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The Outdoors are Calling in 2021!

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

by Scott Fisher

It's hard to believe but we're just a few short weeks away from kicking off our 2021 season here at NOLI. And, if you're anything like us (we bet you are!), you're looking forward to spending as much of it outdoors as possible. We have a lot planned this year - our fullest calendar of events to-date - with over 50 different classes and 150+ unique events scheduled. Returning are all of our established classes across our core disciplines including Kayaking, Canoeing, Wilderness Medicine, Water Safety & Rescue, Conservation, Hiking & Camping, and Wilderness Survival & Navigation. And we are pleased to announce the addition of several new classes this year, some of them the direct result of your feedback and requests. These include:

  • Knots for the Outdoors - 3 hour class that not only teaches you how to tie a variety of useful knots but gives you the opportunity to practice them in real-world applications.

  • Map Reading & Compass 2 - Many of you asked for it so we are now happy to offer a Map Reading & Compass 2 Class for those who have taken Map Reading & Compass 1 and want to further develop their skills.

  • Whitewater Kayak "Spring Tune-up" - A great way to shake off the winter cold and quickly return to good form.

  • Whitewater Kayak Creeking Transitional - For kayakers interested in getting into this tighter, steeper subdiscipline of whitewater boating, our transitional class gives participants the opportunity to learn and apply creeking techniques on a standard river first rather than committing to a true creek right off the bat. A great skills development option for class 3+ non-creekers too.

  • Overnight Kayak Adventure - A while in the making, we are now excited to offer Overnight Kayak Adventures on the emerald green mountain-ringed waters of Watauga Lake. This course will be loaded to our website shortly so stay tuned!

  • L4/5 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Course - Now offered for those seeking to become Level 4 (Basic) or Level 5 (Advanced) Swiftwater Rescue Instructors. Our Level 3 River Safety and Rescue Instructor Course and full line-up of water safety classes will also be returning, as will our Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor Course.

  • Youth Camps - We are still assessing these for 2021 but are looking to possibly add 3-5 day Whitewater Kayak and Wilderness Survival-themed camps for youth this summer. Stay tuned!

In addition to the links above all of our classes can be found on our website at We also post these on our Facebook page as we get closer to the events so, if you’re on social media, be sure to like or follow us for the latest news and updates.

Returning to lead our classes in 2021 is our stellar team of talented instructors: Viki Austin, Debbie Briscoe, Kayla Carter, Brad Eldridge, Bill Schooley, Ryan Shealy, Jerry Smith and Robin Pope. And we are pleased to announce the addition this year of Minta Ray, an avid hiker and outdoorsperson who successfully completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2018. She'll be leading many of our hiking and backpacking events, including our Backpacking 101 Class and our free instructor-led hikes throughout the region. To learn more about all of these exceptional individuals, among the very best in the business, go to

We remain committed this year to providing outdoor education to as many people as possible regardless of age, experience or financial circumstances. To inquire about scholarship options contact us at As always your safety and well-being remain our top priorities and, to that end, our COVID-19 protocols remain in place for your protection as well as that of our instructors and community.

The outdoors are as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as ever, maybe more so, and we look forward to spending time with many of you again this year doing the things we all love. If you need anything or have any questions contact us any time. See you outside in 2021!

Scott Fisher is the founder of NOLI and teaches kayaking, water safety & rescue, wilderness survival, wilderness navigation and Leave No Trace.

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