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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 9/25-28

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, September 25

Friday, September 26

Saturday, September 27

Sunday, September 28

Monday, September 29

Tuesday, September 30

Wednesday, October 1

Thursday, October 2

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Pete's Pick: Get Dirty, Give Back

Roll up your sleeves and help maintain the trails we all enjoy.

National Public Lands Day (Sept. 27) is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. Volunteers build trails and bridges, remove trash and invasive plants, plant trees and restore our water resources.

The celebration of public lands began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. It proved to be a huge success and became a yearly tradition held on the last Saturday in September. Participation in National Public Lands Day continues to increase with more than 175,000 volunteers at over 2,237 sites in every state last year.

Here’s a list of events taking place in the Roanoke Region this weekend:

  • Carvins Cove (details)
  • Douthat State Park
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – Roanoke Mountain Recreation Area
  • Fairy Stone State Park
  • Smith Mountain Lake State Park
  • Philpott Reservoir
  • Claytor Lake State Park
  • New River Trail State Park

For more information on any of the special events taking place this weekend visit the National Public Lands Day events page.

Check out even more activities in the Get Outside Weekend Update.

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!



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New LifeOutside Mag Hits Newsstands

A new free magazine is hitting newsstands, providing another great resource to outdoor adventurers in the Roanoke Region. 

Roanoke Outside, an initiative of the Roanoke Regional Partnership and founding partner of the GO Outside Festival and Blue Ridge Marathon, has partnered with LeisureMedia360 to create a magazine focused on the growing outdoor culture of the region.

LifeOutside will focus on outdoor recreation and lifestyle content in Roanoke, the New River Valley, and Lexington - basically covering a one-hour radius around Roanoke. The best in hiking, biking, running, fishing, paddling, caving, and more will be part of the editorial content, which is available in both print and digital forms. 

The hyper-local focus of the magazine is new and unique, giving readers a narrower perspective on all the region has to offer. In addition to covering classic hikes, guides, and the like, LifeOutside also offers the latest on food, beer, festivals, and the environment in the region. 

"Our mission is to make outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship a core component of the Roanoke Region lifestyle," said Pete Eshelman, Director of Outdoor Branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. "As a founding partner of LifeOutside, we're excited to see how this magazine will continue our efforts to connect people with the outdoors. We live in one of the best places for outdoor recreation and LifeOutside is another tool to help tell our outdoor story!"

Check out the first edition online >>>

Want a printed copy? Get it for free >>>

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Weekend for Wilderness Starts Now

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and Roanoke is celebrating the milestone with a Weekend for Wilderness.

The event will shed light on our protected Wilderness Areas, why they are important, and how to keep them protected for future generations. National leaders on land conservation and preservation will be in attendance, and there is even the opportunity to raise a glass and toast you favorite Wilderness Area with local libations. 

The Weekend for Wilderness kicks off at the Taubman Theater on Thursday, September 25, with a screening of "Green Fire" with special guest Ed Zahniser. "Green Fire" examines the life of Aldo Leopold, considered by many to be the father of the modern land conservation effort. Ed Zahniser's father was the primary author of the Wilderness Act and Ed has carried his legacy as an environmental author and advocate.

The festivities continue on Friday with a "Toast to Wilderness" at Parkway Brewing, from 6-9:00 p.m. where there will be live music, beer, and celebration. There will also be a gear raffle from ENO Hammocks, Walkabout Outfitters, and Outdoor Trails. 

On Saturday, join one of several themed hikes in local Wilderness Areas, or join a work hike and help repair trails. Registration for the hikes ends at midnight today (Sept. 25). 

The weekend is capped by a special presentation from Dr. James Turner titled, "Wilderness and the Myths of American Environmentalism." A panel discussion follows the presentation and includes former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Rupert Cutler, Appalachian Trail Conservancy Executive Director Ronald Tipton and other prominent conservationists. 

If you are an advocate for open space and land conservation, or just want to know more about Wilderness (with a capital W), this event is not to be missed. 

