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Submitted photo / Michael Hatch takes in the view from Burger Butte in the Wallowa Mountains.
January 7, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – An experienced mountain and backcountry ski guide has joined Eastern Oregon University as its new Outdoor Program coordinator.
Michael Hatch, of Boise, Idaho, brings more than a decade of outdoor field experience to the position. His first day at the university was Dec. 1 and he is already planning a series of activities making the most of the winter recreation season now in full swing.
The first event is a free avalanche awareness presentation Wednesday, Jan. 14. It begins at 7 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 104 and is sponsored by the Wallowa Avalanche Center.
Looking ahead, the third annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is Feb. 20-22. Watch a showing of the Winter Wildland Alliance’s Backcountry Film Festival on campus Friday night and then participate in races, more avalanche safety clinics and listen to live music at Anthony Lakes on Saturday.
“The Outdoor Program is a valuable resource for students and the community to tap into and our services are open to everyone – students, faculty and community members,” Hatch said.
The services he notes include a rental shop that provides equipment like snowshoes, cross-country skis, backpacking and camping gear, rafts, inflatable kayaks, avalanche/snow safety packages, climbing and mountaineering hardware, bikes and more.
Following completion of a facilities remodel in coming weeks, the university’s indoor climbing wall will also reopen to the public with a new facelift and mats.
“Our backyard offers world-class opportunities for outdoor recreation and our proximity to such recreational wonders as the Wallowa and Elkhorn ranges, Grande Ronde and John Day rivers, local climbing crags like Spring Mountain, not to mention fantastic biking, hiking and skiing, make the region an ideal outdoor classroom,” Hatch said.
Many credit and non-credit courses are facilitated through the Outdoor Program in addition to the ski and snowboarding class Hatch is teaching this term as an adjunct instructor of physical education and sport.
Winter camping, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, mountaineering, avalanche awareness, whitewater rafting and kayaking, backpacking and wilderness first aid are among the diverse offerings.
“In spring term, I hope to expand our courses to include things like beginning horsemanship, archery, ski/snowboard mountaineering, wilderness survival, beginning kayaking, fly fishing and outdoor photography,” Hatch added.
Prior to joining EOU, Hatch helped manage Forest Service recreation programs for operations in both Idaho and northeast Oregon. He has taught avalanche courses to hundreds of recreationists, college students and emergency medical services personnel as a course leader for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education and professional member of the American Avalanche Association.
Hatch is currently a board member of the Wallowa Avalanche Center and has volunteered as lead forecaster and education coordinator. He is also a member of the Union County Search and Rescue and has certification as a wilderness first responder. His bachelor’s of science degree in resource conservation is from the University of Montana.
The Outdoor Program is located in the Hoke Union Building, Room 118. For more information and hours of operation visit eou.edu/outdoor or reach Hatch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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