While many Coloradans are fortunate enough to be able to have access to the outdoor recreation space, that's not always the case. Financial and physical factors can often act as barriers of entry, as can the simple hesitancy to take on the unknown.
Part of the OutThere Colorado mission is increasing access to the outdoor recreation space through information and education via digital content. When it comes to increasing access to outdoor recreation through offline efforts, a number of great non-profits exist around the state of Colorado.
Here are a few outdoor recreation-focused non-profits worth checking out if you're looking for a way to get outside or if you're looking for a cause to support:
1. Big City Mountaineers
Describing themselves as providing "free, fully outfitted, and professionally led backcountry trips for youth from disinvested communities, Big City Mountaineers has been helping people get outside for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Arvada, the group offers a range of options, from single-day programs to overnight camping experiences. Find out more here.
2. Adaptive Sports Association
Serving hundreds of athletes thanks to more than 250 active volunteers, Adaptive Sports Association, out of Durango, works "to provide outdoor, sport, and recreational experiences for people with disabilities." According to their website, participants in the program get to meet positive role models, increase socialization skills, improve physical fitness, and combat depression. Find out more about this organization here.
A non-profit that's been working to increase access to the outdoors since 2012, UpaDowna offers a wide range of activities to the public in Colorado Springs, including 'intro to climbing' events, group bike rides, and family-friendly hiking. They also host events that don't require a lot of sweat, while still building community, including silent discos and folk music festivals. Check this non-profit out for activities that cater to all ages. Find out more here.
4. Colorado Fourteeners Initiative
While Colorado Fourteeners Initiative isn't physically putting people out on the trail, they're making fourteener adventures more accessible through labor and education. The group responsible for maintaining, improving, and creating a number of summit-bound routes around the state, a key component of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative mission is also education. With hundreds of thousands of people climbing these routes annually, this group strives to promote safe and responsible practices in Colorado's wilderness – including through the form of trailhead kiosks. Find out more here.
5. Leave No Trace
Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, Leave No Trace is one of the most widely known non-profits among American outdoor recreation enthusiasts – for good reason. Their mission is to promote responsible practices in the outdoor recreation space, often by educating on seven key principles aimed to help people 'leave no trace' as they adventure. From outreach events to training courses to big picture initiatives, Leave Not Trace offers many opportunities for the public to get involved. Find out more here.
BONUS: Colorado Search and Rescue
Colorado's search and rescue program is volunteer-driven. If you're interested in supporting this effort that's a crucial part of safe outdoor recreation, one way to do so is through the purchase of a CORSAR card. It's cheap, at only $3 per year.
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