The National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS, turns 50 years old this Fall. The organization teaches outdoor safety and wilderness medicine and also has programs for leadership, networking, and general adventure in the outdoors.
NOLS was founded in Wyoming and is still headquartered in Lander, where it serves tens of thousands of students each year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard caught up with John Gans, the executive director at NOLS, to hear his take on the school’s 50-year legacy.
The National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS, turns 50 years old this fall.
The organization was founded in Wyoming in 1965 and is still headquartered in Lander. But in its fifty-year history, the school has offered courses on all seven continents. NOLS teaches outdoor safety and wilderness medicine, and it also has programs for leadership, networking, and general adventure in the outdoors.
John Gans, the executive director at NOLS, says what sets the school apart from other programs is its staff.
Former Wyoming Public Radio reporter and host Willow Belden left her job this spring to hike the Colorado Trail. That’s a 500-mile path through the Rockies, from Denver to Durango. She did the journey alone.
The Colorado Trail crosses eight mountain ranges, and climbs nearly three times the height of Mount Everest. It’s mostly above 10,000 feet, so the air is thin, there’s significant danger of lightning strikes, and it often freezes at night. About 400 people attempt the trail each year, but only 150 make it to Durango.
Adventurer Mark Jenkins of Laramie gets assignments all over the world for National Geographic, the magazine he writes for. He’s climbed Mount Everest, bicycled across Siberia, and even skied in Central Asia with the world’s oldest ski culture. Now, he’s one-upped himself.
To find out more about his expedition to the caves of Vietnam, I met with Jenkins in his gear room, a very orderly nook in the basement of his house, stacked with well-labeled bins full of outdoor equipment. It’s here that all of his adventures begin.