You’ve seen the events. Sporting goods dealers let you to try their stuff for free. Then they try to sell you their stuff. Sometimes there’s little patience for true novices, especially if they don’t want to buy.
So where’s a person go to try outdoor activities that require equipment and know-how they don’t already have? The thousands who’ve been to the two previous Hoosier Outdoor Experiences know—Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.
That’s the site of the third annual Experience, Sept. 17-18, where almost anyone of any age can do—not just learn about—more than 50 hands-on outdoor activities, like paddling on the park’s Fall Creek or Delaware Lake.
“I’ve never been to another event where the enthusiasts leading things have been mostly non-professionals,” said Dan Valleskey, one of the paddling instructors. “In (the paddling area), we don’t have anyone selling kayaks or canoes. We are there to show regular folks that they can learn to paddle.
“The skills we try to show people are just a start, but I think we plant some seeds.”
Last year 18,400 people attended over the two days, an increase of about 5,000. Plenty of room for many more awaits in the state park’s spacious 1,700 acres. All are welcome for both days.
There’s something for everyone who even thinks they might enjoy being outdoors more, from various types of fishing, to road bicycling, archery, shooting, ATV riding, hunting-related activities, orienteering, just about any outdoor sport you can think of. And some you can’t.
The Experience runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. It is presented by the DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation to introduce people to outdoor activities they may have never tried.
If you already enjoy outdoor sports and recreation and want to help others learn to enjoy them as much as you do, sign up to volunteer at dnr.IN.gov/5412.htm.