Free out of doors gear library in Cortez will get new web site – The Journal


Kristen Tworek, Associate Director of the School Community Youth Collaborative, poses at the Equipment Lending Library in August 2021.

Parkinson’s color

Residents now have more access to recreation

The Cortez Free Outdoor Gear Library, sponsored by Great Outdoors Colorado, Montezuma Inspire Coalition and the School Community Youth Collaborative, has a new website that makes renting outdoor gear easier than ever.

The Gear Lending Library was launched in 2020 to lend outdoor gear to organizations, individuals and families who may not be able to afford or have access to gear. The library makes it much easier for parents to take their kids on outdoor adventure trips.

Recognizing the need for equipment and that a lack of proper equipment can discourage people from participating in outdoor activities, the Cortez Library sponsors set about making sure the equipment was readily available.

“We hope to break down the barrier by providing equipment to local organizations and individuals so that children, youth and families can experience nature,” the library’s website reads.

Christine Brice-Nelson, director of the School Community Youth Collaborative, says the library is a sustainable way to enjoy Colorado outdoors.

“If someone is only using (the gear) for a short time, like a trip or two, they can come and rent it from us and not just have to use a backpack a couple of times and get rid of it,” she said.

The library also allows users to try activities like mountain biking or paddleboarding before investing in their own gear.

The Montezuma Inspire Coalition, which hosts the Gear Library website, is a group of 10 nonprofit organizations passionate about helping children get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Their mission is “to serve every child in every ZIP” and “to provide more opportunities for all of the youth in our county to experience the great outdoors.”

They also hope that young people will help run the library. In recent years, Iinanibaa Cordova has been the young person who has been actively involved in library support and rentals.

The website allows people to view and reserve equipment. As equipment is subject to availability and has limited availability, it should be ordered at least 24 hours in advance.

While the equipment is free, a $10 security deposit is required but will be refunded once the outdoor gear is returned and in good condition. A liability form is required prior to pickup.

Equipment is purchased through funding from Great Outdoors Colorado and is available to everyone in the community. As of August 2022, the library has served 305 people for the year. Next year the goal is to serve at least 500.

The gear pickup location is north of the Cortez Recreation Center by the tennis courts. Summer hours are 4:00pm to 7:00pm Monday to Thursday and fall hours – which began on September 19th – are 4:30pm to 6:00pm Monday to Thursday

Some of the gear available for camping trips are water jugs, sleeping bags, backpacks, tents and camping stoves.

Outdoor adventure gear includes life jackets, snowshoes, snowshoes, bicycles, disc golf sets, paddleboards, skis, sleds, river tubes, and kayaks.

Other items available for a day at the park or other activities include cornholes, helmets, skateboards, scooters, tennis racquets and balls, pickleball sets, soccer balls, basketballs, and more.

For more information about the Outdoor Gear Library or to reserve gear, visit the website online at: