Outdoor networks take nature seriously

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grand_canyon_blog.jpgWhether it’s a backpack, a bike or a paddle, chances are you’ll need some extras when you spend time with the Wilderness Network of Georgia or the Women’s Outdoor Network.

The two groups – aimed at gay men (WNOG) and lesbians (WON) – take full advantage of the rich outdoor offerings of metro Atlanta and North Georgia, whether it’s a moonlight hike up Stone Mountain or a bike ride around the city. They even head indoors for potluck dinners and an IMAX movie with drinks or organize longer trips to places including the Grand Canyon (photo).

The two groups are among the largest gay sports groups in the city, with their members spread throughout the region. WON counts some 450 members in 39 counties, including the expected – nearly half of their members live in DeKalb and Fulton counties – and the surprising, such as Cherokee County about 45 miles north of Atlanta. The Wilderness Network has about 250 members with a handful living in far-flung locales including South Georgia and Charlotte, N.C.

“The activities are geared for a wide range of fitness levels. We say go on one trip and see what it’s like. If you like it, join us,” said Tim Blackmore, president of the Wilderness Network.

I talked with leaders of both groups for my Southern Voice sports column. Read the full story.

(Photo courtesy River Byrd)

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