Getting Out in Nature with the Sierra Club

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By Joel Mandella

The Group

The crisp crunch of golden leaves underfoot, the smarting touch of a mid-winter breath, the first rivulets of water through an iridescent icy waterfall, the sweet scent of ripening fruits mixed with smells of rich soil. Everybody has a dear memory of time spent outdoors—why not share that experience and form new ones with other interested individuals through one of the Sierra Club Outings?

The Sierra Club North Star Chapter is delighted to offer year-round outdoors adventures in Minnesota to members and non-members alike! Participants do not have to pay any fee to join an outing—simply RSVP online and show up to the outing with adequate food, water, and clothing for the occasion. Sierra Club outings offer the opportunity to meet people who share similar outdoors interests, to visit spectacular areas of Minnesota, to enjoy a favorite hobby in nature, or to try a completely new activity!

Outings in the past couple months have included a paddle and camping trip down the Minnesota River, a backpacking trip along the bluffs and bottomlands of the St. Croix River, a 36-mile bike ride through Cannon Falls Trail, a three-day canoe trip in the Ely district of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a 5-mile hike in Temperance State Park, and many more. Each outing varies in difficulty, distance, and duration, so that every individual can find an activity that suits their needs and capabilities.


There are several specialized outings programs within the Sierra Club North Star Chapter: Inner City Outings, Transit to Green Space, and OWLS. These programs are meant to cater to individual areas of interest within outdoors activities.

The Inner City Outings program strives to provide predominantly low-income youth with an introduction to outdoors activities and experiences. Outing adventures include dayhikes, backpacking, canoeing, camping, and skiing. For many of the children, this is their first wilderness experience and a highly valuable one.

The Transit to Green Space program is a part of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter’s Land Use and Transportation program. The ongoing aim of this program is to explore routes and modes of transportation to reach green spaces and parks without cars. Outings in the program are often urban park destinations, with Springbrook Nature Center, Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Midtown Ecoyard, and Crosby Lake Park being some of the favorites.

OWLS, which stands for Older, Wiser, Livelier Sierrans, is an outing program consisting of Sierra Club members who are of retirement age. This group meets every month to plan events revolving around being active and learning about the natural world, while building bonds within the Sierra Club. Outings in this program include skiing, canoeing, walking, and museum trips.


The next Sierra Club outing is a bike ride through the Carver Park Reserve, and will be held this weekend on July 7th. Find out more about how to join this outing online! Opportunities for volunteers who wish to lead Sierra Club outings are also available. To find out more about participating in a Sierra Club outing or volunteering as an Outings Leader, click here!


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