One of the many facilities used by OAC programs was the rock wall located in the gymnasium at St. Croix Hall. (Photo by Ricky Cleghorn)

WCCC Closes its Outdoor Adventure Center

Ricky Cleghorn

The Washington County Community College’s Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) has recently been closed by the college’s administration and the center’s full-time management was immediately terminated, according to an anonymous source close to the college.

The OAC provided resources to promote community health and wellness through adventure activities and provided a wide range of programs to residents and schools across Washington County and to WCCC students and employees.

An important program, one of many that was offered, offered equipment leasing–the center had over 1,500 pieces of seasonal outdoor equipment available to rent to the public, from sea kayaks to ice skates, to all the necessary gear required for camping.

Other types of programming the center had available consisted of an indoor climbing wall, a nine-hole disc golf course, a brand new challenge course with 12 low rope elements, four high rope elements and a 300’ zipline. The center also provided many team building, bonding, and leadership development programs.
The OAC has been building an impressive list of partners, while programming was limited for the past two years due to COVID-19 restrictions. The list of partnerships included AMHC, Girl Scouts of Maine, Eastport Port Authority, Maine Island Trails Association, University Maine at Machias, Cobscook Institute, St Croix International Waterway Commission, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Passamaquoddy Recognition Group, Passamaquoddy Yacht Club, Downeast Lakes Land Trust, Downeast Coastal Conservancy, Teens to Trails, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Sunrise County Economic Council, Caring Community Collaborative, Healthy Acadia, and many other organizations and public schools.

According to the anonymous source, the OAC had three months of programming planned prior to the sudden closure, and was finally recovering from the COVID-19 restrictions.

This closure was a shocking turn of events for many, with one source close to the college saying, “Being shut down for so long during COVID, the OAC was constricted to a very limited number of programs, but was just now able to provide a full summer of programming. Our community has lost an extremely valuable resource … This was a very abrupt decision with no prior consultation that the college was considering this option. I am deeply and personally disappointed in the college’s decision and especially the approach, which felt like a heartless gut punch and a shortsighted unfair decision.”

Some sources have claimed that the closure is due to a change in the college’s financial priorities, though no reason for the closure can be independently verified. There is also no information available to ascertain whether or not this closure is permanent.

WCCC administration declined to comment, only stating that more information on the closure will be released by the end of the month.

 

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