encourages learning about waterways and conservation.
Obsidians offer a busy schedule year 'round, with skiing and snow
shoeing trips in the winter, hikes and climbs in the summer,
summer camp for adults, Byways-By-Bus trips, potlucks, trail
maintenance and conservation efforts. Hikes can be as easy as an
afternoon walk or as strenuous as overnight backpacking trips.
Climbs can include technical rock climbing and snow climbing.
For more information about the Obsidians, check their Web site at
www.obsidians.org . You
must participate as a guest before you are eligible to join.
(Anyone may be a guest and you don't need a sponsor.)
Fees for trips and membership are modest. Information about
scheduled activities and sign-up sheets are posted at the Web
site, or in the Outdoor section of Thursday's Eugene
Register-Guard. You may also check activities listings at the
The Eugene Outdoor Recreation program, offered through the City of
Eugene, is another good bet. The outdoor program provides
opportunities for climbing and mountaineering, family outings, and
certifications, trainings and workshops.
Some offerings, such as skiing classes in alpine, cross-country
and telemark styles, are aimed at specific groups like senior
adults or adaptive recreation. For more information call
541-682-5333 or check the Eugene Parks & Recreation program guide.
The Web site is
Willamalane Park & Recreation District in Springfield offers some
outdoor activities for different age groups, and other cities like
Junction City and Cottage Grove have their own activities.
At the University of Oregon, all students are members of the
Outdoor Program. If you're not a UO student you can become an
Outdoor Program co-op member and participate in Outdoor Program
trips by paying $15 a year.
The Outdoor Program at Erb Memorial Union on campus is a
student-funded wilderness cooperative with the following basic
Cooperative sharing of all
decisions, responsibilities and costs.
Sharing and support, rather than
Common sense and maturity rather
than rules and structure.
Development of lifelong skills and
leadership rather than one-shot thrills.
Participants encouraged to take an
interest or skill to whatever height they wish.
The university's trips and activities are all participant-planned,
so count on devoting considerable time to organizing the event.
Now UO students and Outdoor Program co-op members can rent gear
for private outings at a low cost. You can choose from a variety
of rafts, kayaks, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, rain gear, and
much more in this new rental program. Some equipment is even
available on loan free of charge.
Members wishing to sell outdoor equipment can also post their
items on the used equipment board and the Web site.
For more information call 541-346-4365 or check the Web site at
Dorothy Velasco is a Springfield writer whose column, "Lighten
Up," appears each week in The Springfield News. She can be reached
c/o The Springfield News, PO Box 139, Springfield, OR 97477, or at