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Penn State says wilderness is too risky for outdoors clubs

The Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State University says it has banned its near-century-old outdoor recreation club from going outside because it is too dangerous out in the wilderness.

Kevin Sterling, of Glen Rock, looks into the water while hiking the trails at Richard M. Nixon County Park in York, Sunday, April 3, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The 98-year-old Penn State Outing Club announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management made the determination that the hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky.

The Outing Club’s current president Richard Waltz tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the decision wasn’t an open dialogue and they weren’t briefed on the determination.

A Penn State spokeswoman says student safety is the school’s primary focus. Two other outdoor recreation clubs also have been directed to end trip offerings.

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