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Read Me First!
If you're just arriving here at the GONewEngland site, here's a little checklist of what you should do now:
  • Check out this page.  It'll give you an introduction to Get Outdoors New England and what we're all about.
  • Have a look at some photos from GONewEngland activities.
  • Sign up for the GONewEngland E-Mail Newsletter (and maybe the E-Mail Chat/Discussion Group, too)
  • Take our Survey, if you like.
  • Find some events you'd like to do, and sign up!
  • If you have questions or comments, contact the GONewEngland-crew.

More details can be found below and in our Intro document.

What is "Get Outdoors New England" in one sentence?
GONewEngland is a neat, fun, and free Internet Bulletin Board for outdoor (and other) activities in and around the New England area---and sometimes beyond.
What is "Get Outdoors New England", and what is it not?
Get Outdoors New England is:
  • GONewEngland is an Internet-based bulletin board for outdoor activities in and around the New England area---and sometimes beyond!
  • GONewEngland is dedicated to Getting Outdoors and Making New Friends---and creating the environment in which this can happen safely and comfortably for all participants.
  • GONewEngland is free.  There are no dues, no fees, and no memberships---there's nothing to join.  (Activities, of course, are pay-as-you-go.)
  • GONewEngland is lucky to be full of neat people running and attending events.  People who respect others and the environment, participate and help out, and keep the atmosphere light and fun.  Married people, single people, families, young, old---it doesn't matter.
  • GONewEngland activities are arranged by and run by volunteers.   You are encouraged to run an event, too!
  • GONewEngland is a place where there are activities catering to all interests and all levels (and they don't even have to be outdoorsy).
  • GONewEngland counts on everyone's participation.  You can contribute information to the newsletter or chat/discussion group.  You can run an event.  You can be a point of contact.  You can get involved.

What GONewEngland isn't:

  • GONewEngland is not a "group," "club," or "organization."  It's a bulletin board for activities.
  • GONewEngland is not associated with any organization, but we do encourage participation by other similar activities groups who are welcome to post events at our site.
  • GONewEngland isn't available off the Internet.  We don't do any postal mailing ("snail-mail") or much telephoning (outside of our Hotline, of course).  Sticking to the Internet lowers the costs for maintaining the Bulletin Board.  It also helps people who are running and attending events stay in contact in a quick, efficient manner:  e-mail!
  • GONewEngland isn't a "singles group" or a dating service.  Other outdoor activity groups seem to be set up for this, but GONewEngland is not.  When you're out on an event, please focus on the activity itself as well as your safety and the safety of others.  In this way we'll continue to have a no-pressure and fun atmosphere for everyone.  You must have a proper set of expectations; anything beyond that can spoil a wonderful event for you and maybe others.
  • GONewEngland is not staffed with "experts" and does not pretend to be an authority on any aspect of any kind of outdoor activities.  Most activities are light and require the most basic skills, but others are a bit more involved.  You must judge your own abilities when considering attending an event.
Is Get Outdoors New England for you?
In case you've just come across the Get Outdoors New England site and are thinking about tossing your name onto the mailing list or joining in on an event or two, here are a few things which might just nudge you to Just Do It.
  • GONewEngland is full of interesting, outgoing people, who are anxious to help others, pitch in, share, and have fun.
  • There are many ideas out there---from skydiving to horseback riding---and we don't limit ourselves to any one type of thing or any one ability level. We don't even limit ourselves to New England!
  • Get Outdoors New England is a great way to meet new friends and become involved in activities you'd never dream of doing---like that group of GONewEnglanders who made arrangements for rock climbing lessons. Your Webmaster even rode a horse for the first time at a GONewEngland event!
  • The focus is on the group activities---getting out and doing stuff. Because of the excellent bunch of people in the Group, this makes for a comfortable, safe atmosphere for everyone involved. And there is Zero Tolerance for anything else.
  • Unlike most other "official" clubs, there is no membership fee, no dues, no pressure...Every one of us runs the show, coming up with ideas to run our own activities for GONewEngland.

Sounds corny? No, it's just the kind of vision co-founders Don Salomon and Ken Leonard had for what was originally The New England Hiking Group way back in February of 1997.  (Don Salomon has since moved on to start a successful for-profit outdoors group in Charlotte, NC, called Charlotte Outdoor Adventures.)

Are you still unsure?  At the very least check out the rest of the GONewEngland web site and sign up for the e-mail newsletter for a while.  You'll probably find an activity that you'd like to do---or maybe we can encourage you to run one for everyone!

For more info, see the Intro document.

Who's Out Here?
All kinds of people attend GONewEngland events.  We have those just starting out and we have those who are experienced.  There are young folks and old.  There are people who just love a short nature walk or a walk through Boston on a sunny day.  And there are the hard-core enthusiasts who stop at nothing to conquer seventeen peaks before breakfast!

