A GOW kickoff is scheduled for May 9 from 11am until 1pm in Market Square, Downtown Pittsburgh.
During the lunchtime event, members of the public are invited to try out the Venture Outdoors climbing wall, visit table displays from a select number of outdoor recreation groups, practice loading bikes on a bus bike rack and listen to music from Scott Hall One Man Band.
A free raffle drawing will also be held, featuring prizes from OTB (Over the Bar) Bicycle Café, Friends of the Riverfront, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Student Conservation Association, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and Three Rivers Rowing Association. Interviews with local outdoors experts and photos ops are available. The event will take place rain or shine.
Participating groups at the kickoff include: Bike Pittsburgh; Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future; Friends of the Riverfront; Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation; Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Point State Park; Port Authority of Allegheny County; Student Conservation Association; Three Rivers Rowing Association; Venture Outdoors; Walls are Bad (c/o Sustainable Pittsburgh); and Your Active City.
GOW offers a convenient introduction to individuals who want to get involved in outdoor activities but may not have known where to start.
“Over seventy events are now scheduled during Great Outdoors Week, including bird watching hikes, paddling excursions, fly fishing classes, and much more,” said Ginette Walker Vinski, Communications Manager at Sustainable Pittsburgh. “The activities are geared towards a range skill levels and ages.”
Other activities include bike rides, orienteering, running, trail stewardship, and festivals. Events are hosted by organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Three signature events are part of Great Outdoors Week this year:
-- May 11 - Learn to Row and Paddle
-- May 18 - National Bike to Work Day/Car Free Fridays
-- May 19 - Venture Outdoors Festival Presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
These events are hosted by Three Rivers Rowing Association, Bike Pittsburgh, and Venture Outdoors respectively. Below is an overview providing brief descriptions of each.
GOW promotes outdoor recreation as part of a sustainable community. It is accessible, contributes to healthier lifestyles, helps attract and retain strong talent for the region, boosts the local economy, and fosters a sense of stewardship for this region’s parks, trails, and waterways.
New this year, GOW is focusing on the proposed cuts to the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Keystone Fund) for Pennsylvania’s 2012-2013 budget. The Keystone Fund is Pennsylvania's only funding source that directs money specifically to community park and recreation grants and land trust grants.
Examples of local projects that have benefitted from support from the Keystone Fund include the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, sections of the Great Allegheny Passage between McKeesport and Pittsburgh, the Montour Trail, and Millvale Riverfront Park, among many others.
PennFuture will be at the Kickoff providing information on how to get involved in maintaining the Keystone Fund for future projects—and future enjoyment of the outdoors. More information on the Keystone Fund is available on the GOW webpage.
Outdoor groups are encouraged to list their activities at wallsarebad.com and help promote GOW via websites, list-servs, etc. For more information, visit the GOW webpage or call Sustainable Pittsburgh at 412-258-6646/412-258-6647.
Both 91.3fm WYEP and Pop City are media sponsors of GOW.