Category Archives: Outdoors Travel

Autumn Fun in Moab: Zip Lining, River Rafting and Hummer Tours

Hummer tours are on Moab Adventure Center’s short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah.

Moab Adventure Center, a division of Western River Expeditions, has a short list of how to enjoy autumn in the world’s red rock playground of Moab, Utah. This region becomes an artist’s dream world when fringed by the Colorado River’s yellow cottonwoods along the Colorado River and the golden aspens of the LaSal Mountains.
 
After the summer rush, daytime temperatures in September and October cool down to around the mid-70s to mid-80s. Fewer people around means more elbow room to be had on every adventure in not just one but two National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands.
 
Here are seven suggested adventures that continue through the end of November, with the exception of rafting which concludes the end of October.

  1. Fall River Rafting Adventures are full or half days, some served up with a BBQ lunch on a world-renowned stretch of the Colorado River, winding through scenes made famous by dozens of popular movies. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting
     
  2. Horseback Adventures come with cowboy-trained quarter horses. A professional wrangler leads the way on trails made famous by John Wayne himself.  Rides are three hours in the mornings and 90 minutes in the afternoons. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-horseback-riding
     
  3. Hummer Tours are conducted in style and comfort aboard the world’s most serious 4×4. Spectacular backcountry opens up in the hands of professional guides who help visitors explore seldom-seen, awe-inspiring Moab overlooks. Tours are two, three and four hours including a sunset safari. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-hummer-tours
     
  4. Zipline Tours are always a thrill, but how about skimming over sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons on Moab’s only zip line? The Raven’s Rim Moab zip line tour begins with a spine-tingling ride to the top of the cliff faces overlooking Moab, swooping like a bird of prey landing on each of six gaps.  https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-zip-line
     
  5. Hot Air Ballooning can be likened to riding a magical carpet for 3.5 hours over the astounding red rock landscape of Moab. It’s an unbelievable way to experience the sights of Moab in the quiet of the early morning. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/hot-air-balloon-rides-moab-utah
     
  6. Arches National Park Tours are stunning, morning or evening. Arches National Park Tours showcase the more accessible of more than 2,000 arches, the highest concentration on the planet, after which the park is named. https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-tours
     
  7. Mountain Bike Tours requests a commitment of 4.5 hours to experience why Moab has become the undisputed mecca for mountain bike enthusiasts from all over the world. Whether beginner or advanced the Moab Adventure Center offers professionally guided mountain biking tours on all of Moab’s classic rides.     https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-mountain-biking 

America’s red rock playground, Moab, Utah, home of two national parks that are coveted icons to explore in post-pandemic lockdowns, has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity this summer.

This influx means that visitors should “nail down your accommodations and your preferred guided excursions as soon as possible and certainly before you arrive in Moab,” said Cort Wright, manager of the Moab Adventure Center. This is the go-to outfitter for securing pre-set backcountry and national park access and tours. Moab Adventure Center specializes in all there is to do in Moab and bundles assorted activities and lodging to maximize enjoyment of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and the surrounding Colorado River country.
 
“Arrangements made in advance help deliver the peace and privacy you expect when surrounded by this natural playground,” Wright said. In fact, for early bird planners, Moab Adventure Center is offering excursions in 2022 at 2021 rates when booked this season. (www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-lodging)
 
The company has seen growing demand unleashed by the desire to return to nature and outdoor recreation. Compared to their record 2019 season, programs have seen phenomenal growth through the end of July 2021, including Moab Zipline Adventure, Arches National Park Sunset Discovery, The Ultimate Moab Canyoneering AdventureMoab Hummer Tours, and Full-Day Colorado River Rafting Adventure.

 “Making reservations well in advance of arrival helps assure that we can gear up to accommodate your specific adventure requests,” Wright said. “Now is the perfect time to plan for a fall escape to Moab. Everyone loves autumn in Moab. Just about every trip operates right through the end of October and all land-based tours through mid-November.” 
 
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs. Visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.

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Escape Adventures Introduces 5-Day Mountain Biking Tour Across Bears Ears National Monument

Escape Adventures is introducing a 5-day mountain biking tour across the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument.

(Moab, Utah) — Escape Adventures is introducing a 5-day mountain biking tour across the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument.

