‘As long as you have two hands and you can see, you’re pretty much ready to sail’

12 09 2017

EUGENE, Ore. – A heat wave in the Willamette Valley means excellent weather for sailing at Fern Ridge Reservoir in Eugene.

About a dozen students completed their week-long youth training course Friday afternoon.

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The classes are offered by the City of Eugene’s River House Center every summer.

“They can steer a boat, they can trim a sail, they can dock and undock. They know how to beach a boat,” said instructor Connor Shirk.

The classes are not just offered for middle and high school students. Adults are also encouraged to participate with weeknight and weekend classes.

“The main difference is that the adult classes all take place on the big boats,” said Shirk.


http://nbc16.com/embed/news/local/as-long-as-you-have-two-hands-and-you-can-see-youre-pretty-much-ready-to-sail


Youth courses start on smaller boats, referred to as dinghies. The skills are easily transferable to larger boats.

“The worst thing that can happen in the small boats is that they flip. But, then you flip them right back up. Adults don’t like that quite as much,” added Shirk.

They leave daily from the River house at 9 a.m. and return at 4:30 p.m.

Participants say the best part is that anyone can join.

“In things like gymnastics, it’s hard to do if you’re not flexible or if you don’t know certain things. With boats, as long as you have two hands and you can see, you’re pretty much ready to sail,” said Nina Persins.

The youth camp continues for one more week, with a cost of $265.

There are scholarships available to help bring the cost down.

The adult classes continue until October.

For more information, click here.


Original article and video can be found at: http://nbc16.com/news/local/as-long-as-you-have-two-hands-and-you-can-see-youre-pretty-much-ready-to-sail

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How to Bike in the City

29 06 2017

Here’s an entertaining tutorial on building confidence when riding in Urban Areas.  Keep it simple and stay aware and arrive with more energy and a smile.

-Plan Route   -Suite Up  -Check your bike  -Mind the Door Zone  -Claim the Lane                 -Careful in Turns  -Don’t Run over Pedestrians

For a free Eugene/Springfield biking map: https://www.eugene-or.gov/1849/Locate-a-FREE-Bike-Map

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ACA Swiftwater Rescue Experience

2 06 2017

live bait

If I had to identify with just one sport, it would be cycling. I’m an instructor for Bike Safety Education and Mountain Bike Adventure summer camps through the River House Outdoor Center. I raced extensively for seven years, two at the national level, and worked at bike shops for several years.  I have taught numerous bike skills clinics. When it comes to biking, I know my stuff.

That is not the case with river sports. While I have enjoyed some time rafting, canoeing, SUP’ing, or just hanging out and playing in the water, I’m a total beginner at all river and paddle sports. The truth is, the river scares me a little. I have never been very sure of what’s going on under that blue shimmer and white splashes, so I have remained hesitant to get completely obsessed with any river sport. I tried learning to kayak years ago, and just couldn’t get the roll down, so I gave up.

This will be my first summer working for the River House, and I plan to utilize all the opportunities available to me to expand my knowledge and add to my skills. Oregon offers so many awesome rivers, full fun activity and adventure, so I set for myself the goal to learn more skills and become proficient in a variety of river activities. A big first step was taking a Swiftwater Rescue certification class through American Canoe Association (ACA). I had to miss a few great mountain bike rides, but dedicating my weekend to personal growth and education was absolutely worth it!

Our instructor, Marciel Bieg, also a River House employee, started by laying the groundwork and philosophy—our priorities when doing a rescue. Number one, don’t become another victim! Just a few hours in the classroom covered all the basics. Then we learned to use throw ropes on dry land. By afternoon we were practicing rescue techniques in a rapid near the Autzen Footbridge.

On day two we learned a variety of anchor systems and mechanical advantage systems. My knowledge of rock climbing anchors really helped here, but even those with little experience learned to create safe anchors from a variety of materials. Then we piled on a bus and took to Row River to practice our skills.

We floated down a small rapid, practiced throw ropes and live bait rescue techniques. One of my favorite parts was trying to wade across the swift-moving river. It was a huge challenge, and I found myself floating downstream, never making it to the other side. We crossed with partners, and even rescued a “victim” as a group.

This experience helped me gain an enormous amount of confidence in the river. I am now able to advance my skills and knowledge of rafting and SUP’ing, knowing that I can handle whatever situation arises and help keep myself and the people around me safe.

