Get Outdoors Day good chance to unplug

Collaboration of outdoor agencies has much to offer

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If you go

o What: Get Outdoors Day at Fort Vancouver, an outdoor activities festival with archery, rock climbing, fishing and tips for how to enjoy the region's parks and forests.

o Where: Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St.

o When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 14.

o Cost: Free.

o Information: nationalgetoutdoorsday.org or call 360-816-6230.

If you go

o What: Get Outdoors Day at Fort Vancouver, an outdoor activities festival with archery, rock climbing, fishing and tips for how to enjoy the region’s parks and forests.

o Where: Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St.

o When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 14.

o Cost: Free.

o Information: nationalgetoutdoorsday.org or call 360-816-6230.

You can bring your cellphone to Get Outdoors Day at Fort Vancouver, but you might want to leave it turned off.

The event, a blending of National Get Outdoors Day, Northwest National Park Family Day and the Fort Vancouver 1840s brigade encampment reenactment, aims to show people what’s outside, beyond the realms of cell and computer screens.

And checking texts and Facebook every 5 minutes sort of defeats the purpose.

Besides, there’s a whole lot of fun to be had in the real world and so many options, like disc golf, fishing, hiking, archery and camping, just to name a few.

“Get Outdoors Day is promoting kids and families finding ways to create bonds with each other outside of the home and outside of the city,” said Robert Gutierrez, a ranger at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. “There are so many opportunities in our open spaces. You can have a great time with very little money.”

Rangers from city and state parks, the Forest Service and officials from a host of other agencies will spend the day teaching visitors how to get started in a variety of outdoor activities.

Kids and their parents can even learn how to fish in a makeshift pond set up by the Forest Service, said Tauhir Jones, a spokesman for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

“Everything is there,” Jones said. “It’s really just Forest Service folks showing them how to handle the fish humanely, what to do so they know how to fish when they’re in the forest.”

The pond will be stocked with trout that visitors can take home and eat after catching, Gutierrez said.

There will also be an archery range, rock climbing wall and a host of games. There will be about 50-60 booths with hands-on projects, food and items from local businesses.

“This year we’re also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which protects federal lands from development,” Jones said. “It’s just a great day to get started with outdoor activities.”

Last year, about 5,000 people came to the event, held next to Pearson Air Museum on the Fort Vancouver site. This year, organizers are expecting even more, Gutierrez said.

The Fort also will be open and free to the public all day, as will National Forests and other parks as part of a national fee-free day.

At the Fort near the visitor’s center, rangers and re-enactors will perform black powder weapons displays and create a replica 1840s fur trappers camp that hearkens back to a wilder age with cloth tents and cook fires.

“Kids will be able to see our encampments and see what life was like in the 1840s,” Gutierrez said. “We’ll have games from that era, like cat and mouse, which was a tug of war game, and also supervised axe throwing. That’s something the kids don’t usually get to do at home.”

The Vancouver Concert Band will play, and after the event ends at 3 p.m., visitors can head over to the upper parade grounds for a flag ceremony in honor of Flag Day.

“It truly is a collaboration of all the outdoor agencies,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of things to try.”