The trip starts at Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding, Utah, a 19th century Mormon settlement, and climbs high into the Abajo Mountains. Highlights include an array of archaeological sites and ruins, The Notch, Duck Lake, Sego Flat, Reef of Rocks, Maverick Point Overlook, Skull and Crossbones, The Causeway, and Jackson Ridge. Wildlife is abundant, and views atop the Abajo Mountains extend for 75-miles in all directions. This first-class camping tour starts at $1,299 per person. For more info, visit https://escapeadventures.com/tour/bears-ears-mountain-bike-tour/. View the full itinerary here

“This roughly 80-mile mountain biking tour covers a broad expanse of red rock, juniper forests and high plateau, while exposing riders to early human and Native American historical artifacts,” said Escape Adventures Director, Jared Fisher. 

Named after a pair of monumental 2,000-ft twin buttes, Bears Ears National Monument is a remarkable remnant of 200-million year old sand dunes. Capped in shades of pale orange to light red sandstone, the Bears Ears formation is so distinctive it can be seen, even at great distance, from nearly every direction. Framed by Dark Canyon Wilderness and the Beef Basin to the west, Comb Ridge on the east, the Grand Gulch Plateau and Cedar Mesa to the south and Canyonlands National Park to the north, this mountain bike tour takes riders through the most unique and historical landmarks southeast Utah has to offer. 

All internal land expenses and services are covered in the cost of the tour, including all transportation, food preparation, meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, group supplies and community gear are included. Backcountry permits, licenses, park fees, reservations, and accommodations are also included, along with at least two professionally trained trip leaders, a mobile first aid and mechanic station, spare bikes, and a support vehicle(s). Trip price does not include airfare, lodging prior to trip start or bicycle rental and/or camping gear unless otherwise noted on itinerary or website.

More information at https://escapeadventures.com/

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New York State Forms Partners with Tentrr for Glamping Sites in Four State Parks in Hudson Valley

Tentrr camping site at the Sebago area of Harriman State Park, New York. The tenting service has a partnership with New York State to provide 45 glamping sites at four state parks in the Hudson Valley.

New York State is partnering with a tent camping service to provide 45 glamping sites at four State Parks in the Hudson Valley. Tentrr’s fully outfitted campsites are available to reserve at the Sebago and Silver Mine areas of Harriman State Park in Orange and Rockland Counties; Taconic State Park and Lake Taghkanic State Park in Columbia County; and Mills-Norrie State Park in Dutchess County.

The service provides tents, sleeping accommodations and an array of equipment needed for camping at each site. All items are set up and ready to use upon arrival for added convenience and sites are maintained by Tentrr staff.

All locations include a 10-foot by 12-foot, canvas-walled tent atop a raised platform. Each site is outfitted with a queen-sized bed and memory foam mattress, a propane heating source, a solar-powered “sun” shower, a camp toilet, water container, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, grill, and a picnic table with storage and benches.  

Guests have the option of single, double, and triple sites. Singles sleep up to six (two occupants in the main tent and four occupants in a provided pop-up tent). Double sites – or buddy sites – sleep up to 12 (two occupants in each of the two main tents and four occupants in each of the two provided pop-up tents) and triples can accommodate group camping. 

“Camping at a State Park is an ideal way to explore the great outdoors with friends and family,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This partnership continues our work to create diverse and exciting destinations to attract visitors to New York’s great outdoors, enhance our tourism economy, and help people experience all that the State has to offer.”

“The partnership with Tentrr is an opportunity to reach new visitors and encourage more New Yorkers to get outside and be active,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “We look forward to kicking off this summer and connecting people with the Hudson Valley’s many outdoor offerings. Not everyone has the equipment or the knowledge to enjoy camping in a state park, and this partnership is a great way to introduce this classic outdoor experience to more New Yorkers.” 

“As a New York City-based company, it is great to partner with our home state supporting its incredible park system across the region,” said Todd King, Vice President of Marketing at Tentrr. “Through Tentrr, we hope New Yorkers and out-of-state visitors alike will explore the incredible natural resources and parks the state has to offer. Tentrr makes it easy to find an amazing site to enjoy the state’s vast landscapes and inspiring scenery.”

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said,”Camping is a terrific way to experience New York State’s great outdoors, and this new service will make it easier than ever to enjoy New York’s unparalleled State Parks. I LOVE NY looks forward to promoting the availability of these extensively outfitted sites as part of the wide variety of camping offerings available across the state to residents and visitors alike.”