Find out more about the Roanoke Weekend for Wilderness >>>

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Race It to Win It at GO Fest

GO Cross at GO FestAnthem GO Outside Festival is a celebration of the outdoors, and a chance to hang out and socialize with others living the outdoor lifestyle. Fun is certainly the name of the game but isn't a little friendly competition fun, as well?

When GO Fest takes place on Oct. 17-19 in Roanoke, there will be more opportunities than ever for festival goers to test their racing skills against the best athletes in the region. There will also be the chance to snag some sweet gear!

This year's GO Fest race schedule is highlighted by the Wild Gear Chase, an urban scavenger hunt with lots of outdoor gear on the line. Using a map, cue sheet, and brains, racers are tasked with finding as many checkpoints as they can in the two-hour time limit. Checkpoints are scattered within a two-mile radius of the festival grounds. Racers are ranked based on time and points and are then allowed to select a piece of gear from the gear tent - prizes range from hats and water bottles to bikes and kayaks. If treasure hunting is your thing, this is the race for you.

Along with the Wild Gear Chase, GO Fest will also host an exhibition cyclocross race at the festival grounds Friday (Oct. 17) followed by the GO Cross Cyclocross Race at Fallon Park on Saturday (Oct. 18). These events will be great for both racers and spectators so bring your cowbell.

The Odyssey Mill Mountain Trail Half Marathon will take intrepid racers up and around Mill Mountain on Sunday, Oct. 19. 

If you are looking for something slightly less intense, check out the HomeTrust Bank Superhero Race and Fun Run. This 5k starts and ends on festival grounds and takes racers along the scenic Roanoke River Greenway. This un-timed race also includes the Little Heroes Fun Run for the kids. Prizes will be awarded for Best Costume and dogs on leashes are welcome. 

That's just a taste of the races going down on festival weekend. For more information on all these events and more, check out

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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 9/18-21

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, September 18

Friday, September 19

Saturday, September 20

Sunday, September 21

Monday, September 22

Tuesday, September 23

Wednesday, September 24

Thursday, September 25

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Pete's Pick: Explore Explore

Explore Park and the Roanoke River GorgeLast week I had the pleasure of joining a group of folks floating the Roanoke River to raise awareness of not only river issues, but also outdoor access in general (see photos of our rainy day float). We put in at Vinton and floated down Tinker Creek until it merged with the Roanoke River. We then paddled the flat-water section until we reached Niagra Dam. After a quick portage (river left) around the dam we were paddling down the Roanoke River Gorge (note: use the Blue Ridge Parkway Roanoke River Overlook access point to avoid portaging the dam).

After running the first rapid I was asking myself why it has been so long since I’ve paddled this section – it’s absolutely beautiful. For those of you haven’t floated this section, it’s a relatively short float (3 miles) with a few small rapids (class II), lush vegetation, as well as herons and bald eagles. The river was running low the day we paddled, about 2.3 feet (230 cfs), but we were able to make it down without getting hung up on any rocks. 

This section of the river passes right through the middle of Explore Park, and as we were approaching the takeout I was reminded of what an incredible asset Explore Park is.  Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism has taken over management of Explore Park and are currently accepting bids from companies to help develop a park master plan. Fingers crossed that this world-class asset becomes a world-class park.

If you want to get a personal tour of Explore Park the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Society of American Foresters are offering a free interpretive hike at Explore Park this Saturday (9/20 @ 3pm). This is your chance to enjoy a guided nature walk through the park where you will learn about the trees, soil formation, and modern forestry practices. It’s a great educational opportunity for kids and adults. But if you can’t make this hike you can still enjoy all that Explore Park has to offer on your own – hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, picnicking, paddling, fishing, and more.

Check out even more activities in the Get Outside Weekend Update.

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!



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Want It? Try It at GO Fest

Try Fly Fishing at GO FestThe Holidays come early for outdoor lovers in the Roanoke Region in the form of the Anthem Go Outside Festival. When thousands flock to the banks of the Roanoke River on October 17-19, it will be a celebration of all things outdoors. But this will not be your typical "walk around and look at cool stuff" event. Far from it.

One of the most unique aspects of GO Fest is that festival-goers are encouraged to actively participate. In fact, the festival depends on it. This is because each vendor or organization at GO Fest will have their own unique activity at their booth or tent. Besides the fun and educational games and races, there will be plenty of opportunities to test and demo gear, try new things, and pick the brains of the experts before making a commitment to a new piece of equipment or even a new sport. 

Looking to upgrade your bike, kayak, or other big ticket outdoor item? Demo the latest models from the top brands in the industry before plunking down your hard-earned cash. And we are not talking about kicking the tires, or rubbing the plastic; take your demo bike for a spin on the trails of Mill Mountain or roll your potential new boat in the demo pool. There will even be a huge, portable pump track on the festival grounds for demos. 

Always wanted to try rock climbing or fly fishing? A portable climbing wall will be onsite, complete with climbing shoe demos, and casting instructors who can walk you through the intricacies of catching fish on the fly. 

Yes, GO Fest is all about having a great time and hanging out with other active, outdoor enthusiasts. But it is also an amazing opportunity to try a new activity or find the perfect piece of gear before swiping that credit card. 

More information on everything you can try or demo at GO Fest >>>

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Get Dirty at the Marine 5K Mud Run

Marine 5k Mud RunAre you ready for a down and dirty weekend?

The 19th Annual Marine 5k Mud Run will take place this Saturday, September 20, at Green Hill Park in Salem. 

The race may be Saturday, but there is still time to register on race day. Show up early as the number of racers is capped. 

This fun mud run is as hard or as easy as you make it. Challenge yourself to take a podium spot, or just take it one step at a time and help your fellow racers get through the obstacles. Race as an individual or as a team. The team race is a great way to get your friends, family, or even your co-workers involved. What doesn't build teamwork like sloshing through the mud? And following the Marine ethos of "Leave no man behind," every team must cross the finish line holding hands or be sent back to retrieve their comrade. 

There is even a Pollywog Jog, a shorter version of the mud course for children under 12-years-old. The Marine Mud Run is also a great spectator event, so even if you are not jumping into the mud pit or the Roanoke River, you can still come out and support all the participants. 

There will be food vendors, showers, first aid, and water stations at the finish. 

So, are you up for the challenge? 

Find out how to register >>>

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First Full-Service Outfitter Coming to Roanoke

Roanoke Mountain Adventures A new venture opening in Roanoke will become the first full-service outfitter operating in the city, providing guides, tours, transportation and more for a variety of outdoor pursuits. Roanoke Mountain Adventures is slated to open in the spring of 2015 and is owned by the father and son team of Jim and James Revercomb. 

See the full press release below:

ROANOKE, Va. (September 17, 2014) -- Roanoke Mountain Adventures will open in spring 2015 in the City of Roanoke to connect visitors and residents with a wide range of active outdoor recreation experiences. The business will be the first of its kind in the region and will provide guides, tours, transportation, and equipment for mountain biking, road cycling, kayaking, and other outdoor recreation activities.

“Roanoke Mountain Adventures wants to promote the area’s natural resources by providing services that make outdoor activities more accessible to visitors and residents,” said James Revercomb, co-owner with his father Jim. James Revercomb is a Roanoke native who has spent the past six years in Wyoming working in similar businesses.

“The work that the Roanoke Regional Partnership, local governments, and others have done to develop and promote these resources has created this opportunity to get more people out there and attract more visitors,” said Revercomb.  “The image of Roanoke as a premier outdoor recreation destination will grow stronger when we can help visitors and residents easily experience all that the region has to offer.”

“The time is right now that the region has built a reputation as an outdoor destination,” said Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership which assisted Roanoke Mountain Adventures. “It fills a gap in our goal to deliver unforgettable outdoor experiences in the Greater Roanoke Region. It will be great to get people paddling or riding with just one call."

“Roanoke is the urban center of a large region and no better place to be the launching point for residents and visitors to experience all this entire region offers,” said Mayor David Bowers.

The business will operate from Wasena Station alongside the Roanoke River Greenway.  Revercomb will be planning guided and self-guided adventures designed for a customer’s interests and skill level at outdoor venues in the greater Roanoke region.  

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