The white barn behind the Memorial Union is one of the more unique buildings on campus. It is home to the Maine Bound Adventure Center, a unique branch of the University of Maine’s Campus Recreation devoted to more exclusive adventure sports. The Adventure Center boasts a 32-foot high climbing wall and a 12-foot tall bouldering wall, two keystone activities for the barn. The entire structure has essentially been hollowed out to make room for the five-sided climbing wall, and the floor replaced with soft foam to protect climbers who may fall. The staff is friendly and helpful, and every single one is an avid outdoors person. From climbers to hikers to those with a simple need for an outdoor connection, any UMaine student can feel comfortable at the Adventure Center.
Maine Bound also puts on dozens of programs throughout the year, including a hike to Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise, rock climbing courses, from the beginner level all the way to advanced, and white-water kayaking courses. Maine Bound also offers other programs that are aimed towards an audience that still wants to immerse themselves in the outdoors but without the burden of a 45-pound backpack or the risk of whitewater rapids. Yoga on the mall, for instance, focuses on a more relaxed outdoor experience, as do many other programs like the Bigelow Range Fall Foliage Hike or Open Boat Nights, where students can meet instructors by the Steam Plant to paddle around for a bit in one of Maine Bound’s kayaks, canoes or stand-up paddleboards, which are all available to rent for a low price.
Maine Bound also spearheads campus organization in charge of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) campus community challenge, an online nationwide outdoors activity challenge that UMaine has been competing in for some years now. Students can download the AORE app to their device and log outdoor activity hours along with photos or videos and help UMaine take first place for the most outdoorsy student community in the country. Last year, UMaine placed in the top schools for New England, and is currently in second place for Division 1 schools, trailing just behind Texas Woman’s University. With a community as connected to the outdoors as the one here at UMaine, the Maine Bound Adventure Center can be a valuable tool for anyone looking to maximize their time outside and help the school win the Campus Community Challenge this year. Even low impact activities such as walking or gardening count, and given that this is a pedestrian campus, almost everyone could sneak in a little outdoor time between classes.
There aren’t many schools that are as connected with the outdoors as UMaine, and the white barn right behind the Memorial Union is a testament to that. With a staff that is as helpful as they are passionate about their work, and an almost endless list of events to choose from throughout the year, the Maine Bound Adventure Center is one of this school’s lesser-known organizations, but certainly one of its most important.