While Tentrr’s sites are naturally socially distanced, Tentrr adheres to state guidelines for maintaining and sanitizing the sites. Tentrr will continue to keep sites clean and wiped down with high-grade sanitizers and encourages guests to follow recommended COVID requirements and protocols. For more details on Tentrr’s COVID-19 protocols, visit here

The Tentrr partnership complements Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 100 initiative, which renews the historic commitment to investing and expanding the State Park system by committing at least $440 million over the next four years. This critical period of revitalization will culminate in the 2024 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the State Park Act, which first created our nation-leading State Park system in 1924 under Governor Al Smith. NY Parks 100 will continue crucial investments in park infrastructure while enhancing opportunities to reach the full range of New York State’s recreational and cultural offerings, including local parks and trails, regional flagship parks and historic sites, and vast wilderness parks. The initiative will focus on creating places to recreate locally, relieving overcrowded parks, welcoming new visitors, and protecting New York State’s environmental and historic legacy. This new plan will ensure people from all communities and across all ages and abilities can fully experience our outdoors, our culture, and our heritage. 

For more information, visit www.tentrr.com.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram Twitter or on the State Parks blog.

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ExploreBetter Online Guide Aids Summer Travel Planning to National Parks

National Park concessionaire Delaware North launches online guide to make extraordinary outdoor adventures in America’s most iconic natural destinations more accessible for all

Hiking the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park. With travelers flocking to national parks this summer, national park concessionaire Delaware North has launched ExploreBetter.com, an online guide to aid planning © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Americans are dusting off their bucket lists ahead of summer travel season, and iconic natural destinations such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks are high on their lists. ExploreBetter.com is an online lifestyle platform that can simplify travel planning and make extraordinary outdoor adventures more accessible to first-time and even experienced National Park and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

Already, the national parks are among the most popular destinations being snapped up by travelers bursting to get out after a year of confinement. And just in time, the CDC has lifted masking and social distance requirements for those who are fully vaccinated; it is expected that the mask requirement will also been lifted for federal buildings and federal lands. At this writing, masks were still required on airplanes, trains, buses and at airports and ports.

ExploreBetter.com shares trip-planning destination insights, accommodations, activities and inspiration featuring Grand Canyon, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks as well as New York’s Niagara Falls State Park. In addition to crowd-pleasing activities such as guided tours and other sightseeing suggestions, ExploreBetter.com is also the place for inside tips on active adventures like rock climbingfishing and stargazing as well as romantic, wellness-oriented and even pet-friendly activities.

With content curated by site publisher and long-time National Park concessionaire Delaware North, ExploreBetter.com draws on insider knowledge of the parks and surrounding regions. The site plans to include contributions from members of the Bay Area Travel Writers, one of the country’s oldest regional professional travel journalist organizations, in the near future.

“First-time visits to National Parks can be overwhelming, and even seasoned visitors need fresh ideas. We’re simplifying travel planning so first-time visitors can plan with confidence and experienced visitors can always find new and exciting reasons to return,” explained Andy Grinsfelder, vice president of sales and marketing for Delaware North’s parks and resorts division. “As partners in the stewardship of many of these iconic destinations, we want visitors to experience unforgettable moments and forge deeper connections, not just with one another, but with their surroundings.”

With 2020 National Park visitation down by roughly 90 million visitors due to pandemic travel restrictions, ExploreBetter.com is intended to help encourage and restore responsible and sustainable visitation to National Parks and other iconic destinations. An upswing in National Park visitation was seen in data collected by U.S. Travel beginning in the spring of 2021, which fits with research that shows Americans continue to desire leisure trips to outdoor locations that are safe, socially distant and allow them to relax, disconnect, spend time with family and have new experiences. 

At the lodging properties it operates, Delaware North last year implemented its Rest Assured Commitment to Care comprehensive health and safety program, including re-engineered operating procedures to minimize contact risk and bolstered hygiene protocols aligned with guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Delaware North Parks and Resorts operates lodging, food, beverage and retail services, recreational activities, and educational programming at destinations in North America, Australia and New Zealand. This includes lodging in and near many iconic national and state parks, including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Olympic National Parks and Niagara Falls State Park, as well as at cultural attractions such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. To learn more about Delaware North’s hospitality management expertise, visit https://www.delawarenorth.com/divisions/parks

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NYS Launches ‘Empire State Trail Challenge’ on New 750-Mile Recreation Trail

Set A Goal To Run, Walk, or Bicycle the New 750-Mile Recreation Trail This Spring

Registration Is Now Open Here For Four-Month Challenge

Biking over the Rosendale Trestle, 150 feet above the Rondout Creek, on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, part of the 750-mile New York Empire State Trail network. The Empire State Trail has formed a partnership with the nationally-known Boilermaker race to create the “Empire State Trail Challenge” – a four-month virtual race where participants can register and log their miles to reach milestones tied to virtual progress along the Empire State Trail.  
© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Empire State Trail has formed a partnership with the nationally-known Boilermaker race to create the “Empire State Trail Challenge” – a four-month virtual race where participants can register and log their miles to reach milestones tied to virtual progress along the Empire State Trail.  

Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced completion of the Trail, now the nation’s longest multi-use state trail. Following New York’s historic canal systems and rail trails, the new recreational trail spans the state from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo, and gives bicyclists, hikers, runners, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and others a safe and scenic pathway to experience New York State’s incredibly diverse landscapes.

“The Empire State Trail Challenge brings together two giants of outdoor recreation in New York State – our new 750-mile Empire State Trail and Utica’s classic Boilermaker race,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to come back from the COVID-19 health crisis, the challenge is a great way to show how we can have fun and be New York Tough at the same time. I encourage any interested New Yorkers to participate in this exciting event on our incredible new statewide trail.” 

The Boilermaker organization has held a 15-kilometer running race in Utica since 1978, which has grown into one of the largest 15K races in the country, attracting 10,000 to 15,000 participants annually. With the Boilermaker and most in-person races postponed due to COVID, the virtual Empire State Trail Challenge initiative will engage participants and provide a unique race experience throughout the spring season. 

“Creating opportunities for healthy activity and lifestyles lies at the core of the Boilermaker mission,” Boilermaker Marketing Director Jordan Peters said. “So it was a natural fit to work in concert with New York State to provide New Yorkers with an opportunity to get outside and participate in a safe and healthy endeavor while highlighting the features of the Empire State Trail.”

The Boilermaker Empire State Trail Challenge is a four-month virtual race through July 31. Participants can register now and begin logging their miles walking, running or cycling on Friday, April 9. Participants would complete the mileage of at least one leg of the Empire State Trail: either the Hudson Valley Trail: 210 miles (New York City to Albany); the Erie Canalway Trail: 350 miles (Albany to Buffalo); or the Champlain Valley: 190 miles (Albany to Canada Border at Rouses Point). Participants can sign up as teams or individuals. For more information or to register, visit the website.

Although people are encouraged to the explore the actual Empire State Trail, participants can run, walk, or ride anywhere geographically, on local trails and running/bicycling routes near where they live to log and complete the challenge.

Each entrant would receive a t-shirt with their $25 entrance fee for a single leg of the trail. If interested, participants can register for additional legs at the time of registration or any time during the race period at $5 per leg. Challenge participants will enter their mileage on an online platform over the duration of the race window, reaching milestones tied to virtual progress along the Empire State Trail, and have the ability to share their experiences on social media.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “The Empire State Trail Challenge is one of the ways we are building back better at our state parks and trails. Our parks and trails have been safe and healthy outlets for everyone during the pandemic. Whether enjoying a fun nature break with friends and family, or truly testing their limits, the Empire State Trail Challenge offers participants of all ages and abilities a rewarding and socially distanced opportunity to enjoy New York’s outdoors.”

“The partnership with the Boilermaker is a great way to introduce the Empire State Trail to those across New York State and the nation who take part in the storied race every year,” Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers said. “The Empire State Trail is an ideal pathway for runners, bicyclists, and walkers to get outside and exercise, while learning about the iconic landscapes, local communities, and historic and cultural attractions along the 750-mile trail. 

Director of the New York State Canal Corporation Brian U. Stratton said, “This exciting new partnership will offer thousands of New Yorkers and Boilermaker runners from around the country a chance to see the very best of our state, encouraging safe and responsible outdoor recreation along the lengths of the Empire State Trail. Governor Cuomo’s ongoing Reimagine the Canals program is based on forward-looking partnerships like this, which bring together communities and New Yorkers to lift up local economies and showcase the exceptional history of the Erie Canal, as well as the tremendous upgrades and new attractions being constructed along its banks.”

“The Empire State Trail is the newest jewel in New York State’s tourism crown and the Challenge is an opportunity to promote the trail to those looking for unique ways to experience the great outdoors,” New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said. “We hope that events like the Empire State Trail Challenge inspire more people to utilize the trail as a centerpiece of a getaway to the many the communities it touches across the state.”

The Empire State Trail website provides quick and easy access to trail information along the 750-mile route including segment descriptions and an on-line map identifying off-road trails connecting on-road sections, trail distances, designated parking areas, restrooms, and nearby amenities and attractions.

See also:

Cycle the Erie 8-Day, 400-Mile Bike Adventure Registration Now Open for Limited 350 Spots

NEW YORK’S EMPIRE STATE TRAIL COMES TOGETHER: BIKING THE WALLKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL IN HUDSON VALLEY

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New York State Launches Adopt-a-Trailhead Volunteer Program

Hiking New York’s Adirondacks. NYS has created a new program of trailhead volunteers to assist with the stewardship of trailheads across the state and educate trail users before they enter the backcountry. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York State has launched a new initiative to assist with the stewardship of trailheads across the state and educate trail users before they enter the backcountry. Introduced in the Governor’s 2021 State of the State address, the Adopt-a-Trailhead program is managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and gives the public the opportunity to support State-led efforts to care for state lands and educate fellow visitors on the value of responsible recreation.

