1990 : 1991 : 1992 : 1993 : 1994 : 1995 : 1996 : 1997 : 1998 : 1999



The kitchen in the basement of the Columbus hostel had never been modernized. The Board authorized the expenditure of $17,000 to do a first class. The Hostel Operations Chair, Mike Fox, did a super job of accomplishing this major renovation.


With the new craze of mountain bikes or bikes with wide tires, wide handle bars and sitting in an upright position, the Council started a monthly ride specifically for these bikes. There are few places in Ohio to ride this bike off road. Each winter month a 25-mile ride was planned within 50 miles of Columbus, using as many gravel and hilly roads as possible.


The second Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure had over 2,300 participants touring the north coast area of the state. The ride visited Oberlin, Bellevue, Port Clinton, Fostoria, Bucyrus, Mansfield, and Ashland.


The Board agreed to loan $70,000 to the Syracuse New York Council towards a new $300,000 hostel. These loans have become almost a tradition with Columbus Council. It is hoped that we never have a bad loan. To date we have had trouble with only two loans. A $1000 loan in the early '70s to Community Camp for a hostel in New Plymouth was never paid back. Before that a $500 loan to the Bridgeport CT Hostel was defaulted and eventually the court awarded us about half the loan back.


The program continues to do well. It grows each year and this year was no exception. Beginning backpack school had 18 students that spent 6 weeks in the classroom, a field trip and a weekend of backpacking. An intermediate backpack school had nine students spend considerable time advancing their skills both in the classroom and in actual backpacking. Nine trips were held this year.


Council cavers engaged in public service projects this year. A weekend camping and caving trip with youngsters from Godman Guild was initiated. Fifteen Council volunteer cavers co-operated with the National Park Service on a weekend cave restoration project at Mammoth Cave National Park. Continuing seminars teach single rope vertical techniques resulting in a successful trip to a cave with a 120 foot entrance drop. There were nine trips to caves that are within 6 hours of Columbus. One day trips to Carter Cave continue to be the most popular trip for cavers and beginners alike.


The Council helped sponsor a public hearing at Columbus City Council chambers to establish a vision of cycling Central Ohio. The event was sponsored officially by The Central Ohio Bicycle Advocacy Coalition. This new group wanted to have public officials from the state, county and cities attend an open meeting to hear what was needed by cyclist both for recreation and commuting in the Central Ohio area. With a couple of hundred in the audience and over 20 public official present to hear the 12 main speakers, it was a worthwhile event.



Even though Columbus has had little snow for the last few years the winter activities continue to grow. The new chair, Sandy Jones has come up with many ways to keep our members enjoying the outdoors and indoors. She started more frequent ice skating events, sponsored ice hockey, down hill skiing, and organized the new sport of roller blading.


The third annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure had over 2400 riders. The ride started in Washington C. H. and toured the south central part of Ohio. Towns visited included Circleville, Logan, Chillicothe, Waverly, West Union, and Hillsboro.


The Council decided to stop operation of the two bike rental. The rentals at Sharon Woods Metro Park and Blacklick Woods Metro Park were breaking even or losing money in the last few years. In addition, a new AYH policy, that applies to all bicycle rides, was instituted. This policy requires the wearing of an approved bicycle helmet. This would be difficult at a rental.


This new sport has really taken off in Columbus under the leadership of Sandy Jones. Nearly every month there is an article telling about where they will be having week night sessions and weekend roller blade trips. Generally they use bike trails, but have been known to roller blade in downtown Columbus on Sunday.



National AYH produced a new "Risk Management Manual" that the Columbus Council believed would be restrictive to our activity program. According the Board took action to respond with extensive remarks. A committee was formed under Tom Barlow, Tour Director of GOBA, with the desire of a major revision of the Risk Manuel. When present to the National Board of Directors, the suggestions made by Columbus were adopted 100%.


A marketing plan was developed in 1992 to determine how to increase use of the two Columbus operated hostels. This detailed document was prepared for the Board by E. J. Honton, member of the National AYH Board. First it was shown that the city of Columbus needs to be marketed for what is available there to get hostlers to come. Since in 1992 Ameriflora was a major event in Columbus the Board should promote coming to see it and staying at the Columbus hostel. Use of the hostel could also be increased through extensive marketing with Columbus AYH bicycling events drawing people to the area.


