Inside the Gates: Service members outfitted for adventure
In Alaska, we're all about our outdoor gear and enjoying everything this great state has to offer. For military families, who usually are only here for a short time, it can be tough to make the most of the 49th State.
That’s where the Outdoor Recreation Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson comes in. The center has everything an outdoor enthusiast could want-- for rent.
Director Tyler Glenn says they have a huge variety, from fishing poles, camping gear, skis and snow boots to bigger items like ATVs, kayaks, campers and fishing boats. They even stock some unusual items, like gold pans and sluice boxes. Glenn said they try to think of all the gear a military family might want to try but not necessarily buy.
"A lot of people in Alaska own their own but these folks are only going to be here for a couple of years,” he said. “This affords them the opportunity to come out and rent it."
Among those looking to try something new is Naval Petty Officer David Bloodgood, who is in Alaska for just two weeks, taking part in a training exercise.
“Just got here a few days ago, enjoying my time here and just want to see more,” said Bloodgood.
He decided to rent a bike to get out and explore and knew the Outdoor Recreation Center was the place to pick one up.
“You don't want to stay inside when you're in Alaska. You want to go outside and see everything so, I love this. It's really fantastic,” he said. “It's been a while since I rode a bike, too, but I think I've still got it."
Growing up in a military family, Glenn remembers the Outdoor Recreation Center allowed his family to enjoy the places they lived, despite the sometimes-challenging military lifestyle. Now, he wants that for other families.
"Because of that high tempo, that high stress, no matter if they're on a deployment or even if they're just working here on the installation, you're going to need to have that positive outlook,” said Glenn.
The Outdoor Recreation Center also offers guided adventure tours, like a Jim’s Creek ATV tour, traversing Matanuska Glacier and rafting Eagle River. The center is only open to military members and their families.