Outdoor programs specialists at the Fort Wainwright Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Outdoor Recreation program have a new take on the old proverb about giving a man a fish.
Their aim is to teach Soldiers and family members to ice fish so they can ice fish for life.
Ice fishing is just one of the winter outdoor activities that Outdoor Recreation will offer to lure Soldiers and family members out of their warm, comfortable homes this winter.
The first thing people should do, according to Outdoor Recreation’s Olivia Hascher and Joe Woodrome, both outdoor programmers, is get outside.
“That’s the main thing,” Woodrome said. “If you stay in all winter long you’re going to get what they call ‘cabin fever’ and you’ve got to get out to avoid that.”
From snowmachine safety classes, cross country ski lessons and indoor rock climbing to trips featuring ice fishing, snowmachining and even a combination of dog mushing and snowmachining in one day, Outdoor Recreation has the cure for cabin fever, according to Woodrome.
Cross country ski lessons begin in December and the first snowmachine day trip is Saturday to Stiles Creek in the Chena River State Recreation Area. ODR provides the transportation, snow machines and helmets, and participants provide their lunches, snacks, drinks and cold weather clothing.
“Coming on a trip with us is completely worry-free,” Hascher said. “We’ll drive them out there. We teach them how to work it and where to go. If you go out on your own you could run into a problem and we’re not there to help. But if you come with us we can teach you everything you need to know to continue doing it.”
For those who are skittish about braving the cold to tackle a new activity, Hascher and Woodrome recommend starting an outdoor adventure with them, and once patrons find their winter passions, they can set out on their own.
“We love when people come on trips with us,” Hascher said. “But we’d rather just see them get out, whether it’s coming and talking to us and we help them plan (their own) trip” or going on an Outdoor Recreation adventure.
Hascher and Woodrome said they hope Soldiers and family members will take advantage of all that Alaska and Outdoor Recreation have to offer this winter.
They are also planning a “Women in the Wilderness” series beginning in January to feature women-only cross country skiing, ice fishing, indoor rock climbing and a snowmachine trip.
If the current schedule does not offer what would-be winter enthusiasts are seeking, Outdoor Recreation program specialists will help build trips for units, family readiness groups, families or even groups of friends to tackle on their own.
“This is a good way to experience the true Alaska wilderness,” Hascher said. “You’re in Alaska, become a winter person if it’s only for the three years that you’re here.”
For more information about Outdoor Recreation trips, classes and rentals, call 361-6349.