The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure had 2,650 registered participants. The week long tour this year stayed overnight at Delaware, Galion, Mt. Vernon, Coshocton (2 nights with a loop through Sugar Creek on the second day), Zanesville, and Granville.


The Council elected to donate $4,325 to the Ohio State University police department to start a police on bikes patrol on campus.


Several year ago Columbus AYH provided $8,000 to help in the production of a video to show the correct way to effectively bicycle in traffic. For this sum 500 copies of the video were provided to be sold to libraries in the United States. The board approved $3,530 to get the mailing list and mail promotion material to the libraries. These 500 copies were sold out very quickly and the Council recovered its total investment.


A loan of $10,000 was approved for a hostel in Santa Cruz California. This continued the long commitment that the Council has towards hostels.

The Minneapolis Minnesota Council also requested a loan of $50,000, however, before the loan was approves the building they were interested in was sold to another party.



The Council participants in this annual event by paddling down the Scioto River and using canoes as the viewing platform for the annual 4th of July fireworks. This has become such a big event that people are turned away for lack of space in the boats.


A section of the Buckeye Trail is now maintained by the Backpacking program. Under the leadership of Ann Gerckens the trail in Scioto State Forest is cleared of brush and trail blazes are installed.


GOBA continues to be a very successful endeavor of the club with Van Wert, Defiance, Wauseon, Bowling Green, Bluffton, Wapakoneta see about 2900 riders this year.


A survey was completed to gage the interest in having an activity center in conjunction with a hostel in Columbus. The survey showed there was considerable interest. The present Heart of Ohio Hostel on 12th Avenue was not considered a good place to have activities as it is small and hard to reach with little parking available. A great deal of effort was expended in looking for a site that would match the criteria of a building that could serve as an office, activity center and hostel. After several months work, the idea was abandoned.


The Ham Radio club that has helped with TOSRV for many years needed a new repeater and the Council agreed to donation of up to $13,000 to cover the cost. A repeater is very necessary to the successful communications on TOSRV. The Columbus Police Department was awarded $4,000 toward the purchase of 6 bikes for Police On Bike program.


New furniture was procured for the Malabar Farm Hostel. The faithful house manager Florence Overholt was commended for her outstanding commitment to the hostel. Heart of Ohio Hostel manager Clint DeWorth hosted a rededication of the hostel. He oversaw many improvements to the hostel under the guidance of Mike Fox, the facilities manager for the Council.



In 1994 the bicycle patch ride program had a terrific turn out of riders. Woodstock 431, SPOT 310, Mid Ohio Century 1045, Top Of Ohio Hundred 584, HOOT 285, Ridge Runner Ramble 109, Ride The Darby 104, Covered Bridge Century 102, Hocking Hills 100 55, Columbus Fall Challenge 412, and Fall HOOT 66. This continues to be a successful part of the outdoor activity program.


Over 2694 participants from 33 states and 5 countries enjoyed this tour of southwestern Ohio. Featured this year were visits to many state parks, Ohio Caverns, Piatt Castles, outdoor drama Bluejacket, Air Force Museum and historical sites such as Ft. Recovery. Overnights included Celina, Piqua, Urbana, Xenia, Miamisburg, and Greenville.


A total of 6018 signed up for Tour of the Scioto River Valley this year. As seems to often be the case, it rained hard on Saturday all day. So this 33rd running of the event is listed as the wettest of them all.


The Council continues to be an active participant in the National meetings. A representative from Columbus has attended the four board meetings each year. In addition one of our board members, Gail Hesse, is the Regional Vice President and is on the National Board. The Council has been active in attending many meeting of the Strategic Planning Process. This two year effort has been diligently worked on by the Columbus Council. Work continued on the National Risk Management Manuel under the direction of Tom Barlow.


Four Council members were sent to a Wilderness Risk Management Conference in Conway, Washington. The high cost of insurance liability insurance is a problem and it is hoped that by the work of the Risk Management Committee that the cost can be lowered. Those who attended the Wilderness Risk Management Conference are to teach up to eight people per activity first and basic aid.

Also, the Council contracted with SOLO Wilderness Emergency Medicine to teach a 16-hour back country first aid course.


Under the leadership of Sandy Jones ice skating participation has really increased this year. She scheduled a skate every other Sunday through March at the new Chiller facility near Dublin.