“Over this last year, we have seen record numbers of New Yorkers and visitors utilizing our world-class trails and natural areas while seeking a break from the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “As New York remains fully committed to making sustained investments in our natural resources and responsibly increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation on state lands, this new program offers an excellent volunteering opportunity for New Yorkers to help the State ensure our trails are ready for the growing number of hikers and visitors.”

In recent years, particularly in 2020 as New Yorkers eagerly pursued safe outdoor recreation experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the State has seen an increase in the number of visitors to parks, lands, and trails. Outdoor recreation has been a crucial part of helping New Yorkers stay active, spend time with immediate household and family members, and reduce stress and anxiety. Consistent with the NY Forward phased reopening plan, New Yorkers are encouraged to recreate locally in their region (PDF). Each of the state’s 10 REDC regions have a wide variety of recreational opportunities available for the public to explore and enjoy. While this uptick provides an opportunity for more New Yorkers to explore the state’s scenic natural areas, many of these new users are inexperienced in back-country recreation, leading to mistakes that are potentially harmful to themselves and the environment.  

Adopt-a-Trailhead volunteers will bolster ongoing efforts to eliminate litter problems and educate trail users about hiker preparedness, thus eliminating the amount of trash left at trailheads and encouraging proper disposal of human waste while in the woods. DEC land managers will be identifying trailheads that will benefit most from the new program. Volunteers and DEC will continue to encourage hikers to Hike Smart NY and follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace while hiking. LNT is a set of outdoor ethics developed to educate recreationists on how to best enjoy the outdoors while minimizing their impact. In addition, DEC continues to encourage visitors to the Adirondacks to seek out nearby alternative hikes that provide an experience similar to a High Peaks hike, including great scenic views, but with fewer people.

“New York’s public lands and trails are beloved by thousands of visitors in every corner of the state,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. ”The new Adopt-a-Trailhead program provides New Yorkers who are committed to caring for public lands with the opportunity to help DEC sustain and maintain these natural assets for future generations, as well as for their own enjoyment.”

Introduced in Governor Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State Address, the Adopt-a-Trailhead program is an initiative to enhance opportunities to encourage outdoor recreation and empower volunteers to help maintain trailheads. Groups interested in volunteering for the program should submit an Adopt-a-Trailhead volunteer application to volunteer.stewardship@dec.ny.gov (emailed applications are preferred) or via mail to: NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests, Attn: Adopt-a-Trailhead Coordinator, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233.

After applications are approved, groups and individuals will be assigned to a trailhead in their area. Participation in the Adopt-a-Trailhead program will include:

  • A series of online training courses focused on LNT principles, visitor interaction, and visitor education; 
  • Virtual meetings with DEC program staff to answer questions and share suggestions;
  • Spending time at assigned trailheads during weekend mornings, including holiday weekends and some Friday afternoons, depending on the location; and
  • Monthly reports highlighting statistics such as number of volunteers that participated and number of hours spent at the trailhead.

“Empowering trail users to enjoy natural areas safely and responsibly is exactly what is needed to help ensure these special places aren’t subject to misuse—accidental or otherwise,” New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Executive Director Joshua Howard said. “The Adopt a Trailhead program will allow more visitors to get the one-on-one guidance and education that we have seen to be so effective through our Trail Steward program on the Catskill summits. We are proud supporters of this initiative and the opportunity it presents to share Leave No Trace principles and best practices with the growing number of new and returning visitors to public lands.”

“ADK greatly supports this new statewide Adopt-a-Trailhead volunteer program,” Executive Director of Adirondack Mountain Club Michael Barrett said. “In-person educators at trailheads are a powerful way to both help visitors enjoy the outdoors responsibly and ignite a passion for taking care of public lands well into the future.”

New Yorkers getting outdoors should use common sense in planning outdoor activities because public facilities like restrooms or other amenities may not be available. Use the DECinfo Locator to find DEC-managed resources and visit DEC’s website for more information. DEC continues to remind outdoor enthusiasts to be SMART when recreating this year:

  • Socially distance at least six feet apart;
  • Mask – Wear one when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths;
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible;
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling; and
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles.

