“I was exposed to the outdoors at an early age. I was five when my dad and uncle decided to climb Longs Peak in Colorado,” said Kirk Reynolds, Discover Outdoors founder and one of the visionaries behind Outdoor Rise, a week-long festival from June 17-23, offering free events for New Yorkers in and around the city. “It’s a 14,000-foot-peak and I still remember chasing chipmunks, scrambling up rocks, all the amazing things. That was my moment. My dad is my inspiration, the reason I love the outdoors. A lot of people have never had that moment—especially living in the city. Through Outdoor Rise, we want to introduce that moment, make it happen, or remind people that it is important to get outdoors.”
Outdoor Rise opens early on a Monday morning in Sheep Meadow with yoga class, an activity one can sign up for every day of the festival. As the seasons change from spring to summer during the week, so will New Yorkers find themselves excited to change how they interact with the city and the easily accessible great outdoors beyond it.
“Most people don’t know these places exist,” said Kirk, talking about the festival’s lineup, from bouldering in Central Park to a guided solstice hike to Breakneck Ridge. “The whole point of Outdoor Rise is to inspire people and to give them an opportunity to take a class, attend a lecture, go to a fishing clinic, try kayaking on the Hudson. Do all these things, not take any chances, meet somebody and get inspired by something. That is the first step, checking things out on their own.”
Kirk anticipates over 5,000 people will attend Outdoor Rise, be it for stand up paddle boarding on the Hudson River, photography workshops, volunteering with the Van Cortlandt Park Forest Restoration, stargazing on the High Line, nutrition classes, or a bike ride around Manhattan.
Whether you’re a native or a newcomer, you’ll appreciate the experience of rediscovering New York, of exercising with new friends, of stretching out beyond your comfort zone and realizing you knew living in New York was an adventure, but not like this.
Outdoor Rise promises to be a magical occasion, and it’s all free.