Lobbying for Wilderness Access

This February, our director Mike Cottingham met with the Wyoming Delegation in Washington, D.C. on behalf of America Outdoors Association. The meetings focused on expanding access on federal lands for the outfitting industry and simplifying the permitting process for all outfitters.

Mike and Co

Pictured from left to right: Wyoming senator John Barasso, Mike Cottingham, director/owner of Wilderness Adventures, Aaron Bannon, public lands director for NOLS, and Wyoming senior senator, Mike Enzi.

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How Hiking Is Good For Your Health

Hiking is perhaps one of the most rewarding outdoor activities. Not only are hikers often rewarded with incredible views and the chance to be at one with nature, but they are also rewarded with exercise.

Here are several reasons why hiking is good for your health:

  • Hiking improves cardio-respiratory fitness in your lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
  • Hiking improves muscle strength.
  • Hiking improves bone density, and slows down bone density loss.
  • Hiking lowers the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Hiking lowers the risk of colon, breast, lung, and endometrial cancers.
  • Hiking helps sleep quality.
  • Hiking lowers the risk of depression, as well as tension and anxiety.
  • Hiking lowers the risk of the effects of osteoporosis and arthritis.
  • Hiking aids in weight control, since hiking burns on average between 250-350 calories per hour, depending on the activity level.
  • Hiking lowers the risk of early death (based on a study in which a person that is active 7 hours a week, risk of early death is decreased by 40%, compared to a person who is only active 30 minutes a week).
  • Hiking works almost every part of your body, including your mind.

It is important to remember that all of this cannot be achieved without 150 minutes of exercise each week.

Whether it is in your neighborhood, at a local forest reserve, or in the mountains, there is a hike waiting for you!

If you like to explore the great outdoors, Wilderness Adventures has the perfect adventure trip waiting for you! Visit us to see a full listing of our teen adventure camps today!

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What Kind Of An Adventurer Are You?

For more than 40 years, Wilderness Adventures has been specializing in teen adventure camps. From Classic Adventures, to our Community Services Adventures, we offer a variety of teen adventures for any type of adventurer. So, what kind of an adventurer are you?

Discovery Adventures- These adventures, designed for students completing 6th grade, are the ideal adventures for beginners. With these trips, adventurers will be introduced to activities such as hiking, sea kayaking, and surfing, giving them a better understanding of what outdoor adventuring is all about.

Classic Adventures- These adventures, which are ideal for students that are completing 7th grade through 12th grade, offers adventurers a variety of outdoor experiences, helping them learn new outdoor skills as well. From Alaska, to Hawaii, there is a destination for everyone.

Leadership Adventures- From Mount Rainier, to the Yellowstone Wilderness, these more challenging adventures are for students completing 9th grade and up, providing them with opportunities for extended wilderness experiences.

International Adventures- These adventures are perfect for students that wish to experience beautiful destinations around the world. For students completing 7th grade through the 12th grade, these trips allow students gain a better global perspective.

Community Service Adventures- These adventures allow students to help others in communities that are in need. From Alaska to Peru, students that are completing 9th through the 12th grade will learn about sustainability, as well as more about the communities they will be helping.

Wilderness Adventures is sure to have the perfect adventure for you. Visit us to see a complete listing of our adventure programs today.

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The 5 Places You Should Visit This Spring

Spring is right around the corner, making it a good time to plan your Spring Break trip! While a beach may be calling your name, there are several other places that can offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Here are 5 places you should visit this spring:

1. Yosemite National Park (California)- With spring, comes the melting snow. In turn, the melting snowpack in Yosemite creates some of the most beautiful waterfalls you have ever seen. This also creates full creeks and lakes, especially Mirror Lake. In late spring, the redwood and dogwood blossoms are in full bloom. Hiking may be limited due to snowfall, but there is usually a variety of trails open in Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Hetch Hetchy.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee)- In the spring, the haze that typically surrounds the mountains is reduced, making views even more spectacular than they normally are. With the milder temps in the Smokies during spring, the wildflowers are in full bloom. Hiking is also readily available during this time of year, although these trails can be very busy.