The AAT program supports DEC’s comprehensive and ongoing efforts to sustainably manage increased visitation to public lands and will provide important information to guide future land management decisions. The program also complements recommendations included in the High Peaks Advisory Group’s final report on promoting sustainable recreation in the Adirondack Park. Comprised of stakeholders with expertise in local government, recreation, natural resource protection, business, and tourism, in 2019 the HPAG was tasked with providing DEC with recommendations on how to address critical issues associated with increased public use of High Peaks resources in order to protect these areas in the short and long term, as well as for future generations. Visit the DEC website to read the report.

For more information on the AAT program, visit DEC’s website here.

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6 Post Vaccination Vacations

Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, free annual national park pass and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences.

President Joe Biden’s recent announcement that the United States will have enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults by the end of May – two months earlier than previously thought – is promising news for travelers. Precautions will still need to be taken, of course, but domestic travel is likely to be popular again this summer, highlighted by national parks, active trips and travel where physical distancing is possible. Here are six dream vacations to take this summer once you’ve gotten your shots.

1. Long-Weekend Cycling: Adventure Cycling Association is offering a new collection of long-weekend tours close metropolitan areas to make it easy to give bike travel a try. Options include taking in the crisp mountain air and stunning vistas while cycling around the stunning Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border, or leaving behind the hustle and bustle of New York City to bike up the Hudson River valley and visit peaceful state parks. https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/long-weekend-tours/

2. Greater Yellowstone Adventures: A stay at The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky, Montana, offers the opportunity to explore the surrounding mountains, rivers and Yellowstone National Park. Go hiking through shaded forests and wildflower-filled alpine meadows, float or fly fish a clear, cool river, experience the adrenaline rush of lift-served mountain biking at Big Sky Resort, or tour the natural wonders and wildlife of Yellowstone. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

3. Explore National Parks by RV: Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, free annual national park pass and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides and other hand-picked attractions. https://www.blacksford.com  

4. Channel Your Inner Cowboy: “Yellowstone,” the wildly popular cable television series starring Kevin Costner, has sparked newfound interest in luxury dude ranch vacations. Red Reflet Ranch, a 28,000-acre guest ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, has experienced a surge of guests booking five-figure vacations because of their love for the series. Guests stay in fully-stocked private cabins and enjoy farm-to-table cuisine while participating in equestrian programs, cattle branding, hiking, mountain biking, ATVing, fly fishing, shooting, family-friendly activities and cooking classes. https://red-reflet-ranch.net/

5. Idaho Hot Springs, Camping and Cycling: Escape Adventures is excited to offer a multiday cycling tour showcasing Idaho’s magnificent Sawtooth Range and some of the state’s most scenic natural hot springs. The tour includes five days of transfixing road rides – including over the highest paved road in the American Northwest – colorful mining towns, wild rivers and remote natural hot springs. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/sawtooth-mountains-idaho-road-bike-tour

6. Retreat to a Teton Tiny House: With sustainably built, LEED-certified “tiny house” cabins, Fireside Resort is Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s most innovative take on resort town lodging. The resort embraces modern, yet rustic design and presents a fresh approach to luxury lodging. Nestled in a wooded setting at the foot of the Teton Range, the cabins allow guests to get back to nature while enjoying the intimacy of a boutique hotel and the ambiance of their own cozy residence. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/

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REI Focuses on Domestic Outdoor Experiences With Aim to Help 3 Million Get Outdoors Annually; Discontinues International Adventure Trips

Camping in Letchworth State Park, New York. REI Co-op is revising plans for the future of its experiences business with a goal of getting 3 million people outdoors each year through its experiences programs, which will focus exclusively on U.S. domestic adventures. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SEATTLE – REI Co-op is revising plans for the future of its experiences business with a goal of getting 3 million people outdoors each year through its experiences programs, which will focus exclusively on U.S. domestic adventures.

The co-op is investing in an expanded network of experiences close to iconic U.S. outdoor destinations, building on its expertise of small group active travel and local programming currently offered across the nation. REI expects to launch at least 12 new experience centers in the next two years where customers can tap into REI’s guided tours, gear rental and instruction. As part of the announcement, the co-op will discontinue its international adventure travel trips effective May 2021 in order to invest in its domestic travel growth strategy and expand offerings in hiking and camping, backpacking, cycling, women’s only, under-35, family and weekend adventures.

With more than 100 itineraries across the United States, REI adventure travel offers one of the broadest activity assortments of any U.S.-based tour operator. Sales of REI domestic adventure trips have gotten off to a fast start in 2021. As of March, domestic trips were up by 28 percent compared to 2019, making it one the strongest years in adventure travel sales.

