While many Coloradans are fortunate enough to have access to the outdoor recreation area, this is not always the case. Financial and physical factors can often act as barriers to entry, as can simply being reluctant to venture into the unknown.
Part of OutThere Colorado’s mission is to improve access to outdoor recreation through information and education about digital content. When it comes to increasing access to outdoor recreation through offline efforts, there are a number of great nonprofit organizations in the state of Colorado.
Here are a few nonprofits focused on outdoor recreation that are worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to get outside or if you’re looking for a good cause to support:
1. Urban climber
Big City Mountaineers describes itself as a provider of “free, fully-equipped, professionally guided backcountry excursions for youth from disinvested communities and has been helping people get outside for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Arvada, the group offers a range of options from singles day programs to overnight camping experiences. Learn more here.
2. Adaptive Sports Association
The Adaptive Sports Association of Durango, which serves hundreds of athletes thanks to more than 250 active volunteers, works to “bring outdoor, sports and recreational experiences to people with disabilities.” According to their website, participants in the program learn about positive role models, improve socialization skills, improve physical fitness, and fight depression. Learn more about this organization here.
3. Up down
UpaDowna is a non-profit organization working to improve access to nature since 2012 and offers a wide range of activities to the Colorado Springs public, including introductory rock climbing events, group biking and family-friendly hiking. They also host events that don’t require a lot of sweat while building community, including silent discos and folk music festivals. This non-profit organization has activities for all ages. Learn more here.
4. Colorado Fourteeners Initiative
While the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative doesn’t physically get people on track, they make Fourteener adventures more accessible through work and education. The group responsible for maintaining, enhancing, and creating a number of summit routes across the state is a key component of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative’s mission, including education. With hundreds of thousands of people scaling these routes annually, this group strives to promote safe and responsible practices in Colorado’s wilderness — including through the form of trailhead kiosks. Learn more here.
5. Leave no trace
Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, Leave No Trace is one of the most well-known nonprofit organizations among American outdoor enthusiasts—and with good reason. Their mission is to promote responsible outdoor recreation practices, often by educating about seven key principles aimed at helping people “leave no trace” in their adventures. From outreach events to training to big picture initiatives, Leave Not Trace offers many opportunities for the public to get involved. Learn more here.
BONUS: Search and Rescue in Colorado
Colorado’s search and rescue program is run by volunteers. If you’re interested in supporting these efforts, which are a crucial part of safe outdoor recreation, one of the ways you can do so is by purchasing a CORSAR card. It’s cheap, at just $3 a year.
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