Gib Roland and Brandon and Jeni Knight, co-owners of RAK Outfitters, have mulled over this question before and decided they wanted to find a way to bring people together who enjoy hiking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, biking and trail running in Gordon County.
These friends thought it would be a good way to keep youth and adults active, and at the same time, those interested in joining the group could meet new people with the same interest.
On March 30, their journey into forming the first ever-outdoor club began during an informational meeting at Velo Vineyard/Cherokee cycles in downtown Calhoun. The group will be called Northwest Georgia Outdoors and will accept children and adults as members.
“Our idea is to bring people together whether it’s cycling or paddling or hiking and make it more of a group thing,” Knight said.
Knight mentioned that he would like to model the group after the Atlanta Outdoor Club, with a calendar of events, activities and informational classes. His ideas also included instructional classes for repairing flat tires on bicycles, the proper technique for paddling and loading backpacks.
While still in its infancy, the group’s main function will be coordinating and organizing trips with groups that already have outdoor trips planned or need volunteers. Instructional classes for youth and adults in the community and surrounding areas are also a future possibility.
Most trips and instructional classes will be free with some small fees, and members will have the freedom to lead activities and also perform first aid and safety.
Find NGO on Facebook by searching “Northwest Georgia Outdoors.” To join the email list, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The next meeting is Tuesday, April 26th at 6 p.m. at VeloVinyard/Cherokee cycles location in downtown Calhoun.
Upcoming outdoor events
Coosawattee Challenge, April 16
Michelle Griffith and her husband Tom, of Griffith farm, recently opened up more than 11 miles of footpaths on their land off Pine Chapel road for trail running and mountain biking.
The couple will host the Coosawattee Challenge on April 16, featuring a morning 5K or 10K run and are looking for volunteers for the event.
Visit active.com to register for the event.
Michelle said she’s also working on having students from the city and county school systems participate in runs there for free or on a donation basis.
“Whether it be our youth or those of us our age, I think it’s a great idea to get them out there,” she said.
Pedal and Paddle, April 16 -17
Dan McBee told the group about NERA’s kayak/canoe pad-dle trips planned in Calhoun and around Gordon County that are free for the public and emphasized the importance of community involvement.
“We just want to get people out there and let people get back to nature,” McBee said.
He also mentioned that NERA is trying to organize activities with other local outdoor groups. This year, NERA will team up with Calhoun Cycling Club and Georgia Mountain Music Club and host Pedal, Paddlin and Pickin’ on April 16 and 17 at the Ralston Farm. Visit neranow.org for more information.
Cyclists will pedal 26 miles on Gordon County roadways, and some intersection routes may have traffic slowed to allow riders to pass safely.
The event begins at Nickelsville Road and will continue onto Pleasant Hill and loop all the way over to Oakman Road to Carters Lake (the half-way point) and then to Banks Chapel Road. The cycling event will begin at 4 p.m.
Visit www.calhouncyclingclub.org for more information and to see a map of the event.
Blackfoot Mud Run, June 18
Scott Fox, of Blackfoot Mud Run in Chatsworth, is one of the organizers of the 5K off-road obstacle, challenge course. The course features water crossings, a rope swing, mud pits, a cargo net, hay rolls and a tough climb up a vertical wall.
He told the group that the next run is set for June 18h and said the last run had great community support.
Visit www.blackfootmudrun.com for more information.
He also mentioned a couple of things he said he would like to see happen with the club.
“I’d like to see more new people, kids and families, get involved in camping and hiking and things like that and give them opportunities to go with people who have already done it,” he said.
Equestrian trail needs volunteers
While Jim McGarvey doesn’t represent a specific outdoor activity, he did come to discuss his work with Back Country Horsemen and ask for help maintaining several miles of horse trails.
A steering committee has been assembled to guide formation of BCHNWG with objectives of having the chapter active by this May and completing a trail service project on National Trails Day on June 4.
Persons interested in supporting the steering committee or registering as chapter members may contact Larry Wheat at L.Wheat@mindspring.com (note period in name) or by calling 770-595-1913.