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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU launches adventure program for students

New Mexico State University students who want to learn to climb a mountain or go backpacking in the forest now have a new Outdoor Adventure Program to lead the way.

lege of Education launched the program this fall to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for the university community. The program, which encourages students to explore the world around them, will include courses, weekend outings and clinics in rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, caving, rafting, kayaking, alpine skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, canoeing and more.

"The more time students spend recreating in the outdoors, it is likely they will have more knowledge and thus enjoyment of nature. This enjoyment often translates into a desire to protect and preserve our outdoors," said Monique Villar, assistant director for the program. "This Outdoor Adventure Program allows students to have fun and learn while they are at it."

Villar said the activities are designed for students with little experience, but more advanced offerings will be available.

"I plan to involve the entire NMSU community in the Outdoor Adventure Program by providing a variety of trips and outings," Villar said.

Funding from the Associated Students of New Mexico State University makes it possible to offer the trips at reasonable prices. The first adventure outing - backpacking in the Gila National Forest - is scheduled for Sept. 17-19. The cost is only $20 and includes hiking, camping and a tour of the cliff dwellings. Other trips for this fall include mountain biking in the Lincoln National Forest, climbing at Hueco Tanks, stargazing at White Sands National Monument, caving at Carlsbad Caverns, a family mountain bike ride in the Dona Ana Mountains and skiing in Wolf Creek, Colo.

"There are many amazing places within a few hours of Las Cruces for outdoor adventurers. This program provides students the opportunity to explore these areas and to discover the natural beauty that surrounds them," Villar said. "I really want our students to learn how to thrive in the outdoors. It's amazing to see the transformation of people who experience the wilderness for the first time."

The program also offers a climbing wall and resource center where students can plan their own trips or hold meetings for student clubs geared towards recreation - ski club, kineseology club, etc. The center provides outdoor gear such as tents and canoes for students to check out for a minimal deposit.

Villar said this spring the program will have space for students to work on their bikes and plans to have a bike mechanic on duty to assist. The climbing wall is open seven days a week with varying hours on each day. The resource center is open Monday-Friday in the late afternoon and evening.

For more information call the Outdoor Adventure Program office at (505) 646-4252. To look at schedules for planned outings, the climbing wall or the resource center, go to http://education.nmsu.edu/outdooradventure/