“REI is a leader at getting people outside. We’re the only national organization with a wide range of experiences that provide life-changing outdoor moments, whatever someone’s skill level may be,” said Curtis Kopf, who was recently named REI’s chief experience officer. “The co-op’s bold investment in our U.S. experiences will help us welcome more people into the outdoors by making nature more accessible and attainable for everyone.”

A leader with REI since 2018, Kopf’s new role is an evolution of his previous oversight over REI’s experiences and digital divisions. As chief experience officer, he will oversee REI’s acceleration of efforts to design and build differentiated customer experiences that are interconnected across the company in physical locations, digital platforms and hosted experiences.

In recent years, REI annually has helped over 310,000 individuals across the country progress their outdoor interests and explore iconic outdoor destinations like national parks. Beyond multiday adventures, REI also offers fun and educational local experiences in major markets across the country through beginner-to advanced-level classes and guided day tours for hiking, cycling, paddling, climbing and more. REI is a top provider of how to ride a bike classes and wilderness training through its long partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The co-op also operates a destination adventure center based in Scottsdale, Arizona with gear rentals, day tours and education for residents and tourists visiting the region.

As REI focuses exclusively on U.S. domestic adventure travel and experiences, the co-op will provide full refunds to any guest who was booked on an international adventure. The co-op’s final international trip will depart in early May. All camping and hiking gear provided by REI to its international vendor network will remain in country for the continued use by individual operators.

REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. One of the nation’s largest consumer co-ops, REI is a growing community of more than 19 million members. REI has 168 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.

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Lindblad Expeditions Acquires Duvine Cycling, Off the Beaten Path Adventure Travel Companies

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences has acquired majority stakes in DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., a leading luxury cycling and adventure travel company, and Off the Beaten Path LLC, a leading active travel operator with a specialization in U.S. national parks. 

NEW YORK– Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences today announced that it has acquired majority stakes in DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., a leading luxury cycling and adventure travel company, and Off the Beaten Path LLC, a leading active travel operator with a specialization in U.S. National Parks.  These acquisitions further broaden and deepen Lindblad’s platform of high-quality experiential product offerings in robust adventure travel sectors, including the rapidly growing cycling tourism and domestic expedition market.

Similar to the acquisition of Natural Habitat, Inc., Lindblad will leverage its experience and resources to accelerate the growth of these unique and profitable businesses and capitalize on the growing demand for authentic and immersive adventure travel. These best-in-class companies are also united by a focus on nature and sustainability, and will benefit from Lindblad’s and Natural Habitat’s scale, resources, marketing experience and conservation leadership. 

DuVine is an award-winning international luxury cycling and adventure company based in Somerville, Massachusetts focused on providing immersive cultural experiences across the globe through thoughtfully designed itineraries led by expert local guides.  DuVine’s trips include top-quality gear and support and are tailored to riders of all abilities with emphasis on exceptional food and wine experiences, along with boutique accommodations.  DuVine also currently runs a variety of extraordinary trips that combine sail and biking experiences, which will be further expanded as part of Lindblad.  Founded in 1996 by Andy Levine, DuVine’s diverse tour offerings include small group and private custom trips to destinations across Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia and Africa.  Mr. Levine will retain an ownership interest in DuVine and will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer of the new Lindblad subsidiary.

Off the Beaten Path, based in Bozeman, Montana, offers active small-group and private custom journeys around the world, with a long-standing focus on U.S. National Parks and connecting the heart of the traveler with the soul of the place through localized, authentic experiences.  Founded in 1986, Off the Beaten Path’s small group product offerings include unique expeditions throughout the U.S, as well as trips across Europe, Africa, Australia, Central and South America and the South Pacific.  Cory Lawrence, Off the Beaten Path’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will retain an ownership interest in Off the Beaten Path and continue in this role for the new Lindblad subsidiary.

“Bringing DuVine and Off the Beaten Path into our portfolio of brands will allow us to better serve a broader based clientele that has a diverse set of travel interests”, stated Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.  “The high level of quality and integrity of both these companies makes them perfect partners in our strategy of expanding our platform of experiential offerings.  Our proven ability to leverage our platform and effectively cross market creates the opportunity to accelerate growth across our entire portfolio, and we will continue to look for additional opportunities to broaden and deepen our adventure travel offerings, both organically and through acquisitions, to aggregate larger audiences and generate greater lifetime value from our loyal guests.” 

Ben Bressler, Founder and President of Natural Habitat is enthusiastic about the joining of forces. “DuVine offers invigorating experiences in nature for our more active guests, and Off the Beaten Path’s exceptional depth in creating custom U.S. national park adventures will appeal to Nat Hab travelers,” Bressler stated.  “These two companies provide Lindblad and Nat Hab guests a depth of choice for premium life-enhancing travel experiences within a family of complementary brands – all driven by protecting our planet and inspiring travelers.” 

