Why OutdoorFest, Why Here, Why Now.
Written by Sarah L. Knapp, Founder of OutdoorFest. Photo by Larson Harley - March 2014, Rockaway Beach Queens.
I moved out to Utah for the snow – and good lord there was a lot of it. But after a few months of adrenaline, I realized I was missing something. That out there in the mountains I was connecting with a part of myself but not my whole self. So I returned to New York City, and found the energy, diversity, the artists and the ambitions that I so sorely missed. There’s nowhere like New York City and for every time we complain about the subways and garbage smells, there’s another time we had to stop, stand, and just listen to someone amazing sing or we felt inspired on a Wednesday at 3:00PM to change the world.
New York City has a terrible reputation in skibum-dom – it’s like we’re a land of demons, a place souls go to die, a mecca for the “man.” But it’s not. In New York, there are thousands of outdoor enthusiasts who use our city both as a base camp for great exploration and as a playground for local adventure. Here, we have one of the highest concentrations of outdoor enthusiasts in the world and vibrant communities of surfers, climbers, ultra runners, kayakers, slackliners and more.
Yet, it is undeniably difficult to connect with these communities. Many of our friends are not interested in the outdoors and the mainstream culture isn’t focused on our sports. What if there was a way to advocate for and strengthen the outdoor community at the same time?
I started OutdoorFest because I believe there is. I believe that the resources, the people, and the passion are already here. We don’t have to create anything new, but rather build a way to bring everything that exists together. My hope is that OutdoorFest can serve the community with information, inspiration and actual experiences that connect people to the outdoors.
Maybe we can’t get outside everyday but we can surely skip brunch on a Saturday and head to the woods. OutdoorFest is about reshaping the way we view our city lives through educating on the accessibility of the outdoors. We are here in New York City for so many reasons and we love it. We are also outdoor enthusiasts. We know that we can live in a city and still make the outdoors part of our lives.
Live in the city, love the outdoors.