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    Parks, Recreation and Trees
     Outdoor Adventure

    | Program Listings |

    The following are some of activities run by the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator and the Park Rangers, in conjunction with camp counselors, naturalists, interns from Southern Connecticut State and Yale Universities, as well as some of the best rafting guides in the country.

    Program Listings

    Outdoor Adventure Coordinator
    Martin Torresquintero
    (203) 946-6768

    Kayak Instruction
    Roving Ranger
    Joe Milone
    (203) 946-6559

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    The Program

    Outdoor AdventureThe City of New Haven’s Outdoor Adventure Program, in cooperation with the New Haven Park Rangers, invites you to experience a unique, new, challenging, safe and fun learning experience for children, youth and adults. The focus is on environmental activities designed to enhance nature appreciation, appreciation of local resources to help raise the eco-consciousness as well as the self-confidence levels of the participants.

    Check the New Haven Parks monthly calendar for Outdoor Adventure program postings and updates. Groups are invited to call Joe Milone at 203-946-6559 to set up a private program.

    • Team building
    • Coooperation and clear communication skills
    • Conflict resolution, group decision-making
    • The effects of human activities on nature

    Through progressively more challenging experiences, participants learn team building, cooperation, and conflict resolution. Staff helps teams establish goals that call for planning, group decision-making, task designation, and group action. Meetings before and after the activities create clear communication channels and cooperation. Learn a first-hand understanding of the effects that human activities impose on nature, about natural history and environmentally responsible choices, to engender a sense of care for our natural resources.

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    This is a classic team-oriented activity, which requires minimum or no prior knowledge of paddling skills. Our team of certified instructors and canoe leaders will provide you with ample opportunity for learning basic paddling techniques, and for wildlife observation. For more information please contact the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator at (203) 946-6768.

    Download the Canoe/Kayak Guides

    pdf iconMill River Canoe Guide
    pdf iconMorris Creek Canoe Guide
    pdf iconQuinnipiac River Canoe Guide
    pdf iconWest River Canoe Guide

    Note: To view PDF files you must have installed a free copy of Adobe Acrobat® Reader

    Canoeing in Mill River
    Canoeing in Mill River

    Canoeing Clinic

    In our canoe clinic, we teach everything you need to know to become a confident, safe and informed paddler. Topics covered include strokes, safety equipment, rescue, re-entry and portage. We spend all day paddling. We require that you pre-register for any class. If the dates on our Monthly Calendar or downloadable brochure don't fit into your schedule, we may be able to find a date when we can lead other group lessons.

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    We currently offer three distinct kayaking programs for beginners and intermediate paddlers alike. These programs utilize our sit-inside touring kayaks, and stress proper technique and safety. These kayaking programs are for paddlers aged twelve and up.


    Kayaking Clinic (Part I & II)

    In the class, we teach paddling technique, entry (and exit!), proper use and selection of safety gear and basic rescue skills, as well as the basics of caring for a kayak. Plan to get wet! These classes are great for beginner or intermediate paddlers who wish to learn more about their craft. Class dates are listed on the Monthly Calendar and in our downloadable brochure, but if you have a group, we may be able to schedule a private lesson. Pre-registration for these classes is mandatory.

    Kayaking Rescue Clinic

    Kayaking Rescue Clinics are held during the colder months in various pools around the city. In these classes, we further explore and perfect techniques for self and tandem kayak rescue. Techniques covered include wet exits, deep water re-entry, paddle float rescues, bow, parallel and paddle tandem rescues and the mechanics required for Eskimo rolling. Class dates are listed below, and pre-registration is required.

    Full Moon Kayaking

    Starting in May we will welcome experienced kayakers to join us on a moonlit paddle of the New Haven Harbor and Morris Creek. These trips are not for beginners, so we ask that you complete one of our Kayaking Clinics in advance. If you are already a seasoned paddler, you can opt out of our clinics by completeing a quick skills test. These tests will be offered one hour prior to the start of any Kayaking event at Lighthouse Point Park and require you to perform a deep water re-entry (solo or tandem). We require that you pre-register for a skills test or a Full Moon Kayaking session.

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    Introduction to Archery

    ArcheryThe Beginner Archery series of classes concentrates on range rules, safety rules and fundamentals of archery, and is taught using recurve equipment. The beginner session is appropriate for those who have never shot a bow, or those with some previous experience that are seeking a refresher session.

    All safety gear and equipment will be provided. (Bow, arrows, finger tab, arm guard, quiver). Class is limited to 10 students (more if a special group/camp, etc, with advance notice). Classes open to all ages ( 8 and above) Parents & children may shoot together.

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    Learn to navigate using a map and compass. This course covers taking a bearing, reading a topographic map, finding distance and can include making a compass, designing a course, using GPS, geocaching or letterboxing.

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    Eco-Adventure Extreme Camp

    New Haven’s Eco-Adventure Extreme camps are unique, challenging, safe and fun learning experiences.They include environmental activities, amazing exposures to biodiversity, and outdoor adventure activities specially tailored to the needs and abilities of the youth. We will offer the campers different experiences on three levels: physical, intellectual, and emotional, through exploration of a wide variety of urban and natural settings in the City of New Haven. Our staff-to-participant ratio allows for plenty of personal instruction, as well as careful supervision of all activities with individual attention.

    By taking on progressively more challenging experiences, participants will learn team-building, cooperation and conflict resolution. Staff will help the teams establish goals that call for planning, group decision-making, task designation and group action while providing instruction about natural history and environmentally responsible choices.

    Activities include canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, sailing, orienteering, hiking & nature interpretation, climbing wall, rock climbing, mountain biking, introduction to scuba diving, ropes & challenge course, and much more. A swimming test is required for acceptance in the Eco-Adventure Extreme camp.

    Right Click to download Eco-Adventure Extreme Camp application forms and brochure

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    White Water Rafting

    The ultimate adventure includes navigating a river full of unexpected obstacles. Run in conjunction with some of the best professional white water guides in the country, we offer beginner and intermediate trips in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont (White Water Class III and IV rapids).

    White Water Rafting

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    Hiking & Snowshoeing

    Periodically, we will offer hikes to remote locations along the Appalachian or other trails in New York and New England. Included in the fee for these trips is van transportation to and from trailheads and, in snow, snowshoes and poles. Participants must provide their own, water, lunch and weather-appropriate clothing. Dates for thses out-of-town hikes are listed below. For local lunchtime and weekend hikes, check our Monthly Calendar.

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    Portable Climbing Wall
    Our customized 25’ tall wall is equipped with four climbing stations and a newly redesigned system of climbing holds. New Haven’s own wall ("The Rock") enables a challenging activity that is customized to fit individual needs and physical limitations. It allows participants to become more familiar with climbing skills before moving into "real rock," or to simply challenge themselves to reach for the top. Free to the public during scheduled dates. Wall and staff are also available for rental on a limited basis. Prices range from $900 to $1,800 depending on the type of event and the number of participants per hour. For more information, call the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator at (203) 946-6768.
    Climbing Wall

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    Rock Climbing

    As a Professional Mountain Guide, the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator is qualified to provide our participants with an enjoyable and safe learning experience that not only will provide exhilarating pleasure, but also will contribute to the development of their self-confidence. This can lead to a new willingness to accept personal responsibility and a deeper appreciation for having to trust their life to someone else, while allowing themselves to reach unimaginable new heights. With the latest techniques and equipment, we pay particular attention to safety, judgment and the environment.

    Mountain ClimbingRock Climbing
    Mountain Climbing

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    Initiative Games / Ropes Course

    Cooperation, trust and other group dynamics are built through creative problem solving in our Outdoor Adventure Initiative Games program. Our staff has been trained and certified to lead these non-competitive activities. Teams will work together to accomplish various challenges in the field or on one of our low ropes courses at the West Rock Nature Center. Individuals will increase their levels of self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth. An emphasis on teamwork and communication helps participants understand the importance of community. Often, these activities are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Most of all, however, these activities are fun for everyone involved.

    The program has three components: initiative games, low elements and the high elements. These activities must be accomplished in order, but are often part of a multi-day program.

    Ropes Course at Camp Cedarcrest
    Ropes Course

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    Ice Climbing Excursions

    Take a winter mountaineering trip to the White Mountains and learning to climb frozen waterfalls. These courses are designed for those with little or no previous climbing experience. Participants will learn about use of crampons, French, International and Front Point techniques. Self arrest, anchors, belaying, snow and steep ice techniques will also be covered. This course includes climbing a steep snow and ice slab, as well as top-roping vertical ice. Program fee includes food, lodging and transportation. Minimum age is 15 years old.

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    Mountain Biking

    Our staff focuses on the safety aspect of cycling in order to ensure that participants will learn the skills needed to enhance their ability to ride responsibly and enjoy some of the most splendid natural areas in and around New Haven. We teach the technical skills necessary to safely operate a 21-speed bicycle, while minimumly impacting the trails.

    Mountain Biking

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    A great way to introduce kids to the sport, in a supervised and controlled environment. This course includes basic instruction in safety, fitting and use of mask fins and snorkel. Participants are allowed to keep snorkel. Available upon request (when pool available). Minimum age is 10 years old.

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    Introduction to Scuba Diving

    An exhilarating and safe opportunity for kids who are too young to become fully certified scuba divers or for adults not willing to commit to a full scuba certification class. Participants will experience scuba diving in a controlled environment, in less than 6 feet of water. All necessary equipment will be provided. We encourage participants to use their own mask and snorkels upon approval by our instructors.


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    Scuba Diving P.A.D.I. Certification

    This entry-level scuba course consists of three, three-hour classroom sessions and three, three-hour pool sessions. The amount of time needed to complete all skills and material is dependent on individual class size. The course fee will include all textbooks, plastic dive tables and all scuba equipment (tanks, regulators, wet suits, weight belts, weights and buoyancy compensators) for the pool. Not included in the course fee are the student’s personal dive gear (mask, snorkel, fins and booties), dive log book and open water-training dives. We recommend that this equipment not be purchased until after the first class meeting. In order to complete certification, four open water training dives must be completed. These dives are typically done on two half days, either here in Long Island Sound or the student can complete the dives on their own (i.e. while on vacation in Florida, Mexico, etc.…). Upon completion of these dives and passing the written and practical skills tests, an internationally recognized P.A.D.I. certification card will be issued at no extra fee. All participants must be in sufficient health and fitness for this scuba diving instruction. Prior to the end of the class, students must be able to swim non-stop eight pool lengths, and tread water for 10 minutes. Minimum age is 12 years old. Maximum number of participants is 15.

    Scuba Diving P.A.D.I. Certification
    Scuba Diving P.A.D.I. Certification

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    Click To Visit Department
    Polar Plunge at Lighthouse Point Park
    Winterfest at West Rock Nature Center
    Canoeing at East Rock Park
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