Outdoor enthusiasts can look forward to an increase in networking and organized trips by the new Excursion Club at Cal Poly.

The club began in January 2003 at UC Santa Barbara as an outdoor mailing list that connected people who wanted to organize trips for activities such as kayaking, backpacking and rock climbing.

“We started out as just a group of friends and from there we had a few events per week,” said JJ Yoshihara, co-founder and president of the Excursion Club.

Yoshihara and Lacy Skidmore started the club while they were students at UC Santa Barbara and it has now grown to include chapters in Westlake and the newest San Luis Obispo chapter.

The first meeting at UC Santa Barbara took place in fall 2004 and drew nearly 450 people and the mailing list now includes over 650 subscribers.

“The purpose is to bring all of the outdoor enthusiasts in an area together,” Yoshihara said.

The Cal Poly club began advertising in January 2006 and plans to hold their first meeting during the fourth or fifth week of April. They are expecting a turn-out of over 400 people based off of their facebook club membership and an interest list that has over 200 contacts.

“We have an awesome staff for San Luis Obispo,” Yoshihara said. “They’re very committed, and based on their performance, this is going to be a pretty big thing.”

The Cal Poly chapter has been organizing rock climbing trips every weekend and are currently planning a backpacking and fishing trip to Mammoth over Memorial Day weekend, as wel as rock climbing trip to Joshua Tree later this quarter.

“The potential is endless,” said Will Young, a sophomore material engineering student and president of the San Luis Obispo chapter of the Excursion Club.

The club currently participates in kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, paintball, snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, hiking, backpacking, camping, spelunking, white water rafting, fishing and mountain biking.

“If you have an idea, bring it to the club and we can formulate that into an organized event,” Young said.

The club also has a pilot that organizes sightseeing trips that fly as low as 500 feet for aerial photography as well as additional social events for club members. No experience is necessary to participate in the trips.

“It’s a great way for friends to network together to find trips,” Young said.

After the first meeting later this month, the club plans to start registration at a cost of approximately $20 per quarter or $40 for the year.

“You really get great people that love the outdoors,” Yoshihara said. “They really inspire you to keep going.”

Many of the members have participated in numerous outdoor trips such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and have a wealth of experience and equipment to share.

“They open up a window of opportunity that we never had before,” Yoshihara said.

The club also has a strong appreciation for the environment and works with EcoLogic, a young adult environment group.

“It’s our hope that we can start to give back to the environment,” Yoshihara said.

The San Luis Obispo chapter is currently awaiting approval from ASI to become an official Cal Poly club. Additional information can be found at www.excursionclub.org.

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