By Karl Weisel (Wiesbaden Family and MWR)December 2, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany - With a brand new facility set to open in February and a wealth of classes, trips and more planned, Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation is gearing up for a bountiful New Year.
"Right now we are looking to accept the keys for the new Outdoor Recreation Center in the first week of December 2019 and look forward to having a Grand Opening on or around Feb. 20, 2020," said Joseph Harris, Outdoor Recreation director.
Harris said the Grand Opening will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion and guided tours of the new facility.
"The new Outdoor Recreation Center will provide all Outdoor Recreation equipment and staff in one central location," Harris said, adding, "This will decrease waiting times for service and allow customers to receive all of their equipment from one location.
"The new location will also have designated paintball fields for play days along with providing private/military unit groups a place to host organizational events," he said.
To close out 2019 Outdoor Recreation offers several Christmas Market trips (to Rothenburg on Dec. 7, Nuernberg Dec. 14 and Heidelberg Dec. 21) and day skiing/snowboarding trips to Engelberg Switzerland, and the Black Forest on Dec. 28.
Hunting, fishing and sports shooting enthusiasts will not be disappointed in the many opportunities available through Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation in 2020.
"We're (Wiesbaden's Hunting, Fishing and Sports Shooting Program) considered the model for Germany," said Al Klaver, the program's manager. "Our program offers comradery and places to fish or hunt.
"You can hunt all year round here for multiple species of deer (and other game)," he said.
Newcomers to hunting or fishing in Germany must obtain the proper licenses. Outdoor Recreation helps in that endeavor by providing several classes during the year.
Upcoming U.S. Forces German Fishing Courses are scheduled to be held Jan. 9-12, April 2-5 and July 9-12, 2020. U.S. Forces German Hunting Courses will be conducted on Jan. 28 to April 18 and Aug. 4 to Oct. 24, 2020.
"Those who complete the training to join their host nation counterparts are welcomed into an age-old tradition of helping protect resources while enjoying the sport and comradery," said Klaver.
Hunts often include traditional rituals such as the blowing of hunting horns to pay tribute to the bounty and to mark a successful hunt.
"Hunters in Germany help serve as game wardens, he said, "and assist in conservation of the animals and land. Once you graduate the course, you are 'knighted' into a guild/Jaegershlag during a special ceremony."
Americans who join the fraternity (including men and women) of hunters in Germany also have the opportunity to learn how to play a hunting horn for free from their host nation colleagues. "This in turn can help get you invited to participate in more hunts and functions," Klaver said.
"Your Jagdschein (hunting license) is good in all states of Germany, unlike in the United States where they are only valid in the state where they were issued," he added.
An Outdoor Recreation trip to Dortmund on Jan. 30, 2020 will take local hunting and fishing enthusiasts to the largest Hunting, Dog and Fishing Exhibition in Germany.
"You can purchase items on the spot at a reduced price (at the exhibition)," said Klaver. Other features include having the chance to view the latest merchandise available (before hitting the stores) and connecting with agencies offering "trips to exotic places."
Community members will also continue to have plenty of opportunities to improve their marksmanship at the McCully Range during scheduled Recreational Shooting days and competitions. Upcoming Recreational Shooting days are scheduled for Jan. 25, Feb. 22 and March 14, 2020.
"We're trying to expand our Archery program and want to add air rifles for ages 12 and over to give them some marksmanship and the ability to shoot with their parents," Klaver said.
Skiing/snowboarding day trips to Engelberg and the Black Forest are also slated for January, February and March.
Community members are reminded that Outdoor Recreation offers a seasonal equipment rental program. "From now through April 1, skiers and snowboarders can rent all of their equipment for a flat rate of $199 (including a free edging and wax job)," said Harris.
Outdoor Recreation has a full range of equipment available for rent ranging from full suspension mountain bikes to camping gear. "Outdoor Recreation offers two full-service maintenance and repair shops for bicycles and skis/snowboards," Harris said, adding, "Both have top notch equipment and certified technicians providing seasonal services.
"Outdoor Recreation will be introducing some new biking, canoeing and hiking programs, along with leisure travel trips to various locations throughout Europe," he said. "We'll also be adding more educational programs such as SCUBA and Skydiving certification, along with Heli-Skiing, Mountaineering and Hut Hopping for small-sized groups. … Outdoor Recreation will continue to teach Lifelong Skills through a range of educational activities, classes and programs throughout the year.
"Outdoor Recreation is looking to host Inflatable Play Days, along with Paintball Play Days on site at the new center. These will usually be on Saturdays to coincide with both adult and Child and Youth Services scheduled sports programs," Harris added.
Units can continue to take advantage of Outdoor Recreation's Warrior Adventure Quest Program.
"This free program is offered to all U.S. Army units (platoon-sized groups of Soldiers only) assigned to the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden footprint that are deploying, returning from deployment or that have been in garrison for at least 22 months," Harris explained.
"This is a high-adrenaline program to help Soldiers become more resilient and is a great team-building activity while providing positive activities that help build unit cohesion and esprit de corps," Harris said. "This program goes through a full five-step structured process from beginning to end with full military unit interaction and oversight."
Warrior Adventure Quest options include Paintball, Battle Ball, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Canoeing, Bouldering or Rock Climbing.
For details on upcoming trips, educational classes, hunting and fishing opportunities and other Outdoor Recreation programs and services stop by the Wiesbaden Sports, Fitness and Outdoor Recreation Center on Clay Kaserne, call civ (0611) 143-548-9830 or -9801, or visit https://wiesbaden.armymwr.com/programs/outdoor-recreation online.