Outdoor Adventure Program Special Events!

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two people sit on a rock overlooking the ocean at Acadia

acadiaAcadia National Park Hiking & Camping

Hike with OAP in iconic Acadia National Park in Maine! Acadia is called the "crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast" with its high rocky coast, wide variety of habitats, and rich cultural heritage. Enjoy two glorious days hiking in various locations with beautiful views and scenery followed by a visit to learn more about the native history of the area.

Cost & Cancellation Policy: $95 total. $55 deposit upon registration followed by final payment of $40 due Sept. 29 covers everything: transportation, camping fees, food, gear and trip leaders included. The only extra costs would be food or any incidental purchases you choose to make on the travel there and back.

Participants cancelling after Sept. 23 will not receive a full refund unless another participant assumes their place on the trip. If the trip is cancelled by OAP for any reason, participants will receive a full refund of the trip cost.

Skill Level/Prerequisites:

  • No previous hiking or overnight camping required.
  • Overall good physical fitness.

Physical exertion: For hiking, Moderate. Participants will hike 5-8 miles in a day with day packs. Some terrain will be and rough.

Register online - OAP - Oct. 7-10, 2022 Acadia Hiking

Registration deadline: Friday, Sept. 23. Group size is limited to 10 participants with 2 staff members. This trip is expected to fill quickly; early registration is recommended.

Required pre-trip meeting:

  • Preparation meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m., depending on participant schedules. We will review itinerary, meals, lodging, and travel information.

Itinerary:

  • Friday October 7, 5:30 p.m.: Group will finalize preparation, load kayaks and gear, and drive to Blackwoods Campground.
  • Saturday-Sunday, October 8-9: Camp, enjoy breakfast, pack and head out to various hiking trails. Acadia has numerous beautiful trails with stunning views and gorgeous lush scenery. The group can expect to eat lunch while hiking, and will spend most of the day hiking. Return to campsite for dinner and campfire.
  • Monday, October 10 (Indigenous People's Day): Pack up our campsites, head to the Abbe Museum to learn about and appreciate the culture of the native Wabanaki people, whose native land we will have been visiting. Drive back to Lowell during the afternoon, return gear at the Outdoor Center, clean up and celebrate!

Register online - OAP - Oct 7-10, 2022 Acadia Hiking

woman sits in a kayak surrounded by mangrove trees

seakayakWinter Break Sea Kayaking in Everglades - Naples, Florida - December 27, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Register online - Winter Break 2022-23 Sea Kayaking Florida

Join the Outdoor Adventure Program on this exciting multi-day Sea Kayaking camping trip in the Everglades of southern Florida! Sea kayaking in Florida is one of the best ways to recharge before starting the spring semester. Winter weather in southern Florida is typically warm and sunny with temperatures in the 70s. Participants can expect to learn a significant amount about kayaking and camping as well as group development, personal leadership, wellness, and expedition norms. We plan to play hard, eat and sleep well, and re-energize before we get back to campus to start the new semester strong.

We will camp at historic Collier Seminole State Park while we prepare for kayaking as well as at the end of our trip. We will first do an instructional day paddle from the Goodland Calusa Island Marina without our expedition gear in the boats and the next day set off on a 5-day expedition-style sea kayak trip relaxing and slowly exploring the southern Gulf Coast along the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Preserve and ending in Everglades National Park.

Want to learn more? To see a video of the Informational Meeting we hosted on October 17, please reach out by email to: kate_ford@uml.edu. Some typical concerns we are asked about include:

  • Wildlife: While Florida is known for alligators, these are not a huge concern in the area where we are kayaking. They tend to be inland where there is freshwater or brackish water. They do not generally live or travel in saltwater like the coastal ocean where we will be spending most of our time. We may get lucky to see manatees or dolphins!
  • Expedition Food & Water: We will plan all of our camping meals in advance, buy food at a grocery store in Florida (including fresh food!), and we will bring it with us in our kayaks. We typically eat well! We do not generally use dehydrated just-add-water food packs. We will bring more than enough fresh water with us for drinking and cooking in our "dromedary" water packs that we carry with us in our kayaks on the camping portion.
  • Who is leading the trip? Our two professional staff, Kevin Soleil and Kate Ford, will be leading this trip, along with two student staff. Both have significant experience leading outdoor/wilderness excursions, so you will be in good hands!
  • Why come? So many great reasons! The experience is just plain going to be super fun! We will enjoy warm weather in the middle of December/January, woot woot! Exploring the mangroves and coastal area of southern Florida can be so peaceful and meditative. With the various weather and tide coming in and out, we'll learn about the natural world around us as we make decisions on our route and timing for the day, and step up to an occasional challenge. We also intend for each participant to get a chance to grow their kayaking and camping skills, as well as learn about inter-relational and group dynamics skills. Everyone will practice thoughtful expedition behavior and learn how to be comfortable on a multi-day outdoor camping trip!

