Annual event boasts Dayton as ‘outdoor adventure capital of the Midwest’

The 18th annual Adventure Summit was held on the Wright State University campus this weekend, hosting thousands of outdoor enthusiasts in the city event organizers have dubbed the outdoor adventure capital of the Midwest.

“This event is a celebration of outdoor culture and lifestyle in Dayton,” said Angela Moore of Five Rivers MetroParks, who noted the event began in 2006 as a partnership between Five Rivers and Wright State. “It allows like-minded people to gather together and talk about the outdoors.”

Saturday was the final day of the two-day event, which Moore said typically attracts about 6,000 visitors who have the opportunity to see presentations and participate in activities like a competitive triathlon and climbing wall competition, fitness sessions, interactive clinics and more.

Wright State’s Erin Compaleo said the Adventure Summit has grown through the years thanks to community partnerships and desire from participants.

“We have so many people who go on incredible adventures and want to share with others, and also people who come to the Adventure Summit, learn about a particular adventure, and go do it for themselves,” Compaleo said. “It’s a great way to connect with other people who have similar passions.”

David Pratt and friends Rachel Ross and Mike Seville decided to attend this year’s summit when they learned of a presenter scheduled to speak about the Isle Royale National Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“I used to get a magazine subscription to Backpacker Magazine and in that I saw Isle Royale featured and instantly decided I would go there one day,” Pratt recalled. “I’ll be 55 this year and have decided it’s time. I’m an empty-nester and have a little more cash now, so I’m like, ‘Yes, I’m doing it.’”

The group is looking forward to a 10-day trip filled with fishing, backpacking, exploring, and, if they’re lucky, a view of the Northern Lights. They sat in on Saturday’s presentation by Matt Anderson, called “Planning a Multi-Day Trip: Lessons from Isle Royale National Park.”

Other presentations held throughout Saturday’s summit included focuses on outdoor destinations throughout Ohio, as well as shared experiences from those who’ve traveled the world in search of outdoor adventure.

Neal Moore is an American writer and canoeist. He is the first known person to canoe solo from the Pacific to Atlantic in a continuous journey, which included 22 rivers, 22 states, 22 months and 7,500 miles.

Moore has spent the last three decades living in Cape Town, South Africa, and Taipei, Taiwan.

A lifelong adventure-seeker and two-time cancer survivor, Moore shared the role the outdoors have played in his life. The recovery process during the second bout of the disease was especially tough, Moore shared, leaving him much less mobile.

“During that time, I could only dream of being free, dream of being wild again,” he said. “It took about a year, then I made my way to Northern Ethiopia, where I went for a big hike across the country, and it was just spectacular.”

Nature and outdoor adventure can provide not only memorable experiences, but lessons, Moore said.

“There’s something special about pushing yourself into the wild,” he said. “You have to learn how to find the stillness within yourself, and to be in concert with that nature all around you is something that’s absolutely brilliant.”

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