About Us

Who We Are

Outwoods, being a strictly volunteer, non-profit organization, is a vehicle for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) community and their friends in Minnesota and adjacent states to publicize quality, enjoyable, non-competitive, outdoor recreational activities. Outwoods is solely a subscription-based organization.

The best way to learn about Outwoods and meet other people is to come on a trip. However, there is no person or committee that plans activities; trips happen when individuals submit their listings to the newsletter. The one principle underlying all Outwoods activities is volunteerism: the success of the club depends on the willingness of people to organize activities.

We depend on newsletter subscriptions (membership) to pay for the newsletter itself, the web site, Pride Booths, Parade Entries and much more.

A partial list of previous Outwoods activities includes the Outwoods “Hunt”, kayaking, hiking, biking, mountain biking, kite flying, canoeing, in-line skating aqua rollerblading, ice skating, phenology walks, bird watching at Hawk Ridge, backpacking on the Superior Hiking trail and Isle Royale, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, summer camping, winter camping, rock climbing, snow tubing, sledding, and orienteering.

Lavender Magazine articles about Outwoods

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(September 2004)

club news by Pat

When we retrieve our Outwoods newsletter from our mailbox every month and look at the events taking place, we don’t usually think of the time before the Twin Cities had a GLBT outdoor recreation organization. However prior to 15 years ago, there was no Outwoods. Flashback to 1987:

June 1987 Steve Birch attends Gay Pride in New York City. He sees a huge contingent of men marching carrying outdoor equipment, riding bikes and handing out literature about their club: Sundance Outdoor Adventure Society. The group was led by a man dressed as a spruce tree. Steve runs after the spruce tree, speaks with him and is encouraged to start an outdoor group in the Twin Cities.

August 1989 — A letter appears in the August 30, 1989 issue of Equal Times. It announces the formation of a GLTB outdoor wilderness activities club in the Twin Cities and asks interested people to call. Steve buys an answering machine, records the sound of a loon — and waits.

September 1989 — Almost 50 people called and on September 18th, 23 people met at Bush Lake in Bloomington to discuss the beginnings of the group and pick a name. “Evergreen Club”, “Aurora Borealis Club”, “Gay Prairie Club” were all suggested and discarded. Outwoods is born.

October 1989 — The first Outwoods event is a fall colors hike in Afton State Park, led by Mark H.

Fall 1989 to 1991 — Mission statement and by-laws were written, Outwoods was incorporated as a non-profit, and the first newsletters were published. The first open house was organized at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Outwoods had their first pride booth (shared with Front Runners). Originally the newsletter was free, and board members took turns personally paying for printing and postage. Within 8 months, the mailing list reached 250 names. When the decision was made to charge for the newsletter, the list immediately dropped to 60 people. Many of the first trips could have been from a recent newsletter: hiking in regional parks, biking on nearby trails, cross country skiing, snow tubing, and phenology walks to name a few.

I know that I am grateful to Outwoods for the great friends I have made and the good times that I have had on events. Let’s look forward to another 15 years! Join the Outwoods Board at Afton State Park September 24 – 26 for our 15th Anniversary Celebration. See the calendar of events for all the details.

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Core Values

  • To bring members of this community together in a sharing, supportive, respectful, and cooperative atmosphere
  • To foster a spirit of enjoyment and appreciation for the natural environment and its conservation and protection
  • To encourage safety and responsibility in the outdoors
  • To serve as an education and informational resource concerning all the organization’s values

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Board of Directors

Outwoods has a 7 member Board of Directors who at times will also be Trip Leaders and are at that activity/event/trip acting in that leadership capacity and no comments, beliefs or personal views are representative of the Outwoods Board as a whole.

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Trip Leaders

Anyone can organize a trip! Simply write your trip description, including: trip title, date(s), trip leader’s name(s), phone number(s), time(s), concise activity description, locale, directions, equipment/clothing required, skill level, costs, meal plans, reservation deadline, group size limits, and weather backup plan. The deadline for submitting a trip to be published by Outwoods is the 15th of each month. Trip description should be sent to the Outwoods newsletter editor via email to newsletter-editor@outwoods.org , or by phone. Trips may be listed in the GLBT press with the Trip Leader’s name and phone number. Outwoods reserves the right to edit or decline newsletter submissions.

See Trip Leader Information.

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The success of the organization depends on people’s volunteerism and willingness to plan and lead activities. All trip participants are expected to live up to the core values out Outwoods.

Participants or leaders not abiding by these values may be asked to leave the activity and the Board should be advised in writing. Multiple complaints will result in non-refundable cancellation of subscription and denial of future participation in activities listed by Outwoods.

Trip Leaders are unscreened volunteers, and therefore YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY IS YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Never participate in any activity or take any action that you feel is unsafe. Participation in any event listed by Outwoods requires the wearing of all relevant safety equipment including, but not limited to, helmets and life preservers. A full listing of the Outwoods bylaws, rules and regulations, Trip Leader information, and core values, are posted on the Outwoods website.

Outdoor Recreation Club for the GLTBS Community