If you didn’t get a chance to hit the slopes with Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation, fear not, there are plenty more opportunities for outdoor adventures in the coming months.
“Our focus is to develop new adventure programs for our community with biking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, sport shooting and much more,” said Joseph Harris, Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation director.
Outdoor Recreation planners are looking forward to a range of outdoor adventures including bike trips, barbecue and camping trips on the Mosel River, whitewater rafting in the Alps, biking along the Rhein River, downhill mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, ropes courses and various classes, Harris said.
Many community members took advantage of Outdoor Recreation’s skydiving trips last season. This year people can look forward to several dates including June 23, Aug. 18 and Sept. 1. Individuals are invited to take a tandem jump with a skydiving expert over the skies of Bitburg. Cost of the trip is $299 including skydiving and round-trip transportation from Wiesbaden for the one-day adventure.
Soldiers and civilians who made the jump last summer described skydiving as “amazing – the freefall was the best part,” “a great opportunity,” and “exhilarating.”
In addition to outdoor adventures, Harris said, Outdoor Recreation will also be offering trips to historical cities, the Munich Oktoberfest and Bad Dürkheim Wurst and Wine Festival.
Those who like to fish, hunt or get some time on the range will also find plenty of opportunities in the coming months.
“We can assist you in doing your hobbies here in Germany,” said Albert Klaver, Wiesbaden’s Hunting, Fishing and Sport Shooting manager.
Outdoor Recreation regularly hosts U.S. Forces German hunting and fishing courses to provide the training, knowledge and skills to hunt and fish while serving overseas.
“We teach you the laws, traditions and what you need to do to get your license,” Klaver said.
Those who complete the training and join their host nation counterparts are welcomed into an age-old tradition of helping protect resources while enjoying the sport and camaraderie.
“You’re more of a game warden (hunters in Germany) and assist in conservation of the animals and land,” Klaver said. “You are knighted into a guild” during a special ceremony. “Traditions are very meaningful and honor the animals that you take on a hunt.”
A U.S. Forces German hunting course is scheduled for Aug. 7 through Oct. 27 including classroom instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and shooting and practical range exercises on Friday afternoons. The cost is $250 including the registration fee, all classes and membership in the Wiesbaden Hunting, Fishing and Sport Shooting Program.
Outdoor Recreation offers recreational shooting and shooting competitions throughout the year. Community members who would like hone their skills can head to the McCully Range in Wackernheim on April 21, May 19, June 9, July 21, Aug. 18, Sept. 22, Oct. 13 or Nov. 17.
“Stop by on our range day. Safety briefings are at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.,” Klaver said, explaining that the briefing is mandatory for those new to the Outdoor Recreation shooting program.
“Then you can pay the entrance fee, firearm rental and purchase ammo right on the spot,” he added.
The cost to shoot is $8 per person for Wiesbaden Hunting, Fishing Sport Shooting members or $12 for non-members. A Family rate is also available.
Outdoor Recreation hosts shooting competitions, including rifle and pistol categories, on April 21, May 19, June 9, Sept. 22, Oct. 13 and Nov. 17. The competitions are aimed at ensuring participants stay compliant with regulations to retain their sport shooting certification and to support the local hunting community, Klaver said.
Military units can take advantage of the Warrior Adventure Quest program through Outdoor Recreation. The specially tailored “high-adventure” activities are geared primarily to units that are getting ready to deploy or that have recently returned from deployment as a way to enhance cohesion, morale and combat readiness.
“Outdoor Recreation can also help plan your military unit or private organization programs and trips, to include lodging and transportation,” said Harris, adding that the staff is looking in to the possibility of selling tickets to outdoor adventure parks in Europe such as Europa Park and providing bus rental services.
“We can also provide advice on local locations to visit, bike and hiking routes, and activities,” Harris said.
In addition to a wide range of equipment available for rent through Outdoor Recreation, paint ball, archery and bicycle maintenance services, community members can take advantage of seasonal bike rentals – May 1 through Sept. 30.
For more information on all of Outdoor Recreation’s programs and services – or to get involved as a volunteer – stop by the Wiesbaden Sports, Fitness and Outdoor Recreation Center on Clay Kaserne, call (0611) 143-548-9830 or visit the Wiesbaden Family and MWR home page at wiesbaden.armymwr.com/categories/outdoor-recreation.