At the January 1995 Board meeting there was extensive discussion about whether to disaffiliate from HI-AYH or to set up two organizations. One being the hostel arm and the other the activity group. While no decision was made at this meeting it was the beginning of serious discussion about the future of Columbus Council AYH.

At the February Board meeting reasons for disaffiliating were discussed including the high cost of insurance, the requirement of a full audit rather than a financial review (tremendous cost difference) and the difference in our missions. While Columbus has always supported hostels and wish to continue to do so, the main focus of the organization has been activities.

In early April the Board meet with Dick Martyr, Executive Director of HI-AYH and Blaine Frantz, National HI-AYH liaison to the Eastern Councils.

The discussion covered these main topics: maintaining & operating hostels, programming in hostels, do the missions of Columbus Council & National overlap, what does Columbus Council give to National, what about hostel closings in the U. S., can a split be amicable if one occurs. Financial perspectives on hostels. An important point made during the discussion was that National expected disaffiliation would occur, but council presence would remain in Columbus. Columbus Council is naive if it is believed that split will occur without a struggle. All relationship break-ups have an element of strife and discomfort.

In April 1995 an open membership meeting was held to get the views of all the members. Position papers were prepared titled "Why Affiliate" and Why Disaffiliate" were prepared with the goal of a frank, open, and honest meeting. Unfortunately only 63 members participated in the meeting. It was decided to delay the question until latter when there would be an open forum on the question and followed by a general membership meeting. The forum was held on November 1, 1995 at Chemical Abstracts and the general membership voting was held on November 9 at the Columbus Council office building.

If disaffiliation is approved it is the Boards intention to continue operating as when Columbus Council AYH with only a name change, which was approved by the Board in September 1995 (Columbus Outdoor Pursuits). As an example hostels would still be maintained and memberships continued in the new organization.

The general membership vote was 341 in favor of disaffiliation and 46 against. Discussions continued with National AYH trying to work out our disagreements.

On October 6, 1995 Columbus Council filed a lawsuit against HI-AYH in United States District Court seeking the right to disaffiliate and to retain all assets.


There was much speculation about why TOSRV was having a decreasing number of participants recently. In 1995 there were about 5,400. Reasons included mountain bike craze (do not ride 100 miles on this style of bike), riders getting older with no new rides coming aboard, and there are only so many times a person will ride the tour.


The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure continued to be one of the Columbus Council’s most successful endeavors. Under Tour Director Tom Barlow there were 2,650 participants travel in eastern Ohio. Communities visited were Medina, Hudson, Alliance, New Philadelphia, Coshocton, and Wooster.



Starting on the first of January the name of the organization officially was Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.


A backpacking school had 39 taking the course. This was two times the number anticipated. Interest in this activity has increased in recent years. There were 24 backpacking trips this year.


The boating program continued to operate a number of informative schools: Spring Basic Canoe, River Canoe, Kayak, Raft, Intermediate Canoe, and Fall Basic Canoe. All of these are important for the safety of participants.


A committee was appointed to determine what needs to be done to increase participation in TOSRV. It was agreed to prepare a Five-Year Strategic Plan and to pass out an evaluation form at TOSRV.

Charlie Pace submitted his resignation as TOSRV Tour Director in June, 1996. Charlie had been tour director for 32 years.

The Executive Board spent some time discussing: the mission of TOSRV, safety concerns, the ideal number of riders, the structure of running the ride, a time-table for tasks, and who is to be Charlie’s successor.

The TOSRV Committee came up with a report on the goals of TOSRV: to provide a personal challenge that emphasizes safety and stamina, to provide a ride accessible to people of all ages and abilities who may take part by constraining prices and providing route options of varying length, to maintain tradition for riders and volunteers, to maintain TOSRV as a high-value event, and to help support the operating expenses of COP with its revenues and earnings except when this is in irreconcilable conflict with the first two goals.


A full contingent of 3,000 riders were signed up to tour North-Central Ohio including overnights at Mansfield, Ashland, Bellevue, Port Clinton, Fostoria, and Upper Sandusky.


After several years of having an indoor climbing wall in a warehouse in Grandview the rock climbing group needed to move out of the space. There is no indication where they took the portable walls.



A hilly tour of Southeastern Ohio to include the home of our sponsor Bob Evans Farms had many more participants than were expected on the advertised hilly ride. Overnight communities were Lancaster, Circleville, Logan, Athens, Rio Grande and McArthur. Many of the cities were especially pleased to have GOBA to infuse money into there poor economies.


