ModeChat: Jim Lloyd on how to get outside in metro Detroit

Warmer temps are finally here, and you're ready to bike, hike, swim and bask in Michigan's great outdoors. But before you start planning your next up north vacation, you might consider the "Pure Michigan" that's closer to home.

That's according to Jim Lloyd, coordinator of the Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy Adventure League. He says there's plenty of opportunity for outdoor exploits in southeast Michigan.

The conservancy started the Adventure  League in 2010 to help engage its members and get them outside—where they could enjoy the fruits of land and water conservation efforts in metro Detroit.

We caught up with Lloyd to find out more about the Adventure League.

Metromode: How did the Six Rivers Adventure League get started?

Jim Lloyd: The Adventure League started in 2010 when one of the Six Rivers conservancy staff thought it would be interesting to have kayak paddles on all of the six rivers—Clinton, Flint, Shiawassee, Huron, Rouge and Belle—served by the organization. It ended up being a lot of fun.

When that employee left in 2013, I was newly retired, so I took over coordinating the League. I've always been very interested in building community and have always volunteered in my local community some way.

I decided to add on nature hikes, bicycle rides, and also some winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, to allow the League to become more of a regular activity. We schedule most of the events for Wednesday evenings to reinforce the idea that this is nature near home. We don't have to go up north for this—it's right here where we live.

Mode: What types of people participate?

Lloyd: Our events are not athletic or competitive. This is recreational. It's designed for average people with not particularly great levels of skill, to just go out and have fun with other people. There are all kinds of events out there for people that feel like they want to get into something high energy and competitive. This is a slower pace. It's more about appreciating nature.

Mode: What are your favorite kinds of Adventure League trips?

Lloyd: River paddles are an awful lot of fun. And our rivers are something that a lot of people in metro Detroit are not exposed to on a regular basis; for most people, our rivers are kind of off-limits.

It takes some knowledge to know where you can get in and out and requires some logistics to coordinate a trip. So it helps to have a group of people to help with the transportation back and forth from start to finish. It's a real opportunity to get a lot of people to see the rivers. They're pretty amazing.

Mode: What is the benefit to the land conservancy for hosting the Adventure League?

Lloyd: Our hope is to go beyond finding our supporters among traditional conservation-minded folks. We are venturing to connect with people who like and enjoy nature, but maybe don't know much about conservation and don't understand the role that conservation plays in providing these great resources near home.

Mode: If people want to get involved with Adventure League, what should they do?

Lloyd: The best thing to do is to visit sixriversrlc.org and view our Adventure League schedule. That's a convenient place to leave your contact information if you want to get on the mailing list. We send out weekly instructions for the events.

Mode: What else should people know about metro Detroit's natural resources?

We have beautiful natural resources close to home, thanks to the foresight of individuals as far back as the early 20th century who started preserving large tracts of public land near Detroit. People can enjoy these resources on regular days. It's convenient. They don't have to get in their cars and drive north to see wild natural areas.

2016 Adventure League Schedule

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