Many people are those who have friends who say they'll go hiking or wherever but then always bail at the last minute (we've all been there).  Perhaps you've attempted to arrange activities with people who try something once and then never seem to get back to it, leaving you to do things by yourself all over again!  Or maybe your friends who have done outdoor activities with you in the past have new responsibilities now and cannot Get Outdoors so much anymore.  It happens, but it leaves many of us to try to Get Outdoors by ourselves.  For some activities that's OK.  But for others, such as rock climbing, it can be impossible.  Still for other types of activities it can be plain dangerous to go it alone.  And, of course, when you're by yourself, most of us have nobody to talk to.

No group can match the wonderful people who've managed to find The New England Hiking Group---and now Get Outdoors New England.  It's a unique bunch, but we're loads of fun.  Please remember your sense of humor---you'll need it!

How can I get involved? Where do I start???
You've taken the first step by dropping by the site and getting to this point!  This is what you can do from here:
  • Read through the Intro & Info document.   It'll give you some of the ground rules and history of Get Outdoors New England.
  • Sign up for the GONewEngland newsletter and (optionally) the e-mail discussion group.   These are on the Newsletter & Discussion page.  If they're not your cup of tea, that's fine, as they're very easy to unsubscribe from.
  • Attend events!  They're on the Bulletin Board.   Sometimes attending a lighter event or one of our social events is a good way to "break the ice".  But don't worry:  GONewEnglanders are great people, and you'll fit right in.
  • Finally you can run events.  Yes, this is a bit daunting for a newcomer, but overall the experience is wonderful and not very difficult.
  • Beyond that you can be a Point of Contact for GONewEngland.  That's someone who knows a little bit about a particular activity or area of New England and wouldn't mind answering some questions about it from other GONewEnglanders.
But I'm shy...
Your Webmaster has heard from many people who are hesitant about joining up with a new group.  It's normal.  You just don't know what to expect!
  • GONewEngland is full of fun-loving people who want to Get Outdoors and Make New Friends (that means you!)
  • The best way to "get your feet wet" is at a simple event, like a light hike or nature walk.  Our more social get-togethers (parties, Your Motivator's Monty Python Night, whatever) are also fabulous ways to meet fellow GONewEnglanders.
  • If you are new to doing stuff outdoors in general, ask questions!   Although we're not experts, we'll share our experiences with you and tell you what's worked for us.  You can ask a point of contact (on the contacts list at the web site).  There are some documents you can read on the web site as well.
  • New people show up all the time, and we always do our best to make them feel at home and welcome.  Well, you are welcome, after all!   GONewEngland relies on your input and your participation.  Getting involved in some way is why we're here.
  • Your Webmaster, Your Motivator, Your Mascot, and Your Social Director (a.k.a. The GONewEngland Crew) are here to answer any questions you may have.  Get in touch!  Or look for one of us running an event, and head on by to chat with us.  We'll introduce you around (after we get to know all the new folks too, of course).
  • Don't run an event right away!  Just c'mon by and attend a few first.  When you are ready to run an event, remember that the Crew is there to give you a hand.  You aren't alone.

The Stats:

  • Average age is somewhere around late 20's, mid 30's.  We have loads of people in their early 20's regularly attending events and many people in their 40's (especially women).
  • The mix of men and women is about even.  Because we keep our focus on the activity, that creates a comfortable atmosphere for everyone.
  • There are people in good to excellent physical shape, but the bulk (hmmm, bad word?) of people are just average.  Beginners and those trying to get into shape are more than welcome, too.  For hikes, our policy is "Nobody hikes alone."  The person running the event will run sweep or will make sure someone else is.
  • We've got some heavy-duty folks out there who run activities such as backcountry camping, skydiving, rock climbing, white-water rafting, and so on.  We've got some lighter-duty folks who run less intense events.  And we've got very light-duty folks who just seem to like to socialize.  "All interests, all levels."  Boy, we ain't kidding!
  • The biggest reason for people starting out with GONewEngland?   "I can never get any of my friends to do outdoor activities with me."
What's the catch?
OK, you've read through this document and been to the Intro page, and you may have dropped by our Send-In-An-Event page or perused our Bulletin Board.  You've even signed up for the newsletter and taken our survey.   Nowhere did you find mention that there's any "membership", fees, dues, obligation, or pressure.  There has to be a catch, right?  Well, the only catch to GONewEngland would be the lucky folks who land "the big one" on one of our fishing events---period.  Activities are pay-as-you-go (including pitching in for things like tolls, gas, parking fees, lodging costs, food costs, and so on).  All organizational expenses (web site, domain name, and so on) are donated by Your Webmaster, who has two goals:
  • Get Outdoors
  • Make new friends!

You are welcome.  Please join in!

Ken Leonard - Webmaster - Get Outdoors New England

The original New England Hiking Group concept went online February 16, 1997.
New name, new home Get Outdoors New England went online April 11, 1999.