New facility offers skills, supplies for outdoor fun

January 5, 2017
Gabrielle Calise
photographer: Hannah Pietrick

From paddling down serene rivers to backpacking through state and national parks, UF students can explore the outdoors through RecSports’ outdoor TRiP Programs. The opening of the Center for Outdoor Recreation & Education building this fall has tripled the amount of outdoor rental equipment available to the UF community – meaning more adventures for everyone.

Located on Bledsoe Drive north of the Southwest Recreation Center, the 6,000-square-foot facility features a warehouse full of gear that UF students, faculty and staff can rent, from sleeping bags and backpacks to kayaks and stand up paddleboards.

Students can visit CORE to sign up for a RecSports-led outdoor TRiP. The CORE building will also host workshops to teach skills such as knot-tying and campfire cooking.

The project was made possible through collaboration between UF Student Government and RecSports. During a grand opening celebration on Sept. 16, students toured the CORE building, where they could try on a stuffed backpack, sit in a kayak, view tents and see all CORE has to offer.

“We rent a lot of equipment,” said RecSports marketing program assistant Kisa Mugwanya. “They can actually see it and how it works.”

For some UF students, the wilderness is the perfect place to escape the stress of classes, quizzes and other obligations.

“What this program brings is peace and quiet,” said CORE program assistant Austin Schmitz in a speech at the grand opening. “Instead of a bleep or an email, you hear the sound of the wind in trees. You smell the spruce in the air.”

Annika Goldman, a fourth year behavioral and cognitive neuroscience student, checked out the new building during the grand opening. Goldman, 21, is currently planning on attending a backpacking trip – her third excursion with RecSports. In the past, she canoed at South Carolina’s Lake Jocassee and went rock climbing in Sand Rock, Alabama.

“That was the first time I’ve ever been outdoor rock climbing or canoeing and they were really accommodating to beginners,” Goldman said. “I was really scared the first time I went, but everyone was really inclusive.”

During her travels, Goldman enjoyed meeting other students and dining on warm cinnamon rolls cooked by the campfire.

“I would definitely recommend going on a TRiP before you graduate,” she said.

For more information, visit http://recsports.ufl.edu/outdoors-adventure/core.


Wondering what kind of adventures you can have with equipment from CORE? UF News intern Gabrielle Calise tried out an inflatable stand-up paddleboard at Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Gainesville. Watch her Instagram Story to see what happened:

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