This course is not just for professional guides. Literally ANYONE spending time in and around the river—it’s Eugene, so that’s pretty much everyone—would benefit from taking a Swiftwater Rescue course, or some kind of river safety education material our course.

I’m looking forward to an awesome summer full of mountain biking and river adventures!

-Misha Fuller

(The River House Instructor Development Fund makes money available for staff to use to better their skills through classes and training. In return the River House receives highly skilled staff and blog posts describing their experiences.)

crossing

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Who says Skating is an Urban Endeavor?

16 03 2017

NORTHBOUND | Skateboarding on Frozen Sand 4K from Turbin Film on Vimeo.

Skaters and artistic expression go together like peanut butter and jelly.  This new video from the frozen Norway coast continues to push what can be skated and how to beautifully film it.          “It’s cool to be somewhere where the eagles want to be.”

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How Small Things may help Overcome Fear

15 03 2017

snowshoeBird2

Sometimes what seems a simple activity to some, can be a challenge to others.  You may know, if you put sunflower seeds in your hand and hold very, very still, the birds will come when near alpine environments.  Habituating wildlife to humans is frowned upon, but in this instance, it was a challenge for overcoming fear.

Cary is a gentleman working to overcome fear and nervous about life after spending significant time in prison.  After a conversation about overcoming fears in daily life, he decided to try having a bird land on his hand even though he was really scared to do so.

Cary succeeded in his goal and has not stopped talking about it since.  This is a simple, but good reminder how healing nature can be, especially when you transfer the learning that happens outside into your daily regime.

Sponsor Inc. Mentor program helps match community volunteers with men and women just released from prison. The role of mentors is to guide and support these individuals into a successful reentry into our community, and they only ask for about 4-6 hours of your time each month.

For More info, contact:

Jen Jackson at Sponsors 541-505-5663

For an additional article about Sponsors from Outside Magazine see:

https://eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/is-nature-the-key-to-rehabilitating-prisoners/

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Is Nature the Key to Rehabilitating Prisoners?

5 12 2016

prisoners-nature-illo_h

Once released, the formerly incarcerated face a daunting set of challenges­—a job, a place to live, and, most urgently, breaking the cycle of bad friends and bad habits that can lead to more prison time. Now scientists and activists are asking whether nature may be essential to helping them build new lives.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2110396/great-escape

The linked article from Outside Magazine features our long time instructor Jen Jackson who also runs the mentorship program at Sponsors, an organization in Eugene that helps the formerly incarcerated relearn life beyond prison.

As a lover of the outdoors and the happiness it can bring to one’s life; I can only guess it could do wonders for others that are lost in the negatives that have gotten them in the correctional system.  The article highlights some successes and challenges in creating such a program; currently the only one in the nation.

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River run, wisely

27 10 2016

Be prepared, be realistic when rafting, paddling waterways, local guide advises

June 18, 2016

There are plenty of reasons why thousands of people are lured to water every summer.

It could be the sound of water flowing over rocks, the cool breeze that comes off the surface, the refreshing feel on a hot day or the wildlife such an outing attracts.

Whatever the reason, city of Eugene recreation programmer Aimee Goglia and her team of rafting guides know to expect it every year. That’s why they offer so many rafting opportunities — through city summer camps, school field trips and groups such as Nearby Nature and McKenzie River Trust.

Run out of the River House Outdoor Program on N. Adams Street in Eugene, the rafting program also coordinates trips with all the community centers. The River House program does not compete with private outfitters — groups wanting a tour guide and a raft trip are encouraged to call private rafting outfitters.

The rafting season can start as early as April and run through September. At the height of summer, Goglia and her staff of 20 guides are coordinating about five trips a week.

This summer, a rafting camp through the Wayne Morse Family Farm runs July 11 through July 15. Youths ages 6 to 8 will float the Willamette and older kids will float the McKenzie. Another camp based at the Sheldon Community Center will take kids ages 6 to 11 on the Mc-Kenzie River the week of August 1.

Program staff floats the Willamette and Mc-Kenzie rivers often enough to really know the rivers, appreciate their beauty and understand the inherent dangers. They are experts at teaching people the basics of floating these local waterways.

river run, wisely

Inflatable rafts dot the Willamette River west of the put-in spot at Aspen and D streets in Springfield. River guide Aimee Goglia led the outing for elementary-age students from Eugene and taught them water safety. (Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard)

 

 

Staying safe

Goglia says one of the most important safety tips is to pick an appropriate river for your skill level and to never go alone.

