The great outdoors + beer + community = one compelling equation. That’s the basis for Mappy Hour, a new network of adventure and travel enthusiasts passionate about the outdoors, maps, guidebooks, and physical activity. Cleveland is the newest of its 12 North American chapters, with approximately 50 members already.
The Cleveland chapter’s first formal event takes place tomorrow, February 6, at Terrestrial Brewing Company in Battery Park from 6 to 8 p.m. Dan Sahli, Recreation Specialist with the Cleveland Metroparks, will present a practical introduction to cross-country skiing and discussion of the region’s best cross-country ski locations. Other events planned for the chapter’s inaugural year may include a talk from one of the Lake Erie surfers, an activity on the Buckeye Trail, and an event organized around the best rock climbing areas within a few hours’ drive of Cleveland.
OffMetro.com publisher Sarah Knapp founded Mappy Hour in 2014 in New York City to create a sense of community among people who live in urban areas but crave nature, sports, travel, and outdoor adventures.
“I’m always going somewhere, constantly planning trips and activities,” said Tasmin Andres, Chapter Leader of Mappy Hour Cleveland (a part-time, completely volunteer gig for Andres). “I’ve had trouble finding and meeting up with like-minded travelers and adventurers, and knew we really needed this in Cleveland. That’s the core of Mappy Hour—not to just listen to a talk and go home and think about activities, but to create the tools and connections we need to make them happen.”
Andres envisions interactive post-event opportunities to further education and training, so that events aren’t just speakers with passive listeners. “Someone might get up at the end of an event and ask who is interested in joining for an informal Towpath bike trail ride, for example,” said Andres.
She also plans to add training and education to the events as other chapters do. For example, “adventure corners” for post-talk breakouts, with various corners of the room devoted to learning about knot tying, ways to right your kayak if it tips over, or best practices on packing a backpack for different types of hikes.
The group plans to meet around 10 times per year, switching locations for each meeting. Membership and events are free, though they are actively looking for sponsorship opportunities so that they can continue to offer events on a complimentary basis. Andres expects to quickly build a large vibrant chapter—no surprise in a city of Clevelanders who love our region, love beer, and who work hard to play hard.