Fresno State gets its first Outdoor Recreation Program

Hikers reach the vista point at Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park in California on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Three visitors reportedly died after getting swept over the waterfall on Tuesday. (Eric Paul Zamora/Fresno Bee/MCT)

Fresno State begins its first year providing an Outdoor Recreation Program (ORP) that allows students to travel and experience California’s great outdoors.  

Creator of the program, Dr. Jason Whiting, of the recreational administration department, said, “With Yosemite and all of these amazing places surrounding us, I was really shocked that we didn’t have an ORP.”

Whiting came from the University of Georgia. He said, “Coming from a school where we had 70 trips a year; we were sending students on trips to Fiji and all over the place. When I began working at Fresno State and found out we had nothing like it, I knew it was really important to change that.”

Because of Whiting’s motivation to implement the ORP, there will now be a total of six trips over the course of the fall and spring semesters. The program also offers other clinics, such as introductory to rock climbing.

The ORP also promotes student involvement in a healthy, active lifestyle, Whiting said.

The program also creates another outlet for students to meet others who share a common interest in exploring.

With trips as low as $30, students are able to travel without stretching their budgets.

“Almost all of the equipment is included. If you’re on a backpacking trip, the backpack is included, etc. The only thing students need to buy separately would be their food,” Whiting said.

The next trip will be an overnight backpacking trip to Twin Lakes near Shaver Lake on Sept. 16-17. The trip involves swimming, exploring and a chance to escape Fresno’s heat.  

The cost of the Twin Lakes trip begins at $50 per student, and it includes transportation, backpack, pad, sleeping bag and tent. The gas alone to Twin Lakes would roughly cost $50 roundtrip, so the fee essentially pays for itself before you even step out of the van, Whiting noted.

On each trip there will be experienced leaders who will guide students around.

Another trip coming up is Oct. 22 to Yosemite National Park. The day-trip will take students to Yosemite for a hike up to Vernal Falls. Prices for the Yosemite trip start at $30, and transportation is included.

Vernal Falls is known for its’ waterfalls that drop a combined total of 900 feet.

The one-day trip is perfect for students who are trying to ease their way into the outdoors. There is no camping necessary and you don’t even need equipment, Whiting said.

You can find more information about the trips and clinics on Fresno State’s website if you search “ORP.” Whiting says he hopes that students will take advantage of this opportunity to get active, get involved with nature and take a break from their daily routine.

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