3. Zion National Park (Utah)- Spring is one of the most ideal times to visit Zion National Park. The snowmelts create beautiful waterfalls, and with the cooler temps and smaller crowds, hiking and canyoneering is very enjoyable.

4. Arches National Park (Utah)- Since spring is one of the least busy times of the year to visit Arches National Park, it is the ideal time to have the natural stone arches to yourself. In the spring, the night sky is incredibly clear; making stargazing is an amazing experience.

5. Glacier National Park (Montana)- Since this is the time of year with the least amount of visitors, your chances of seeing more wildlife greatly increases, especially when it comes to bear, elk, and moose. The end of spring is also a good time for cyclists to enjoy the Going-to-the-Sun Road before it is opened up to cars.

Wilderness Adventures has specialized in teen adventure camps for more than 40 years. If you are interested in looking to find the right adventure for you, visit us today!

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See All The Fun Wilderness Adventures Can Offer You In 2015!

Wilderness Adventures is excited to announce that our 2015 Adventure Trip catalog is now available! Whether you are looking for a classic adventure to Yellowstone, for an international adventure in Thailand, or a community service adventure in Kilimanjaro, Wilderness Adventures guarantees that we will have the perfect adventure for you!

With our small groups experience, our family atmosphere, our unique and exclusive adventures, and our experience, Wilderness Adventures offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unlike no other adventure programs out there!

Click here to view our catalog online, or call 800-533-2281 to request yours by mail.

Wilderness Adventures will be coming to a city near you! By attending one of our many slideshows, you can gain a better understanding of what our programs can offer, as well as have the opportunity to meet with a Wilderness Adventures representative, alumni, and their parents. For more information, click here for a full listing of our 2015 Presentation Schedule.

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How Adventure Camps Prepare Teenagers For Adulthood

Teen adventure camps can play an important role in the development of children of all ages. However, it is teenagers that have the potential to gain the most benefits that these adventure camps can offer, especially when it comes to preparing teenagers for adulthood.

The development of interpersonal skills. With teen adventure camps, campers are exposed to opportunities to be leaders, which will help them to gain more self-confidence, cooperate with their team, as well as what it means to be part of a community and develop life-long and meaningful relationships.

The development of an appreciation for the world around us. By exploring what Mother Nature has to offer, living and traveling sustainably, and visiting exclusive places around the world, teens will learn to appreciate the environment, as well as learn about their impact and carbon footprint that they leave on our planet.

The development of outdoor living skills. With teen adventure camps, teenagers will be exposed to a variety of outdoor recreational activities, backcountry travel, minimum impact camping, as well as outdoor cooking. By experiencing these activities, teens will not only learn to function in these environments, but also have fun doing so.

The development of an appreciation of a new hobby. Teens will be able to participate in a variety of outdoor recreational activities, allowing them to decide what types of adventures they may enjoy. Whether it is backpacking, canoeing, or mountain biking, there are so many activities that teens may develop a love and passion for after experiencing them.

Since 1972, Wilderness Adventures has been specializing in safe, fun, and educational teen adventure programs. Visit us to see a full listing of our teen adventure camps that we can offer you and your teen today.

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Tips For Staying Active This Winter

While the spring and summer months may seem like they’re a long ways away, they will be here before we know it. In order to fully enjoy those warm days ahead, it is important to keep yourself active. Here are a few tips to help you stay active this winter:

Snowshoeing- This winter activity will not only give you an opportunity for a great cardio workout, but it is also an inexpensive activity since it only requires the use of snowshoes. It is also a convenient activity since it doesn’t require any specific type of landscape.

Skiing and Snowboarding- You don’t have to live in a mountainous area to enjoy this outdoor activity. There are many resorts all over the country that offer these popular winter activities. These resorts also make it easier for you by offering rental skis and snowboards, instead of having to purchase them yourself.

Hiking- Some of the best views and the perfect opportunities to experience what nature has to offer is during the winter. By taking a walk through the woods or the mountains, you not only stay active, but you can appreciate the great outdoors.

Sledding- Believe it or not, sledding can be a good way to stay active, all the while having a blast while doing so. With all the climbing up to go down the hill, you are giving your body a good cardio workout. All you need is a sled and a hill, and you’re set!

