I've been surprised by how often participants will say the main reason they came on the tour was to try kayaking. Yes, they want to learn more about nature and the park, but, but often that is not the driving force for signing up. It seems that the primary reason for taking a state park kayak tour is to get out on the water and try kayaking in a "safe" environment with other knowledgeable people around. And for that reason, our industry should probably be looking a bit harder at ways they can support these sorts of tours. Park tours are the natural gateway to taking that first official "class".
This is what the outdoor life means to me. It's not sport, competition or gear. It's not a label or hip lifestyle. It's not a phrase on a t-shirt. It's immersion. It's a connection, mud and curiosity. It's sensuality at its highest level. To strike out into nature with friends and loved ones is to stumble for just a few moments into heaven.