A new tour director, Cindy Sankey, was approved by the board. She essentially followed Charlie Pace’s plans from previous years but did make some changes such as serving baked potatoes at the Chillicothe food stop. Efforts were made to increase participation with increased publicity. One of the major changes this year was securing Ohio Health as a major financial sponsor. Another change was having to find a commercial printer to do the printing, since Charlie Pace had been doing this at his house for many years. There were about 4,500 participants. This was the last year the tour entered Portsmouth on the Scioto River bridge; it was torn down immediately after the tour.


Columbus Outdoor Pursuit cavers enjoy bi-monthly beginners trips to Carter County, KY. There were trips to big caves in central Kentucky and Tennessee. Three trips went to Hocking State Forest where a 35-foot rappel was rigged against a "wall" and 110-foot "face" rappel. Some cavers helped in Tennessee surveying previously unknown caves in the Black House Mountain System. Three COP cavers attended the National Speleological Society Convention in Missouri.


The final chapter was written on this long court case this year. The courts ruled against COP. Facing the loss of all the money and activities, two individuals stepped forward and agreed to negotiate with HI-AYH. Ed Honton and Ron Eisele (both past presidents of Columbus Council) started a dialogue with Dick Martyr, National Executive Director. The final outcome was COP got to keep the activities and all equipment associated with them and HI-AYH got the two hostels and everything associated with the hostels. HI-AYH allowed COP to keep $100,000 for operating expenses.



These two documents were presented to the members at a special meeting on January 29, 1998 and were approved. This was the first chapter in preparing Columbus Outdoor Pursuits as an activity group. With the new organization it was necessary to get a 501(c)(3) approval from I.R.S. This was approved in May and was made retroactive 1962 when this organization was first affiliated with American Youth Hostels.


After ten years as Tour Director Tom Barlow stepped down after the 1998 tour. His leadership has made GOBA what it is in 10 years. An active and fruitful search resulted in the hiring of Julie Mills as the new director.

The tour under Tom’s leadership had 29980 participants visit Celina, Sidney, Oxford, Eaton, and Versailles. A feature of this year was taking the 100 mile Wednesday loop into southern Indiana.


A new bicycle touring event started this year with a linear version of GOBA called Across Ohio Bicycle Adventure. Inspired inpart by the AOBT, Across Ohio Bicycle Tour. AOBT ended to not compete with GOBA. The tour had 100 participants crossing the state from Williams County to Washington County and visits to the communities of Wauseon, Bowling Green, Tiffin, Ashland, Sugar Creek, Coshocton, Zanesville and Marietta.


Several new ideas where tried out this year. A new starting place at the Hyatt Hotel on North High St, a Friday night spaghetti dinner (not included in fee), and a new park for all to gather in Portsmouth with live music. Sponsorship is the key to a successful event. Huntington Bank ceased being a sponsor after many years of working with Charlie Pace by providing Friday night registration space, financial contributions, and gifts for workers. Besides Ohio Health continuing this year a new sponsor was National City Bank. There were 4,200 participants on another successful running of the 37th TOSRV.


In keeping with the past involvement in publishing bicycling maps for use in Central Ohio the Board of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits funded the printing of 2,000 copies of the above titled book. It has 8 rail-trails and 36 bike routes using low traffic volume roads. The cost of production was recovered in the first season showing the popularity of route books for cyclists.


A new location for a climbing wall was provided on landed in Granville near Dennison College. While the land is owned by the climbing chair, Tom Lester, it is leased to COP. The wall was removed from a building in Grandview and rebuilt in the new location in the middle of a 70 acre lot.


With the disaffiliation from Hostelling International-American Youth Hostels it was a trying year for the Board. There were many issues to address considering the limited funds available and the needs to keep an active activity schedule. It was possible for all events to be conducted in 1998 just as in the past years. It just took more effort and thought to see them through.


Columbus Outdoor Pursuits Executive Board elected Ron Eisele COP president starting October 20, 1998. Just two months later Ron suffered a heart attack and died. Ron was the president in 1979, 80, and 81 His presence on the Board provided a stabilizing influence to get the work of the organization accomplished efficiently. He is sorely missed by the Board, however his leadership ideas remain.


Executive Board member Dave Griner also suffered a heart attack and died in July. It was a great loss to the organization as Dave provided important advice and inspiration to the Board.