Andy Levine, DuVine’s Founder and President, stated  “I have long admired Lindblad for their exceptional expeditions and commitment to responsible travel, a core value that has also guided DuVine’s philosophy. Our companies share not only a desire to sustain the world’s most compelling cultures and communities, but also the belief that authentic, deeply rooted experiences make travel more fulfilling. DuVine’s journeys offer a new perspective grounded in active travel, local flavor, and an appreciation of nature from the seat of a bicycle. I can’t wait to introduce the transformative power of bike travel to a greater audience of adventure seekers.”

Cory Lawrence, Off the Beaten Path’s President, stated “We couldn’t be more excited to join Lindblad Expeditions and Natural Habitat Adventures to further our mission to change peoples’ lives through exceptional travel experiences. With our unique style of travel, strong domestic presence, and small group and bespoke travel design offerings, we are well-positioned to have immediate impact on the newly expanded family of companies. Expanding awareness of Off the Beaten Path and its unique offerings by leveraging the reach and expertise of both Lindblad and Natural Habitat is a major opportunity for our company in its 35th year of operation. We are thrilled!”

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. is an expedition travel company that focuses on ship-based voyages through its Lindblad Expeditions brand and on land-based travel through its subsidiaries, Natural Habitat Adventures, Off the Beaten Path and DuVine Cycling and Adventure.

Lindblad Expeditions works in partnership with National Geographic to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. The organizations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.

Natural Habitat Adventures partners with the World Wildlife Fund to offer and promote conservation and sustainable travel that directly protects nature. Natural Habitat’s adventures include polar bear tours in Churchill, Canada, Alaskan grizzly bear adventures and African safaris.

DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. designs and leads luxury bike tours in the world’s most amazing destinations, from Italy’s sun-bleached villages and the medieval towns of Provence to Portugal’s Douro Valley and the vineyards of Napa, California. Guests bike, eat, drink, and sleep their way through these regions and many more while sampling the finest cuisine, hotels, and wine. 

Off the Beaten Path is an outdoor, active travel company offering guided small group adventures and private custom journeys that connect travelers with the wild nature and authentic culture of their destinations.  Off the Beaten Path’s trips extend across the globe, with a focus on exceptional national park experiences in the Rocky Mountains, Desert Southwest, and Alaska.

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With Demand for RV Vacations Surging, Tracks & Trails to Start Taking 2022 Bookings in April

Driving through the wintery scenery in Zion National Park. With demand for RV vacations surging, Tracks & Trails, which specializes in packaged RV vacations in national parks such as Zion, is opening reservations for 2022 © Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – It is no mystery why RV vacations are the hottest thing going in travel today. They offer the freedom and flexibility of touring the country in a fully-equipped and self-contained unit that has everything needed for a perfect vacation. Picture it as your personal cabin on wheels going to scenic places where lodges or hotels often don’t exist.

This is the allure of RV travel, which is especially appealing during a pandemic, reports Dan Wulfman, founder and president of Tracks & Trails, whose specialty is packaging RV vacations to National Parks in the Western U.S. and Canada – not just renting the RV.

RV travel allows friends and families to be autonomous and as private as they please while enjoying the freedom of America’s open roads. Time for lunch? Just pull off at the next scenic turnout and open the fridge. Potty stop? Easy. End the day in the natural beauty of national park campsites chosen especially for Tracks & Trails travelers. 

Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into aspiring RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.

“But getting in an RV and setting off without a plan can be daunting for a first-timer,” says Wulfman. That’s where the sage advice, travel tips, and insider knowledge of experts can make or break the experience. Thanks to COVID, choosing your dates 6 to 12 months in advance is now essential. Due to the growing popularity of RV vacations, Tracks & Trails is sold out for July and August of 2021, but trips in September and October are still available. 

Due to unprecedented demand, the company will begin accepting reservations for 2022 trips on April 1, 2021. 

For those savvy enough to lock in their dates early, the hard part is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 7-14 day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the right RV, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, and preparing comprehensive documentation that ensures things go smoothly on the road.

FEATURED ITINERARY:

Mighty 5: Utah & the Grand Canyon is a 13-night itinerary beginning and ending in Las Vegas that visits all 5 of Utah’s national parks – Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches – as well as the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks features fascinating geological formations and extensive hiking trails. Optional excursions include canyoneering, rafting, ATV riding, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. The base trip cost, which includes up to 4 people, ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 and is available from May 15 to October 15 (sold out July-August 2021).

Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.

For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries please visit the website at www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

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