This time of year can be the perfect time to learn a new activity, possibly even getting you ready for an exciting adventure!

Wilderness Adventures is a leader in providing fun and educational teen adventure camps. Visit us to learn more about how we can make this year one to remember!

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The Wilderness Adventures Story

From our first trip in 1973 to our 42nd year of providing exceptional wilderness adventures, we have continued to develop our list of unique destinations and activities. With our program innovation, we have been able to offer today’s teens and families a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the ability to develop their individual and teamwork skills, as well as develop a deep connection with nature.

The Wilderness Adventure Story

In the summer of 1973, we began our first summer outdoor adventure experience with a 60-day backpacking adventure through the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. We visited some of the most beautiful outdoor environments in the Western United States and Canada, including backcountry adventures in Banff and Yoho National Parks, as well as backpacking adventures in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Olympic National Parks.

In 1977, we established one of the first of its kind teenage outdoor adventure programs by exploring the Alaskan wilds. As a fitting launch into the land of the midnight sun, our group made an inspiring 200-mile canoe trip down the Yukon River.

In 1979, we expanded our program offerings, embarking down Idaho’s stunning Salmon River. While this was another first in teen adventure history, the stunning Salmon River objectively remains the best multi-day rafting trip in the Northern Rockies.

In 1987, we made our first Sea Kayaking voyage into Glacier Bay National Park. Since this first year, over 700 Wilderness Ventures students have paddled with us through this amazing environment.

In 1994, Wilderness Adventures founder, Mike Cottingham, was lucky enough to go sea kayaking on the fjords near Chichagof Island in Alaska. It was on this expedition with his son that he was lucky enough to get some amazing photos of the numerous Humpback whales that more than 350 Wilderness Adventures students have been able to paddle with. It has been since then that we have been one of the only outdoor programs that have lucky enough to acquire this prestigious permit.

In 2001, Wilderness Adventures became the first teen adventure program to travel to Australia’s Northwest Territory, visiting the ancestral homeland of the Mangarrayi aboriginal people. We now run the biggest variety of international programs, providing our Wilderness Adventures students with a unique and memorable experience.

In 2003, the 2,000th Wilderness Adventures student reached the 13,777-foot summit on the Grand Teton, making it more than 150 Wilderness Ventures groups that have climbed this classic peak in Grand Teton National Park.

Wilderness Ventures has been providing the highest quality teen adventure experiences for more than four decades.Visit us to see how we can make your outdoor adventure a memorable and meaningful experience.

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Thinking Of Going On A Wilderness Adventure?

Are you interested in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure? Is your teenager looking for an opportunity to explore what nature has to offer? Well, look no further!

Wilderness Adventures is a leader in providing unique and educational teen and family summer adventure camps since 1973. With our love and passion for teaching families and young adults about the great outdoors and the development of lifelong friendships, we have pioneered and paved the way for summer adventure programs everywhere.

We guarantee to create a connection with nature and the world around you and your child with each and every one of our trips, all the while building a feeling of a more self-confident, independent, and responsible being.

With our wide variety of adventure trips and all the beautiful places we will visit, we are confident we will have a program fit for you and your teen. From surfing in Hawaii, to working with elephants in Thailand, to backpacking in Yellowstone, there is an adventure just waiting for you!

If you aren’t convinced quite yet, then check out one of our 2015 Wilderness Adventures Presentations in your area. For a full listing of our upcoming presentations and to make reservations, click here.

Visit Wilderness Adventures today to see how we can help make this year a more adventurous and fun year!

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Leader Spotlight: Scott Coffin

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Wilderness Adventures leaders are inspirational role models for our students. They come from the best colleges and universities in the country, are passionate about working with kids, and are super fun to be around! Wilderness Adventures leaders do incredible things and have amazing stories to tell. Today, we caught up with Scott Coffin who has led for us in both Central and South America on a number of trips.

Wilderness Adventures: Scott, what have you been up to since summer 2014 ended?

