About the ORC

Northern Michigan University’s Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) offers the opportunity for students, community, and non-community members to explore the natural beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The ORC leads many trips around the area ranging from local waterfall hikes, mountain biking parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and white water rafting class IV rapids in the Menominee River located in Northern Wisconsin. In addition to leading trips, the ORC also offers skill building workshops to help participants better understand the basics of rock climbing, backpacking, camping, snow, paddle sports, and more.

The Outdoor Recreation Center is located inside the Physical Education Instructional Facility (PEIF) near the climbing wall. The climbing wall is available for use by PEIF members, and anyone who purchases a day pass. Climbing wall hours are posted each semester. Open climb, partner climb, and kids climb are made available for anyone who would like to attend. During open climb and kids climb hours, ORC staff will be present to belay for anyone who is not belay certified or does not have a partner.

For more information, e-mail the Rec Sports Office (recsport@nmu.edu) or call the Outdoor Rec Center at 906-227-1369.


For those who do not have the equipment available to explore and experience all that the UP has to offer, the ORC has a variety of rental equipment available. The ORC has a decent sized inventory that contains kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, sleeping bags, tents, skis, snowshoes, and much more.

Thank you to DownWind Sports for all your assistance in our programs and equipment!



All workshops are free for current PEIF Members, unless otherwise noted. Non-members must purchase a day pass ($10) for each climbing wall workshop. Space is limited, reserve your spot by RSVP'ing on the ORC Facebook Page.

Superior Climbing Competition

This event brings climbers from across the upper Midwest together for a day of friendly competition and camaraderie. New and seasoned climbers of all ages are encouraged to participate and share in the community that makes climbing such a special sport. 

Reserve the Climbing Wall

Reserve the climbing wall for your next group event or gathering. Three ORC employees with be available for your private climbing session to belay your group. 

  • Cost: $80/hr, includes 3 staff members to belay

Build Your Own Trip

Build your own trip with the Outdoor Rec Center. Choose from any of the local applicable hiking or ski trails in the Marquette area, and two ORC employees will guide your group through a two-hour excursion while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

  • Hot chocolate is provided upon break.
  • Must provide personal transportation.
  • Participants must meet at ORC prior to trip for equipment checkout.

Team & Initiative Program

ORC offers two hour leadership and teamwork seminars for teams and youth groups. The ORC staff and the PEIF can help your team or group become more effective and successful both as a group members and as individuals. Seminars are geared towards developing communication and group skills with teams of youth, the drills emphasize leadership, respect, group cooperation, communication, leadership and problem solving. Activities are structured for a gym space; ORC facilitators can do drills at the PEIF or at a school or activity center gym. 

  • What: 2 hour trip length. 
  • Who: 12 person max group size
  • Cost
    • Members: $20 - guidance and equipment rental included with cost.
    • Non-Member: $80 flat rate - guidance and equipment rental included with cost.
  • List of Trails
    • Forestville, Tourist Park, Fit Strip, Presque Isle, Blueberry Ridge, or other areas near Marquette. 
  • What: 2 hour trip length
  • Who: 12 person max group size
  • Cost
    • Members: $20 - guidance and equipment rental included with cost.
    • Non-Member: $80 flat rate - guidance and equipment rental included with cost.
  • List of Trails
    • Sugarloaf, Hogback, Little Presque, Presque Isle, Tourist Park, or other areas near Marquette. 

The leadership and teamwork seminar activities include but are not limited to...

Introduction and Description of Activity  
Introductory Exercise - Affirmation Toss Group up in a circle, person with ball introduces themselves, and tells the group something about themselves.
Person the ball is tossed to has to give the first person a positive affirmation, then repeat the process until the entire group has passed the ball.
Rope Work With a large 30 to 50 foot length rope, participants grab ahold of the rope and form a large circle. 
Without letting go of the rope, participants attempt to draw figures with the rope.
The Treacherous River Crossing With pieces of paper, the group attempts to cross an imaginary river with stepping stones of paper.
The goal is to have a person's foot on the 'rocks' at all times. 
Have yourself or a disinterested participant be the current in the river, snatching away the river rocks if no foot is holing them in place. 
Group Carry Firemans carry
Rope Sling Carry Participants attempt to carry one of the group with a rope seat they construct.
Radioactive Core Transport Using a long rope, form a 'radioactive' pool of hot water, hazardous if stepped in.
At the center, place a 'radioactive core' of a heavy medicine ball. Lay sets of 'control rod' ropes to maneuver the hot core. 
Object is to move the core our of the pool using the 'control rods'.
Anti-Gravity Toss See how many balls the group can keep moving in a circle, tossing them gently and 'roundhouse' style. 
If the group can get multiple balls moving successfully, reverse one or more of the balls. 
Catch the Dragon's Tail 8 - 10 people, linked line arms around the person in front, bandana in back pocket, head tries to catch the tail of the dragon
House of Cards Stack  Competing teams try to build the tallest house of stacked, single sheet newspaper 'blocks'.
Emphasize assembly line style of building. 
Fox and Squirrel Two balls are foxes, one smaller ball is the squirrel.
Group in a circle, object of task is to capture the squirrel; tagging the person holding a squirrel with a fox. 
Foxes have to be passed around the circle, squirrel can be passed or tossed across the circle. 
Stand Up Linked hands back to back, groups of two try to stand up and sit down together. 
Presage for the main closing group sit/stand. 
The Blob A few members of the group link hands and attempt to grab hold of the rest of the group one by one. 
If a player is touched by the blob, they become assimilated with the blob while it tries to capture the rest of the group. 
Group Knot Form a tight circle, grasp hands of people around you, then try to untie the knot. 
Dodgeball as a Breakout A few minutes of undirected unwinding.
Group Sit  


For more information or to schedule a program for a personal group, contact NMU Recreational Sports at 227-2519. You can also stop by the ORC, located next to the climbing wall.