Finding the perfect gifts for the outdoor types on your shopping list should be one of the easiest tasks you will tackle this holiday season.
For youngsters still developing their outdoor interests, the gift you give may open their eyes to new pursuits. Outdoors lovers with established skills and enthusiasms always need proper equipment and clothing suitable for their interests. Guide books and appropriate outdoors apps for gadgets make thoughtful gifts. For people who have everything, you may have to get more creative.
The gift of your time may be the most generous present you can find, especially for the youngest and oldest people on your gift list. Wrap up a handful of promises to be redeemed over time, such as a winter snow outing, a springtime picnic, a summer hike and an autumn foliage drive - none of these gifts costs much, but all of them will generate valuable experiences and memories. Visits to museums, state parks or national recreation areas such as Red Rock, Lake Mead or Hoover Dam will cost only your time, fuel and the price of admission or entry fees.
Give the gift of some assistance. Although you can't buy a federal or state park pass for anyone but yourself, you may be able to help a senior citizen or disabled acquaintance obtain such passes and help cover the cost if that is an issue. Lifetime passes are free for permanently disabled citizens. Lifetime passes for senior citizens 62 and older cost just $10. For other U.S. citizens, annual park passes are available for $80. Annual passes are free for U.S. military members and their dependents.
Federal America the Beautiful recreation passes remain among the best bargains in the country, entitling pass-holders to free entrance to 2,000 recreation sites across the country, including national parks, Bureau of Land Management recreation areas and sites managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation. They are generally available at interagency offices and at the recreation sites themselves. They are also available by mail with proper documentation and an additional $10 fee for processing through the U.S. Geological Service at usgs.gov/pass.
Nevada's 24 state parks, including the five in Southern Nevada, have an annual park pass program but no lifetime passes. For Nevada seniors 65 and older, a $30 administrative fee entitles the pass-holder to free entrance, camping and boating at all Nevada state parks. For other Nevadans, an annual pass for all parks costs $100. Passes specific to a single park cost less. Nevada park passes may be obtained at the parks or at district offices. They are available by mail through the main state park office in Carson City. Download an application from the Nevada state parks website.
Give the gift of shared experience. Wrap up a pledge to share something you enjoy doing. Anglers can show someone else how to bait a hook, or you could pay the fee for a fisherman to learn how to fly-fish. If you take great outdoors photographs, arrange an outing with a budding photographer or someone who wants to improve his or her skills. If you know a lot about plants or birds or wildlife, give the gift of outings to share your knowledge. Everyone remembers the first time they pitched a tent, caught a fish, saddled a horse or cooked over a campfire - and fondly recalls the old hand who taught them how.
Give the gift of a unique experience. Wrap up a certificate for locally available adventures such as a guided horseback ride in Red Rock or Eldorado Canyon, a hot air balloon ride, a zipline thrill at Bootleg Canyon, a float trip on the Colorado River from Black Canyon River Adventures, an off-highway ride into the vivid landscape along the Logandale Trails or a trek into the dark tunnels of the Techatticup Mine in Eldorado Canyon. Arrange a dinner aboard the Desert Princess on Lake Mead. Introduce someone to an affordable excursion on the Southern Nevada Railroad. For the person on your list who has seemingly done everything, consider providing the challenge of playing race car driver at Las Vegas Motor Speedway or locomotive engineer on Ely's Nevada Northern Railway.
Margo Bartlett Pesek's Trip of the Week column appears on Sundays.