At Montana State, much of the university’s appeal is the proximity and accessibility to the great outdoors. The ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program, which strives to offer a cultural center for the university community, gives students the opportunity to enjoy their surroundings by utilizing the many services that the center offers.
The Outdoor Recreation Center is located on campus and because it is primarily funded by student fees, its focus is squarely on offering a wide variety of services to the members of the MSU community. Some of the best-known services include the reduced-rate outdoor equipment rental shop and the Bobcat Tracks student trips program, however they provide many more opportunities as well. The rental shop includes equipment such as rafts, canoes, tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, kayaks, Nordic skis, bicycles and snowshoes. All equipment can be checked out with a valid MSU ID. Popular student trips at the center include hiking, camping, rafting, canoeing, backpacking and wildlife viewing. Destinations of the trips can be as close as Hyalite, and as far away as Alaska or the Pacific Coast.
Other amenities offered include a resource library, containing topographic maps and guidebooks, as well as a bike and ski shop to help students keep their gear safe and operable at little to no cost to them. The center also hosts outdoor gear sales throughout the year for students who wish to buy or swap their outdoor equipment.
In addition, the center provides educational classes and clinics on topics such as avalanche safety education, kayaking, wilderness medical courses, ski-touring, rock climbing and swift water rescue. These classes intend to prepare students for a lifetime of safe, fun outdoor pursuits.
“Above all, we strive to provide a ‘community center’ for MSU students where the focus is based upon pursuing the phenomenal recreation opportunities we have here in Bozeman,” Program Director Ryan Diehl said.
The Outdoor Recreation Center has been long cherished here at MSU and next year will be the 40th year in operation. “The program is constantly evolving, and is currently in a phase of growth, modernization and expansion. The program has loads of potential to expand and meet the needs of more students,” Diehl said.
The expansion and growth is by demand from the students as well. Last spring, a student-led referendum was passed to provide additional funding to the program. The Outdoor Recreation Program is currently waiting for the Board of Regents to officially approve the request. Upon approval, the program should begin to acquire additional equipment and offer more outdoor programming.
“Upon my arrival, I was surprised to see how little equipment we actually had in comparison to how much there is to do here,” Diehl said. Since his arrival, the center has acquired new equipment, such as stand up paddleboards and backcountry skis. Employees at the center, as well as students, are looking forward to getting a wider variety of equipment and programmatic services soon.
The Outdoor Recreation Center is located at 1401 West Lincoln, near Roskie Hall. Hours of operation and information on all of the mentioned services can be found in detail on the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program’s website http://www.montana.edu/outdoorrecreation/index.html
Oct. 4, 2014 – Scenic Float, Madison River
Oct. 11, 2014 – Day Hike, Lava Lake
Oct. 18, 2014 – Scenic Float, Yellowstone River
Oct. 19, 2014 – Day Hike, Garnet Canyon
Oct. 25, 2014 – Day Hike, Drinking Horse/College M
Oct. 26, 2014 – Day Hike Cinnamon Mountain
Oct. 31, 2014 – Bouldering, Bozeman Town Boulders