Outdoor Recreation director Josh Soldan says that ODR is a “one-stop shop” for recreational activities.
“We have 23 different areas that fall under Outdoor Rec. including paintball, stables, pools, disc golf, adventure programs, equipment rentals and the lemon lot,” said Soldan. “We have something for everybody. If you’re a teenager, a young adult, a family person we literally have something for everybody under the umbrella that is outdoor recreation.”
Recreation aide Brandon Dominguez tells his customers, “We’re literally an hour and a half away from any outdoor activity you can think of.”
He added that people who come in for the first time are often surprised by just how much ODR has to offer.
“The most surprising thing we do is maintenance on snowboards and skis. We’re in the middle of the desert and we know how to completely fine tune skis and snowboards from base grinding to the edges to waxing to all this maintenance on it. It’s just kind of a weird, almost obscure skill set to have in the middle of the desert,” said Dominguez.
According to Soldan, customers who want to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, can also rent jackets, pants and boots in the shop.
“Our goal is that you come in here without any gear, without any knowledge and we’re able to educate you and outfit you,” said Soldan.
Another popular activity at ODR is rock climbing. To climb the rock wall at Edwards, a customer can receive a rock climbing certification that is good for the wall on Edwards after taking a three-hour class, then come back and demonstrate the skills learned in that class: gear knowledge, belaying (catching people as they fall), and most importantly how to be safe while climbing.
At a date to be determined, a new boulder will be added to the rock wall area by the Oasis Community Center to compliment the climbing program. Bouldering is climbing without any ropes. The boulder is 12-feet-high and 11-feet-wide with a maximum overhang of eight feet. It is surrounded by a 10 foot pad to ensure safe climbing.
“You won’t go up very high, but you will be able to practice those skills that will make you a better climber,” said Soldan.
Dominguez particularly enjoys paintball and land sailing. He noted that squadrons can rent the paintball field for a training or morale day.
“We’ve had a group of 40 people come all the way from San Diego just to use our paintball field,” said Dominguez. “It was an ROTC group and it’s just a great way for groups of friends and colleagues to go out and play.”
ODR also organizes trips for single Airmen through their Single Airmen Program. Activities might include deep sea fishing, zip lining or bungee jumping. The program also provides opportunities to make new friends.
“The sky is the limit for the Single Airmen Program,” said Soldan. “It’s a huge benefit for the single Airmen. Here at Edwards AFB there’s not a lot to do in the immediate area so this gives them an opportunity to see and do the things that they may never have the opportunity to do again in their lives. There are people going deep sea fishing, skydiving and bungee jumping, possibly for the first time in their lives and we get to provide that for them, which is pretty awesome.”
An open house for ODR will be held Oct. 31. They will have items on display and discounted equipment throughout the day.
“We have tremendous facilities and tremendous equipment and people just need to see what we have,” said Soldan.