Trip Cost

UML cost: $450 total (not including transportation). $250 Deposit charged upon registration followed by $200 final payment (due on December 8) covers everything except transportation: camping fees, food, gear, and trip leaders included. See below for transportation costs.

Public cost (non-UML): $650 total (not including transportation). $350 Deposit charged upon registration following by $300 final payment (due on December 8) covers everything except transportation: camping fees, food, gear, and trip leaders included. See next bullet for transportation costs. 

Transportation Cost: Van transportation is an additional $40 for one way or $80 for both ways, including light breakfast and lunch snacks. Dinners and other road food paid for on an individual basis. You may choose to purchase a flight to and/or from Florida instead, more details are below under "Travel Options." We will contact each registrant to work out final transportation plans and charge separately as needed.

Cancellation Policy

Due to the commitment and scope of this program, participants cancelling after November 13, 2022, will not receive a full refund unless another participant assumes their place on the trip. If the trip is cancelled by OAP for any reason, participants will receive a full refund of the trip cost. Participants are encouraged to purchase travel insurance on their flights. OAP will not reimburse for flight costs due to trip cancellation.

a line of kayaks sits on a beach with a tent beyond

Skill Level/Prerequisites:

  • This trip is beginner-friendly! We do not require any kayaking or camping experience. However, we do recommend that each participant has some experience kayaking if possible - previous personal experience and/or sign up for our Sea Kayaking trips this fall (see our Trips & Events Calendar on Sept. 10 and Sept 25). Additionally, come to the free Open Boathouse on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and/or rent at the UMass Lowell (UML) Kayak Center on the Merrimack River weekends through October 16.
  • No previous overnight camping required.
  • Overall good physical fitness (This will allow for a successful trip; please consider exercising 3x weekly to prepare.)
  • Swimming ability with life jacket assistance is required.
  • Ability to paddle for 6 or more hours/day.
  • Those with shoulder or back injuries should consult the Outdoor Programs Coordinator and your physician before departing.
  • Due to design and fit of expedition boats, participants weighing more than 250 pounds should consult the trip leaders prior to sign up to make sure appropriate equipment is available.

Physical exertion

Moderate to Vigorous depending on wind conditions.

  • Participants will paddle 1-8 miles/2-11km, some days more, and current/tide may be present and strong at times. Waves will be less than 1-2 feet with the potential for winds up to 10-15 mph.
  • Paddle times usually run 3-5 hours a day, sometimes more over multiple sessions in a day and multiple days. We have two tandem kayaks available for those who may feel they need additional support to do the trip. Please mention your interest during the informational meeting or contact us with questions.

EXTENDED! Registration deadline: Now December 7, 2022! Group size is limited to 8 participants.

Register online - Winter Break 2022-23 Sea Kayaking Florida

three people in kayaks are backlit by the setting sun on the ocean

Required pre-trip meetings:

  • Initial in-person meeting on Wednesday, November 16 at 6 p.m. at the Outdoor Center and Bike Shop (5 Lawrence Dr., Lowell, MA 01854)
  • Preparation meeting Thursday, December 8 at 5:30 p.m., depending on participant schedules. We will review itinerary, meals, lodging, and travel information.

Itinerary:

  • December 27: afternoon: Group will meet in Lowell to complete preparation and packing.
  • December 28-30: Drive to Florida: First night (Dec. 28) in hotel around Virginia. Second night (Dec. 29) in Georgia campground. On Dec. 30, drive to Tampa airport, pick up anyone flying in afternoon, drive to camp at Collier Seminole State Park.
  • December 31: Review basic paddling skills. Day paddle Rookery Bay, Turner River, or Mangrove tunnels in Chokoloskee Bay. Expect moderate day paddle. Prepare for expedition.
  • January 1-5: From Collier Seminole State Park, pack boats, paddle the Blackwater River out to 10,000 Island on the Gulf Coast. Backcountry island exploration, camping and paddling. Enjoy the good life!
  • January 5: Land in Everglades City at the Everglades National Park Headquarters, return to Collier Seminole State Park, showers, dinner, and campfire.
  • January 6-8: Drive back to Massachusetts: First day (Jan. 6), drop off participants taking flights from Tampa, drive to Georgia campground. Second night (Jan. 7) in a hotel around Virginia. Last day (Jan. 8), return to Lowell, clean up and celebrate victory!
a person stands next to kayaks lined up on the beach with mangroves behind

Travel Options

You may choose to drive with us or fly separately and meet us and/or leave us in Tampa. We will contact each registrant to determine your final transportation plan and charge for the van ride separately as needed.

