A- A+

Fall in Love with the Great Outdoors in DSM

Great Outdoors Foundation

April 25, 2019

As a Greater Des Moines (DSM) lifer, I enjoy this city for many reasons. With its amazing culture, affordable housing, friendly people, wonderful opportunities for career growth and incredible outdoor amenities, Des Moines has so much to offer. Sure, we don't have mountains or oceans, but what we do have is an amazing trail system, numerous parks that feature great hiking trails, wonderful lakes for fishing, swimming or watersports and areas that are perfect for family and friends to get together and enjoy the great outdoors.  

There might only be one individual in my family that loves the outdoors more than myself and that’s my dog, Emma. We take her on regular trips — nearly every weekend! —aptly named ‘venture days.’ We try to go somewhere new every time we go out, exploring new territories, seeing new sights and hearing new sounds. If the destination has a swimming hole, or a mud pit, even better. We’ve been doing these trips for a few years now and with the breadth of locations that Des Moines has to offer, we still have many places left to explore.

From these adventures and many other reasons, I have fallen in love with the great outdoors and everything that comes with it. Time spent in the fresh air is a great reset to a stressful week, and a re-energizing boost for what lies ahead. It serves as a great reminder to what life is all about: living.

Great Outdoors

Turning the Outdoors into a Passion

As my passion for being outdoors has continued, I’ve become more aware of ways I could support others in their desire to discover what I enjoy. Not only that, but ways I could help Des Moines grow these outdoor experiences even further. I was introduced to the Great Outdoors Foundation (GOF), which provides leadership, fosters partnerships, increases awareness and raises funds, serving as a catalyst to power passion and support for regional projects that expand and restore natural spaces, enhance outdoor recreation and learning opportunities and promote conservation.


I am honored to now be a GOF board member and am excited to announce that I am helping to champion an event on their behalf. This year, we're launching OUTDOOR ENCORE: A Camper Chic Showcase that will be held April 26-27 at Jester Park Recreation and Wellness Center (adjacent to the Nature Center). This two-day event will further GOF’s efforts to foster outdoor recreation and build passion for nature. The first night of the event will include a sneak peek at emerging outdoor styles from Active Endeavors and will provide attendees with first access to purchase gently used outdoor equipment available for a fraction of its original price. The second day of OUTDOOR ENCORE will be a broader, community-wide sale of this equipment. The cost to attend the Camper Chic Showcase & Cocktail Hour on Friday, April 26 is $25. Entry is free to attend on Saturday, April 27.

We are putting this event together because we believe we can help lower the barrier of entry costs associated with some outdoor activities. Can’t afford a new kayak? Need a pair of hiking boots? Want some unsolicited advice on the correct type of fishing tackle to use in certain areas? Maybe you just want to find out more about all of the things that GOF is involved in — including our largest project yet, the regional Water trails project!

Join us for OUTDOOR ENCORE: A camper Chic Showcase, presented by Active Endeavors!

We want you to experience the full scope of activities in and around the capital city. Enjoy a new hobby or find new places to explore, creating fun adventures for you and your family. Now is the time to get to know the great outdoors in Des Moines!

Whether it’s a morning on the lake or an evening spent riding through Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 800 miles of connected recreational trails, the region has many outdoor options.

Cory Sharp

Cory Sharp is past president of the Young Professionals Connection (YPC) and an architect passionate about Greater Des Moines (DSM), music and the great outdoors. He can normally be found playing with his dog Emma, enjoying time with friends at local craft breweries or out networking at various community events.