Do you Adventure Like You Give a Damn?

04.22.16

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Do you Adventure Like You Give a Damn?
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We believe good things come from people spending time outside. It’s about more than standing on the mountain top. It’s about nourishment and learning. It’s about protecting what sustains us. It’s about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. This is our story, it’s what drives us at Outdoor Project, and it’s the message that greets readers when you reach the webpage dedicated to our community and our story.

This is a community-oriented statement of our values and we’re proud of it. It’s why the word ‘project’ is in our name. Accomplishing our vision means working with a lot of people, building a community dedicated to turning outdoor enthusiasm into real action. It’s a community that includes you.

So as another Earth Day comes around, we have chosen it as an opportunity to share a major initiative with you. We are calling it Adventure Like You Give a Damn. We have been discussing and working on this internally, and in countless conversations with our partners, since Outdoor Project was launched. It is something we aspire to every time we go outside, and it’s a motto we hope you’ll join us in living out.

Inspiration

Do you remember when you first stood beneath a waterfall or took in the view below from a mountain summit? The emotions accompanying these experiences last a lifetime, and we of the outdoor-loving ilk seek them out time and again. This is the wellspring of our desire to protect the places we love and help others have those same opportunities.

Our actions set a model for those who watch us. Our generosity of spirit and gentle guidance helps others feel at home in a new place or while taking on a new challenge. Accomplishing our goals becomes an inspiration for others to set and meet their own. And our missteps are things we learn from and apply to the future.

To us, Adventure Like You Give a Damn is a promise to:

  1. Inspire you to explore new places. A photo is just a snapshot in time, but hopefully it sets you on the start of your own story. So was the case with Cameron Derbyshire, who went from once being a guy who doesn't hike to now being our guide on an off-trail bushwhack through a rugged coastal forest to the Devils Staircase waterfall.
  2. Make daily decisions with the environment in mind. Let’s all remember that there is no “away”.
  3. Treat fellow adventurers with respect and generosity. We are all ambassadors for those we meet on the trail. This means providing a helping hand when needed and using our actions as teaching tools, inspiring others to do the same. Sometimes this means helping an injured hiker off a mountain, or it could be as simple as asking someone if they need any assistance, especially when the potential for injury is involved. Off the trail this means sharing words of encouragement with the newly initiated and resources to help anyone get more involved in different outdoor pursuits.
Photo by Aron Bosworth.

How do you inspire when you Adventure Like you Give a Damn?

Knowledge

Edward Abbey once wrote: "Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion." He served for many of us as a guide to the ways our landscape was being changed by the forces around us, and his legacy continues to inspire discovery, introspection, and activism.

Cruel truths are still commonplace today. From a global level, climate change means weather patterns are reshaping entire ecosystems, biodiversity is declining as more species are under threat now than at any other point in the last 10,000 years, and seemingly nowhere is left out of reach for development to serve humanity's incessant hunger for growth.

But not all truths are cruel. Knowledge is found through building personal skills and gaining the abilities needed to explore the outdoors. Spending time in the backcountry requires knowledge of weather conditions, gear, safety, and the ethics of leave no trace.

From skill building to sharing critical issues impacting the places we love, knowledge and capacity building is a necessary step to then take action and move the needle on issues we care about.

To us, Adventure Like You Give a Damn is a promise to:

  1. Provide useful informational resources. We’ve all heard of Leave No Trace, but do you know how to apply the seven principles? And how about the ways to make coffee in the backcountry or fashion a makeshift splint for an injured ankle? From the basics of lightweight backpacking to information on becoming a Wilderness First Responder, we will continue to provide useful educational content so that going outside involves being prepared, knowing and abiding by the rules and regulations in place, and discovering how and where to build new skills.
  2. Connect you to local issues and the conservation groups working to protect the places we love. From Oil Trains in the Columbia River Gorge and reintroducing Grizzly Bears in the North Cascades, to the efforts to create a broader wilderness area encompassing Crater Lake National Park, there are many groups working on critical issues in the outdoors that need our support.
  3. Talk about shit. Literally. Because no one likes it when their favorite hot spring is closed due to an E. coli outbreak, let alone when a great camping spot is trashed with used toilet paper and a stranger’s unburied crap pile.
Photo by Eric Guth.

How do you grow when you Adventure Like you Give a Damn?

Action

Large conservation and restoration projects are becoming increasingly commonplace. Efforts to remove dams such as those along the Elwha River, and soon, those along the Klamath River, were the result of collaboration between environmentalists, utilities, Native American tribes and the federal government. Building public support for these projects, with demonstrations, town hall meetings, petitions, and email campaigns, has become a major tool to enact change. The same is true for efforts to keep development at bay in areas where recreation and nature protection competes with more traditional forms of economic development.

Action doesn't always have to take place on a large scale. Many of us remember the person who showed us how build a campfire for the first time, or the stranger that offered the helpful hand when we got lost on the trail. We pick up garbage others leave behind, removing a distraction for the next person behind us on the trail.

To us, Adventure Like You Give a Damn is a promise to:

  1. Leave it in better condition than we found it. In the backcountry there are no street sweepers to clean up the litter left behind. We bring our garbage back home with us, and bringing a little more that we find along the way is as easy as bending over to pick it up.
  2. Give back. Next up on our slate is our Summer Solstice Party where we’ll be raising funds and awareness to support Outdoor School for All.
  3. Get our organization’s hands dirty in the issues we care about. Getting dirty feels good! Want to join us? Help us organize a trail maintenance day or join us on one. Volunteer to write a dispatch post about an issue you care about. Read about the organizations we work with and volunteer to assist them with their efforts. Donate to causes.

How do you act as a steward when you Adventure Like you Give a Damn?

Join Us

Commit to the promises above as an individual by sharing stories and photos of how you inspire, inform and act as a steward while you #AdventureLikeYouGiveADamn, and ask your friends to do the same.

This time there are no giveaways or prizes, just the reality that making this small commitment gets the conversation started. We are going to keep it going by following on all of the above in the coming months, years and beyond, and hope you do the same.

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Published in collaboration with OutdoorProject.org

Working in conjunction with Outdoor Project, OutdoorProject.org, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, works to support and promote other non-profit groups already doing great work in the areas of outdoor conservation and environmental education. In addition OutdoorProject.org creates inspired and enriching outdoor educational content.

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