  • Travel Option A: Fly to and from Tampa. Flight cost is not included in trip cost. Book flights to arrive in Tampa on Dec. 30, 2022 before 4 p.m. and depart from Tampa on Jan. 6, 2023 after 2 p.m. (drop off at airport around noon). Our trip leaders will pick you up and drop you off in Tampa, FL with the van. We encourage air travel to be booked before November 14 to ensure cost-effective travel and confirm plans.
  • Travel Option B: Drive to Florida with us. Lodging and camping along the way. Camping and lodging cost an additional $80 per person (charged separately), including light breakfast and lunch snacks while driving. Dinners and other road food paid for on an individual basis. Van departs Lowell VERY EARLY morning December 28, 2022, and returns late on January 8, 2023.
  • Travel Option C: One way driving, one way flying. Additional $40 per person charged separately, including light breakfast and lunch snacks while driving. Dinners and other road food paid for on an individual basis. Flight cost not included in trip cost. Book your flights to arrive in Tampa on Dec. 30, 2022 before 4 p.m. or depart from Tampa on Jan. 6, 2023 after noon.

Register online - Winter Break 2022-23 Sea Kayaking Florida

Check out our other upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage!

Packing List:

The items on this list are strongly recommended for your trip. The weather forecast and your thermal perception (i.e. if you generally feel cold easily or often feel hot) should be considered when packing.

  • Online Medical Questionnaire and waiver
  • Lightweight Paddling Shoes Crocs or sandals that fasten on your feet, no flip flops or open-toed sandals. Lightweight sneakers that you get fully wet are an option.
  • Underwear quick-dry (non-cotton) preferable but not necessary
  • Shirts long-sleeve and/or short-sleeve Quick-dry, lightweight, non-cotton, no sweatshirts
  • Pants/Shorts Quick-dry, non-cotton, no jeans
  • *Lightweight warm jacket layer Fleece/wool/puffy top layer, should be compact
  • *Rain jacket/shell and rain pants Both top and bottom are a must, as weather in the mountains can change suddenly
  • *Lightweight warm Hat wool or fleece
  • Camp Sandals or Shoes If you are wearing shoes during the day that will get wet, bring a pair of dry sandals for camp.
  • Socks for Camp 1 pair to wear around camp and while sleeping for cool evenings. 
  • Sunglasses Sun protection
  • BaseballCap/Full-Brim Hat Sun protection
  • Bandana Versatile: sweat rag, hanky, napkin, etc.
  • Toiletries Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, feminine hygiene products, small bottle hand sanitizer, ziploc bag for toiletries disposal. If you wear contacts, bring an extra set.
  • Personal environmental supplies Sunscreen, lip balm, bug spray
  • *Headlamp You must provide 3AAA batteries if borrowing one of ours
  • *Mess kit Plate, cup, eating utensils – a small plastic tupperware bowl and mug work great
  • *2 Water Bottles Hydration; start hydrating the day before
  • *Sleeping bag With proper temperature rating 
  • *Sleeping pad
  • *Dry bag To hold your personal gear in the kayak
  • *Kayak, paddle & fife jacket
  • Personal Medications
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Money For food on the road and/or possible souvenirs
  • Optional: Swimsuit if your trip has a swimming possibility
  • Optional: Camera (or camera phone)A protective case is highly recommended. Turn phone to airplane mode to preserve battery (and enjoy nature)
  • Optional: Waterproof floating case for your phone/camera 
  • Optional: Book or journal Great for the van or down time on the trip
  • Optional:Multi-tool or pocketknife
  • Optional:Lightweight battery pack & charging cable
  • Optional: Driving clothes & shoes, etc additional clothes/supplies for a longer drive, including cold weather layers

*All items with an asterisk are available to check-out and included in the cost of your registration.

Any personal equipment you wish to bring is subject to trip leader approval. If you have any personal equipment (sleeping bag, etc.) that you would like to bring, please bring it to the pre-trip meeting so trip leaders can make sure it is appropriate for the needs of this trip.

OAP will provide all the necessary group items, including tents, cooking supplies, stoves and fuel, food and food storage, water purification, restroom kit (trowel, toilet paper, rest stop bag), hygiene kit (hand sanitizer and biodegradable soap), first aid kit, emergency communication device, and maps. These items will be distributed throughout the group for carrying in kayaks.

