Hike N' Hammer-time: nonprofit to tour historic Rices Landing

Participants follow a Venture Outdoors volunteer trip leader along a trail. (Photo courtesy of Samone Riddle)

Venture Outdoors, a non-profit whose mission is to provide the gear, guidance and inspiration to get people outdoors, is holding its first ever Greene County event on Oct. 27.

Titled Hike N’ Hammer, the activities begin at 10 a.m. on Water Street in Rices Landing with a six-mile hike along the Greene River Trail. The day includes a look inside the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop, nestled on the banks of the Monongahela River, with a demonstration of the still-operational machinery.

The foundry, one of the nation’s best-preserved examples of an early 20th-century small industrial machine shop, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016.

Those interested in participating in the event must pre-register on Venture Outdoors’s before Friday, Oct. 25. Participants should pack a lunch, wear comfortable shoes and bring water. Snacks and drinks at the end of the outing are optional and not included in the registration price.

The cost of the event is $30 for non-Venture Outdoors members. However, Greene County residents are eligible for a 75% discount by using code GRN2019, which translates to $6.25. The outing, classified as a moderate level of difficulty, will take place rain or shine, unless conditions are deemed unsafe. As of Saturday, Oct.12, eleven spots for participants remain.

The outdoor outing is funded via a grant from the Pennsylvania Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund and is administered by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp.

“We cover an area of Southwestern Pennsylvania that extends from Greene County to Breezewood,” said Samone Riddle, Venture Outdoors communications manager.

Recent Venture Outdoors outings included a Railroaders Lunch and Ride in Armstrong County, an Apollo 11 Full Moon Hike in Apollo Pa., a kayaking trip in Brady’s Run in Beaver County and an art walk in Greensburg.

Mike Schuller, an outdoors enthusiast with a business mind, founded Venture Outdoors in 2001. The organization went non-profit in 2004, the year it launched its first kayak rental location under the Roberto Clemente Bridge on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. It has since offered public outdoor trips and an annual outdoors festival that brings outfitters, kayakers and outdoors enthusiasts together at Point State Park in Pittsburgh.

Venture Outdoors organizes more than a dozen events each month that include activities such as kayaking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and geocaching. By partnering with other organizations, Venture Outdoors also offers rock climbing, fly fishing and fishing outings and “sit with a physician” events whereby participants hike with a doctor and ask questions about health.

“Venture Outdoors serves all age ranges with programs for youth, college age students, families and those 50 and up through its Venture Outdoors Again program,” Riddle said. “We try to create programs.that immerse people in the history and industrial heritage of their region.”

Memberships begin at $20 and up, depending on the level of participation, and outings usually number between 10 and 20 participants. Members are entitled to discounts for the outings and other programs.

For more information, or to register for events, go to https://www.ventureoutdoors.org.

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