Scott Coffin: Post-summer life has been truly a blast! I moved to southern California (and saw about 6 WV Cali staffers along the way!) and began my PhD at UC-Riverside. I’m studying the toxicological effects of the enormous amount of plastic  in the North Pacific Gyre. To be honest, if it wasn’t for my conservation experience with WV in Costa Rica in 2013, I likely wouldn’t have developed such a passion for the ocean, and would not have pursued a graduate degree in Aquatic Environmental Toxicology. So thanks for inspiring me WV!!

WA: Tell me more about your research!

SC: Synthetic plastic currently makes up 60-80% of all marine litter in the ocean, and has been growing exponentially in quantity since the 1960’s. These products’ resistance to biological degradation and aging causes them to be extremely persistent. This persistence results in accumulation in marine ecosystems and negative physical, biochemical and environmental effects on marine life. Currently, little data is available on the effects of these compounds on embryonic fish development (teratogenicity) as well as the non-embryonic heritable effects on DNA (epigenetic effects). Through the use of a model organism (Zebrafish) and collected plastic products, I hope to better understand the complex effects of plastic on the marine ecosystem.

WA: How did you decide on this subject and this degree?

SC: I studied chemistry in my undergraduate career and became fascinated with the complexity and incredible processes involved in biological systems through the biochemistry courses I took. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be involved in nature as much as possible, and this led me to a rewarding path of environmentalism in my adult life. During my 2013 summer with Wilderness Ventures in Costa Rica, I was able to act on this passion by volunteering with a turtle conservation camp in Tortugero. I saw first hand the effects that humans have on global ecosystem health through the pervasive poaching of the ocean’s caretakers- sea turtles. This revelation came at an extremely pivotal point in my life as I had just graduated college and was looking into further education. The decision to study Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Riverside was an easy one, as it was driven by passion and dedication to make a difference in our world.

WA: What do you plan to do in the future?

SC: After completing my PhD (in approximately 3-4 years), I plan to continue working with marine ecosystems either with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or with a marine research institute. My love for the ocean, surfing and good, spicy food (in part inspired by my time spent abroad with WV) will likely keep me in California or a coastal town in Latin America.

WA: What trips have you lead?

SC: In 2013 I led the Costa Rica Service and Costa Rica Adventure trips. In 2014 I led two Belize trips and a Peru Service trip. All of them were absolutely incredible.

WA: How do you think Wilderness Adventures has shaped your life so far?

SC: WV has really influenced my life in many ways. The immense responsibility of leading a group of teenagers into a country that speaks a different language, has distinct customs, a totally different climate, and an entirely different way of life can be seriously daunting. Needless to say, keeping the group happy and safe on these trips requires a great deal of patience and emotional stability. As a recent college graduate, I was pretty self-involved, as pretty much everything in my life up to that point had been about my education. This was really the first time that I was focused entirely on someone else’s livelihood, and it was a big turning point in my nascent “adult” life. As a result, I feel a lot more aware of other people’s feelings and the effects that I can have on them.

WV’s sometimes utopian values have found a place deep in my heart. During staff training, I found myself happier and more connected with others than I had ever been- and these were people that I had only just met! Deep trust and community are really the ethos of WV- which gives the tools to its staff members and participants to facilitate these values in other spheres of their lives. I often reflect on the friendships I’ve made in the two summers I’ve spent with WV and am delighted when I can reconnect with these amazing people.

WA: What’s your number one best memory with Wilderness Adventures?

SC: I was on beach patrol at Tortugero in Costa Rica in 2013. We had been walking for awhile along the beach looking for nesting turtles when a thick thunderstorm approached the shore. This was the kind of quick, heavy Caribbean downpour that vibrates with crashing thunderclaps and lights up the beach with incredibly bright lighting. The storm was a little bit scary and our group was pretty tired. We were high-tailing it back to camp so we could rest for the night when we were waved down by a volunteer at the hatchery. A group of 43 leatherback turtles had just been born, and the volunteer needed help measuring their bodies with calipers before releasing them into the ocean. We were so delighted to see the newborn turtles and their emergence into the ocean that we completely forgot about any possible thoughts of physical discomfort and fear. Later at the camp, we were nothing but smiles and tea.

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