Register for upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage

springbreakSpring Break Grand Canyon National Park Trip!

March 4-12, 2023

Join us on this adventurous hiking and backpacking trip out west to the Grand Canyon in Arizona! More details, including cost and registration link will be coming soon!

See all the details on our Spring Break webpage!

Mill and Canal View

seniordaySpecial Event: Senior Celebration - Get Outdoors Day!

May 9, 2023

This day is a special day for graduating seniors, family and friends to enjoy their last few days in Lowell by getting outside. Undergrads who are still on campus are also welcome to join! We plan to do a variety of activities, including paddling on the Merrimack, a fun run in Lowell and belaying inside the Campus Recreation gym!

  1. Fun Run - 9 a.m.: We will meet at the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) for an easy, fun run from the CRC down to the Merrimack River on a relaxed 3-mile loop. Running, walking, or a combo of both is welcome! We will return back to the CRC. The only special item needed is your own running shoes. FREE!
  2. Rappelling - 10 a.m.: Individual students will have a chance to rappel down from the Campus Rec Center track. Rappelling uses a safety harness and climbing rope attached at a fixed point to lower oneself down. All gear provided. Safety protocols will be followed under the supervision of our professional staff. People are welcome to stand in awe from below and watch their friends give it a try! Only $5!
  3. Paddling - 2:30 p.m. and a sunset paddle at 5:30 p.m.: A group of up to 21 people for each session will join at the Bellegarde Boathouse for a fun paddle up the Merrimack River and back to the Boathouse. All gear and instruction are included, including kayaks (solo or tandem) or canoes, PFDs and paddles. Come enjoy the river one last time before your graduation! Only $5!

Coming Soon:

  • Register Online - Fun Run at CRC: 9-9:45 a.m. - Cost: FREE
  • Register Online - Rappelling at CRC: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Cost: $5
  • Register Online - Kayaking at Boathouse: 2:30-5 p.m. - Cost: $5
  • Register Online - Sunset Kayaking at Boathouse: 5:30-8 p.m. - Cost: $5

Seniors, we hope we can help you get outside and enjoy Lowell with us before your graduation!

a pond surrounded by trees and green reflects clouds in the sky

summer-canoe-tripSummer Wilderness Canoe Trip to St Regis Canoe Area in Adirondacks!

June 2023, exact dates TBD

Join us on an exciting wilderness canoe trip to the St Regis Wilderness Area in upstate New York! The St Regis Canoe Area is a 18,400 acre wilderness inside the Adirondack Park. It is the only designated canoe area in New York State! St Regis is a beautiful landscape of lakes and ponds in a wilderness setting. This wilderness area is truly wilderness - no roads, no ranger cabins, not even signs between lakes. To travel in this area we will be paddling lightweight canoes with our gear, and sometimes portaging (walking) between lakes on trails of varying lengths. Some will be challenging, some will be easier. We even have the opportunity to hike up St Regis Mountain, as well, which ascends more than 1,200 feet with lovely views over the lakes. We will be backcountry camping in tents with all of our own gear. Weather allowing, we will enjoy campfires (and s'mores of course!) in the evening, as well.

Canoes are the ideal mode of transportation to be out in this wilderness. They are easy to control and maintain a straight line on open flat-water lakes. Because they are open (they do not have closed decks with hatches like kayaks), it is easy to move gear in and out as we alternate between portaging and paddling. Most crucially, canoes have yoke pads added to the center thwart (the bar across the center), so they are easy and comfortable to carry by yourself for a distance. We will always use teamwork to pick up canoes and packs, so each member is supported by everyone else. With instruction and teamwork, everyone will be able to successfully join on this awesome trip!

There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen here - we are visiting their home, after all! It is likely we will see loons and great blue herons, and if we're lucky, we might see bald eagles, moose, beaver, and otter. We will see interesting flora as well, including classics such as birch, sugar maple, and white pine, along with wetland diversity including plants like lily pads or arrowheads. We may even find some carnivorous plants like pitcher plant or sundew! Participants can choose to bring a little fishing gear and buy a NY fishing license and we can try our hand at a little bit of fishing, as well!

Group size is limited to 6 participants with 2 staff members.

Registration is coming soon for the OAP Canoe Trip Summer 2023.

lake view with trees framing a golden sunset

Cost: $375 total. $200 deposit charged upon registration, plus final payment of $175 covers everything: transportation, camping fees, food, gear and trip leaders included. We purposefully work to keep the trip very affordable for our UMass Lowell students! Each person should bring their own personal gear, but we also have sleeping bags and some clothing layers to borrow. The only extra costs would be any incidental purchases you choose to make on the drive there and back.