“People should know the river and the runs and be aware of their skill level in relationship to the river,” she says. “People should ask questions about the hazards in the river.”

A common, and potentially deadly hazard, is a “strainer” — a piece of debris in the river that allows water to flow through but would trap a person. A downed log or a shopping cart could be a strainer.

If a person fell out of their raft, she should swim aggressively away from hazards such as strainers and only stand up when moving water is calf-deep or shallower. A swimmer also should swim toward the boat closest to him.

Because falling out of a boat is always a possibility, Goglia recommends always wearing a properly-fitted life jacket.

She said she sees a lot of people overuse ropes and lines in their boats and loose lines can cause people to get entangled in them.

“More ropes in the water causes more chaos,” she says. “People can get tangled on them.”

Above all, Goglia tells boaters to “remain calm.” She says panicking will only lead to bad decisions.

Enviro ethic

Safety extends beyond humans. Goglia wants boaters to follow the leave-no-trace environmental ethic to protect wildlife and the environment as well.

“We are passing through critters’ homes,” she says. “People should pack everything out that they brought and take only pictures on their trip.”

Feeding the animals only hurts them in the end — people food is unhealthy for wildlife, helps them lose their natural fear of people and can cause them to conflict with people.

Goglia also hopes boaters take a look at the shoreline before stopping. In some cases, killdeer or Canada geese are nesting and the presence of people could disrupt the nest.

Another common activity to avoid on the shoreline: urinating — it’s no joke.

On the Willamette and McKenzie rivers, the volume of water is so large that peeing in the river is preferable to on the shore. “It has more of an impact if people pee on shore,” she says.

Where to go

Goglia has an array of great float trips on the tip of her tongue, and she encourages people to call the River House for help when planning a trip.

For beginners looking for local, short day trips with Class I or II river stretches (that is, an easy, calm section with occasional rapids that are easy to maneuver around), Goglia recommends these:

Up the McKenzie River, put in at Helfrich and take out at Leaburg Dam or at the EWEB boat landing.

Also on the Mc-Kenzie, put in at Armitage County Park and take out on the Willamette River at Marshall Landing on the left, southeast of Junction City. There is also a river right take-out outside Coburg at Cross Roads Lane, the road where Agrarian Ales is located.

On the Willamette River, put in at Island Park in Springfield and take out at River House in Eugene (which does not have a boat ramp) or across the river at Valley River Center. For a shorter run, take out at Alton Baker Park.

On the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, put in at Pengra Access Boat Ramp west of Dexter Lake and take out at Clearwater Park in Springfield.

On the Willamette, put in at Aspen Street/Alton Baker Park and take out at Whitley Landing County Park, in north Eugene.

Dancing on the river

Many of Goglia’s raft guides are younger people who have done raft trips through the city’s summer camp program or through their local elementary school. Goglia loves to see kids connect with the water in the same way she has.

“I love rowing,” Goglia says. “There is a beautiful flow. It is such a dance on the river. When done right, you are finessing rather than muscling your way through a rapid.”

More Out and About articles »


Plan a trip

Following are a few resources to help plan a river outing:

McKenzie River Guides: A comprehensive listing of river guides and outfitters for the McKenzie River; mckenzieguides.com.

Oregon Paddle Sports: 520 Commercial St., offers classes and rentals for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and rafting. Also connects with rafting guides; oregonpaddlesports.com.

River House Outdoor Program: 301 N. Adams St. For information about river and float trips, call 541-682-5329; eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com. Also, Aimee Goglia leads private whitewater rowing lessons at $40 for a minimum of three hours. Call 541-682-6358 for an appointment or email aimee.n.goglia@ci.eugene.or.us

The University of Oregon Outdoor Program: 1225 E. 18th Ave. Rental equipment available for members and nonmembers. Summer hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; outdoorprogram.uoregon.edu.

The Willamette Water Trail Guide: This is an excellent resource for planning a river trip, Goglia says, including equipment must-haves; willamettewatertrail.org/about-the-water-trail.

Life Jackets

Sponsored by the Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the Eugene Emerald Valley Rotary Club, the sixth annual Life Jacket Exchange Event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Springfield Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway St. Here’s how it works: Bring outgrown or unused life jackets to Cabela’s and exchange it for a properly fitted child’s life jacket. Experts on hand will check for proper fit. Call 541-682-4179 for information.


Full article can be found at: http://registerguard.com/rg/life/weekend/34415389-289/river-run-wisely.html.csp

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