young friends have good time on camping trip, relaxing vacation with fun

One of the pleasures of living in the Pacific Northwest is experiencing the great outdoors. There’s a club with a local chapter that encourages participation in all things outdoors…The Inter-Mountain Alpine Club. The club’s website states the purpose of joining is to, “Meet new people, make new friends, share in the fun, and enjoy the love of the outdoors. Learn new skills and participate in exciting adventures, all while advancing the causes of conservation & stewardship in the Pacific Northwest.”

I-MAC was organized in 1948 and its membership continues to grow. Those interested in hiking, backpacking, climbing, camping, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing, should consider membership. Outdoor enthusiasts can find information and a link to membership at Membership dues are a mere $10.00/year! With the paid dues, members receive a monthly newsletter (The YODELER) that outlines upcoming activities and events. The club offers all kinds of outdoor experiences for members of all skill levels. Members must be 18 years or older to join and must agree with the club’s tenets of being good stewards of the trails and elsewhere.

Each year the club organizes many group hikes in our region’s National Parks, the Columbia River Gorge, the Cascades, the Blue Mountains, and our National Forests. I-MAC also prides itself in offering educational opportunities and leadership training. Additionally, the club boasts an active social committee that arranges potluck dinners, slide shows, and offers an annual New Year’s Day hike up Badger followed by a chili feed!

Of course, the summer and fall months are filled with group hiking adventures, but even in the months of March, April, and May when the trails are still snow-covered or muddy, events are planned. March 4th and 5th there are lessons planned on how to build your own igloo and sleep in it! Also, on March 4th there is a hike planned to Coyote Wall. It’s listed as a moderate hike with views of the Columbia Gorge. On March 12th, a family event is listed as “Family Day at Horseshoe Prairie” for free snowshoe and cross-country ski instruction. Even the gear will be loaned without charge. On March 11th, a trip to Woodland Sno-Park is planned. It is described as a 6.6-mile journey, with 700’ of elevation gain, offering views. It is considered a rigorous outing. April 15th is a day for I-MAC members to volunteer working with the Friends of Badger Mountain in readying the trails for our community to enjoy our local mountain. In May, there is a backpacking school. Each month there are opportunities to stay involved with other members of the I-MAC.

Living in the Tri-Cities keeps its residents closely linked to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, but newcomers may not know how to access the trails to be enjoyed. The Inter-Mountain Alpine Club offers this access, along with friendships that encourage sharing common enjoyment of the great outdoors through learning about our region, hiking with groups of members whom all appreciate adventures, and volunteering to help with our local trail systems for the enjoyment of the entire community. Questions about joining this local club can be answered at [email protected] or writing to P.O. Box 505, Richland, WA 99352.

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