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Countering the coronavirus: AF Academy’s Outdoor Rec activities continue during pandemic

A backpack and trekking poles rest against a rock on Eagle’s Peak, overlooking the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

A backpack and trekking poles rest against a rock on Eagle’s Peak, overlooking the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 26, 2021. In addition to hiking, the Academy Outdoor Recreation office continues to offer a variety of outdoor activities including white water rafting, rock climbing and biking. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Seth Stang)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – --

The coronavirus pandemic put a hold on many services at the Air Force Academy but didn’t stop the 10th Force Support Squadron’s Outdoor Recreation office.

Many services at the base came to a near standstill during the initial days of the pandemic, but the OutdoorRec staff continued to offer scores of activities to thousands of customers.

Working within Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the OutdoorRec staff created socially distant adventure trips, retooled their trailer rental schedule to decrease customer interaction and hosted “staycations” allowing customers to swap national parks closed to the public for Peregrine Pines Family Camp.

“We will continue the ‘staycations’ as this has been extremely well-received by those who don't have a vehicle to tow a trailer or were not comfortable towing,” said Outdoor Rec director Charles Alfultis.

According to Alfutis, some changes to customer service were so successful they’ll remain in place

“We will continue to schedule pick-up and drop-off times for customers who would like to rent trailers,” he said. “It helps the customers in keeping social distance and helps the staff give better customer service as they do not have several customers to help at one time,” he said.

Same for the “staycations.”

Summer activities OutdoorRec continues to offer include white water rafting, rock climbing and biking.

“Being in Colorado affords us the opportunities to provide numerous activities year-round,” Alfultis said.

Visit www.usafasupport.com/outdoor-calendar/june/oa-june-calendar.html and www.usafasupport.com/outdoor-calendar/june/oa-june-calendar.html for more information.