A full schedule of boating, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, bicycling, and caving was carried out in 1998. Also there were the usual educational endeavors to teach people the correct way to do the many activities carried out by COP.



With the untimely death of Ron the board chose Gail Falkinburg, elected vice president, to complete the term of President until the fall elections.  Under her leadership the organization continued its many outdoor activities and was able to instigate the necessary reforms due to the reorganization of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.


A memorial fund was established to honor Ron with over $1,100 donated.  The fund is being used to provide individual medical identification badges.


The new name for the monthly publication of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits is “Columbus Outdoors".


Each year the excess funds created by the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure are placed into a restricted fund to benefit bicycling in the state of Ohio.  The funds from 1998 in the amount of $30,000 were donated to The Ohio to Erie Trail.  This organization will use the funds to purchase additional trail right-of-way in Madison County.


A new activity was started called Party in the Park.  This two day event was held at Burr Oak State Park with boating, bicycling, hiking and evening entertainment by the Morgan County “The Back Porch Swing Band”.


Because of the year 2000 computer problem it was determined that the office computers and programs were not compatible and the best solution would be to purchase new equipment for $2,700 and to link the two computers.


Ann Gerckens, the Office Manager for Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, completed hiking the Trail.  She has been doing pieces of the Trail whenever she could find the time and after many years completed the hike from Georgia to Maine.  While this was not an official Columbus Outdoor Pursuits function she encouraged and had several backpacked accompany her on some portions of her journey.


The indoor wall for rock climbing practice was moved to a new location this year.  It is located in the county in Licking County northeast of Columbus.


The 3,000 participants on Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure started in Ashland with a parade lead by Mayor Doug Cellar leading the way on the “Untamed” bicycle.  An ice cream social followed with a costume contest.

The overnight communities included Ashland, Orrville, New Philadelphia, Coshocton, Mt. Vernon, and Galion. Highlights of the week included: bicycle races in Wooster and Mt. Vernon, the best of rock n’ roll at Orr Park, a train ride for 1,500, moonlight canoe trips, a street festival in Roscoe Village, party in the square in Mt. Vernon, a special Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure exclusive postmark in Zoar Village, miles of beautiful bike trails, the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, a fabulous last-night song-contest, and the best lunch at Halter family’s Springview Farm.


After three years with interim directors the TOSRV returned to the faithful Tour Director Charlie Pace starting in June of this year.  The 1999 tour was under the direction of one person and Charlie took over to complete the paying of the bills and producing a feed back letter.  There were about 3,200 participants in 1999 following the trend of recent years of having fewer participants each year.  An operation manual was put together so that future TOSRV directors would be able to run the event in an orderly manner.


The Crapper Caper was the scare for the boaters this year.  The Lower Turkeyfoot Township Trustees learned of the use of the outhouse at the Yough Stop.  According to the first order Columbus Outdoor Pursuits was to install an underground septic system.  After considerable confusion, leadership by John Lane, Boating Chair, and help of many individuals it all settled down to the need a new improved potty.  It is called polyportables and was donated by firm in Dahlonega GA, thanks to Tony Luscher an OSU mechanical engineering professor.


Continuing a long tradition the boater had the annual canoe, raft and kayak of the Lower Scioto River from Whittier Street boat ramp to the Columbus fireworks display.


After leading the Sunday ride from Bellepoint to Prospect and Richwood for 624 consecutive Sunday’s Ray & Ginnie Schaffer lead their last bicycle ride this year.  That is some commitment!


The Freelands Cave in Adams County Ohio was the destination for cavers from the mid-west.  Columbus Outdoor Pursuits joined in to clean 40 years of trash dumped into the entrance of this significant cave.  The cave is the longest in Ohio at 2323 feet.  It is also the home of troglobitic carabid beetle, endemic to the cave and known nowhere else in the world.

Two 30-cubic yard dumpsters where filled to overflowing and three 55-gallon drums of recyclables were recovered in one day.  Next year cavers plan to return and complete the other half of the trash removal.


After many years of faithful service to the organization Mike Wadkowski left the Board.  His most recent capacity was Chair of Risk Management Committee.  He had served as the boating activity chair for many years.


The first family fun ride was held at the new 5-mile trail in Three Creeks Park near Groveport.  The remaining rides this year were held at the centrally located Park of Roses.  To keep the children’s interest the riders stopped to use playground equipment.  This could be the beginning of returning youth to the organization.

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