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The Great Outdoors

By Meghan Godby

Whether you’ve lived in Colorado for decades or you’re the new kid in town, there’s no denying the abundance of outdoor recreation that our state has to offer. Are we grateful? Sure, but it’s not always easy to know where to begin. If you don’t have friends that share your particular interest, it can be intimidating to venture out on your own. And if you don’t know where to go, what to wear, or what to bring with you, well, that just makes it even more overwhelming. Thankfully, there are plenty of free and affordable resources to point you in the right direction.

The Jefferson County Library, for example, often hosts free, educational events for adults and children alike. They cover a variety of outdoor topics like fly fishing, healthy eating while hiking, and wildlife encounters. A handful of these events take place at the Wheat Ridge library (they hosted a bike safety rodeo this past summer, for example), but options abound if you’re willing to take a short drive to another location.

While you’re at the library, consider checking out a book on your topic of interest. Looking to try snowshoeing this winter? Then you’ll love “Winter Trails Colorado” by Andy Lightbody. Fly fishing caught your fancy? Then consider “Fly Fishing the Seasons in Colorado” by Ron Baird, a comprehensive guide that will have you covered all year long. Can’t decide? Check out a copy of Outside magazine for inspiration. Through the library’s cultural pass program, you can even check out a free State Parks Pass and a family activity backpack. For more information on these events, programs and resources, head over to jeffcolibrary.org.

The City’s Parks and Recreation department is another great resource. The Active Adult Center (6363 W. 35th Ave.), regularly hosts outdoor trips geared towards ages 50+, while the Recreation Center periodically offers outdoor programming, including the WILD Family Nature series, which focuses on wildlife. For more information on both locations, check out rootedinfun.com.

Still hungry for more? Consider checking out one of the many specialty stores in Wheat Ridge including Kifaru (hunting and camping, 4894 Van Gordon), Wheat Ridge Cyclery (7035 W. 38th), and Larson’s Ski and Sport (4715 Kipling). Employees are very knowledgeable in their particular field and stores often host events or classes. Wheat Ridge Cyclery, for example, regularly offers group rides and maintenance clinics. If you’re willing to travel just a bit further, REI and the Colorado Mountain Club are great comprehensive resources for equipment, experts and events. Visit rei.com and cmc.org, respectively.

Even though options can seem overwhelming, you don’t have to navigate them alone. These resources are here for you, so take advantage of them. Learn something new, sharpen existing skills and meet new friends.

Colorado is your playground – get out there and start exploring!