Skill Level: No previous canoeing or camping experience necessary. Only a willing attitude and interest in being in wilderness conditions is needed!

Physical Exertion: Moderate. Each person will need the ability to be active for much of the day, including short 30-60 minute stints of walking over sometimes rough terrain carrying a canoe or pack weighing around 50 lbs. Most days will be approximately 6-7 hours of canoeing and portaging (with breaks); the first and last days will be shorter due to drive time. Depending on group size, there will be a person or two able to rest during some paddling.

Pre-Trip preparation: One required pre-trip meeting will be scheduled for early summer, 2023, at the Outdoor Center and Bike Shop at 5 Lawrence Dr., Lowell, MA 01854. (This may be adjusted depending on the group availability.) If you can't attend due to academic classes or other responsibilities, please arrange an alternate time with us.

Itinerary*

*Due to the nature of outdoor trips and uncontrollable variables such as weather, this itinerary may be subject to change.

  • Sunday, Date TBD 2023: Meet on Sunday morning at 8 a.m., finalize last-minute preparations, pack up the van. Drive approx. 5 hours to Saranac Lake, N.Y.; pick up all gear and canoes, drive to put-in at Little Clear Pond, finish packing canoe packs, and head out. We will canoe to a campsite for the night on Little Clear Pond or Saint Regis Pond.
  • Monday - Wednesday, Dates TBD 2023: Paddle and portage in various lakes, likely including Fish Pond and Long Pond. One day, we may choose to hike up St. Regis Mountain with 180 degree views over the wilderness area.
  • Thursday, Date TBD 2023: Pack up one last time in the morning, and paddle and portage out to Hoel Pond. We will pack up, return rental gear, and then drive back to Lowell, approx. 5 hours. Back at the shop, we will clean up our gear, and do a final wrap-up and reflection. Everyone heads home!
purple flowers spring up from a wetland in St Regis Canoe Area

Weather: The Adirondacks in June will still have somewhat cold water, but generally pleasantly warm temperatures, or even hot! We will monitor the forecast leading up to departure to be prepared for both warm and cool weather. Most weather is perfectly great weather for canoe tripping, even (especially!) rain. The only weather that will cause us to pause while on the lake or trails is thunderstorms/lightning, or extreme wind. We will be prepared for these conditions by having patience, bringing rain layers and a few warm layers, and carefully packing our canoe packs according to the packing list.

Overnight Shelter: Participants can expect that they will be sharing tents with others. Outdoor Adventure Program tents hold up to 4 people. If you choose to bring your own sleeping bag, tent or shelter, we will verify that it is appropriate and in good order before leaving. Tentmates may be determined by trip leaders and by participant comfort and preference. Mixed sex/gender tents are permitted. (However, any sexual activity is never appropriate in a group camping/lodging context and will not be permitted.) Every campsite in the St Regis Canoe Area is a private campsite, meaning our group will not share the camping space with others.

Packing List

Most of the items on the Backpacking webpage are relevant to canoe camping. The main difference is footwear and packs. For shoes, you will have two pairs of shoes: one for use during the day that will get wet getting in and out of canoes (always floating while loading!) and one pair that will stay dry for the campsites. Additionally, instead of using backpacks, we will pack our gear into canoe packs, a large open pack that fits easily into and out of canoes. We will share a final packing list with registered participants. We have many items available for free rent, in particular sleeping bags and sleeping pads. The only additional items we recommend are a duffle bag to carry your items before we repack into canoe packs, and a separate small backpack with clean clothes & shoes to keep in van for our return travel. Each person will need to fill out the Online Medical Questionnaire and Waiver.

Cancellation Policy

Due to needs of trip planning and reservations, cancellations must be made no later than three weeks before the trip start date to receive a full refund of your deposit. Cancellations that occur later will receive no refund, unless another participant on the waiting list can be found to take the open spot.* 100% of your payment will be refunded if the trip is cancelled by OAP staff (due to weather or other circumstances). Participants are expected to be responsible for arriving on time and prepared for trips.

Registration is coming soon for the OAP Canoe Trip Summer 2023.

*Please refer to UMass Lowell's ongoing COVID policy in the days before the trip. If you have questions or concerns regarding your situation or any symptoms you are feeling, please contact us by email at: kate_ford@uml.edu immediately to talk over your situation so OAP can responsibly consider the best next steps.

Register for upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage