Gear closet over-floweth? Don’t hoard your old gear, recycle it.


Backpacks: The American Birding Association collects used backpacks and distributes them to scientists all over the country.

Bikes: Bikes for the World is a D.C.-based nonprofit that gives used bicycles new life by refurbishing and delivering unwanted bikes to people in developing countries.

Skis: A number of companies specialize in making custom furniture and accessories out of your outdated skis and snowboards, including benches, bird houses, and toilet covers.

Fleece: How many fleece do you need? Send your old performance fleece, baselayers, and cotton t-shirts back to Patagonia and they’ll make new clothes out of them as part of their Common Threads Garment Recycling Program.

Shoes: Many organizations will give your old kicks to those in need in the U.S. and beyond. Soles4Souls ( facilitates donation programs worldwide. Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into tracks and basketball courts, and a number of organizations enable you to donate shoes to those in need in your own area. For a map of shoe drop off locations across the country, go to

Cheoah River Release
Run the intense class IV-V rapids of the Cheoah River on select dam release dates this spring. For 80 years, the Cheoah River was little more than a trickle until American Rivers reached a re-licensing agree-ment in 2005. The 40-year agree-ment allows boaters to run 9.25-mile section of the southwestern North Carolina River for 18 days a year. Release dates: April 4-5, 18-19, 25-26 May 9-10, 16-17, 30-31 June 20-21 November 7-8 Walk on Water Looking for a new sport this spring? Try stand-up paddle surfing. The hybrid between surfing and kayaking involves standing up on a long board and moving through the water with a long paddle. The sport has taken off across the country, from the larger swells of Hawaii to the flatter inland waterways of the East Coast.

Do Something
Hiked the A.T. inside the Shenandoah National Park or driven Skyline Drive recently? Give back at the Shenandoah Rockfest, a volunteer extravaganza on April 18 where volunteers will clean up each of the 75 overlooks along the 105-mile length of Skyline Drive. “We want to make this the largest Shenandoah cleanup in decades,” says Thompson Ling, regional coordinator for The Access Fund and one of the masterminds behind the volunteer project. A climber’s festival with slide shows, live music, climbing, and free camping will follow the overlook cleanup.

Do You Still Play?
The latest Outdoor Recreation Participation Report from the Outdoor Foundation showed that half of all Americans (138.4 million) exercised outdoors in 2007. Our favorite outdoor sport is running, based on frequency of participation, followed by bicycling. Unfortunately, according to the report, backpacking and camping continue to become less popular, and participation in outdoor activi-ties among youth dropped 11% last year.

Watch this Summer
Ascents 08: A new film from Penstock Productions (the company behind the popular kaya-king series Lunch Video Magazine) documents climbers sending tough, picturesque routes within the Linville Gorge, a remote wilderness area characterized by steep canyon walls and massive boul-ders overhanging the Linville River.

Earth Before Industry
New EPA leader Lisa Jackson will look into considering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as factors in applications for new coal-fired power plants. The day after her announcement, AES Corporation decided to withdraw its application to build a new coal-fired power plant in Oklahoma. The Clean Water Protection Act was reintroduced in the House last month. The bill aims to prevent the dumping of coal mining wastes into streams, lakes, and rivers. The bill would overturn a 2002 Bush administration change which legalized the valley fills.