Monday, September 6, 2010

e-Touring By Lantern Light

During the e-Tour team's visit to the Coleman Store in Birch Run, MI, we had the feeling of coming home to Momma! Coleman is our primary e-Tour sponsor, and the name Coleman has a long association with outdoor recreational activities and values. For us and many others, Coleman evokes nostalgic memories of family outings and camping experiences...

From Frankenmuth Coleman
...and so it was on Saturday that we recollected those memories during a full afternoon of outreach at the Coleman Outlet Store. Stephanie, the store manager, carved out a prime piece of real estate for us that was adjacent to the main service counter in the heart of the store.  In this strategic location, we were able to interact with virtually everyone that visited the store through our display of Leave No Trace resources, Camp Oh-No!, and the Bag’N Bigfoot game of skill. As we might have expected, most of the Coleman shoppers were keenly interested in various kinds of camping and outdoor recreational activities, from dedicated RVers to backcountry hikers bound for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness areas.

The Birch Run store offers everything from “instant tents” to complete outdoor kitchens. Shoppers took their time, carefully examining many of the products, knowing that this was their opportunity to make camp life that much easier and more comfortable. They worked their way from camp chairs to coolers, sleeping bags to backpacks, and of course to the historic Coleman stoves and lanterns. As a side note, and at risk of showing our age, we use our (more than) 40-year old Coleman gas lantern and 2-burner stove not only for frontcountry camping, but also as our super-reliable, emergency back-up lighting and cooking system every hurricane season in south Louisiana. Our interactions with folks were very positive, both in regard to Leave No Trace and Coleman, and the opinions that we heard in our many conversations were testament to Coleman's long-standing reputation for serving a wide array of camping needs, camper preferences, and outdoor stewardship concerns.

From Frankenmuth Coleman
We had frequent opportunities to talk with visitors about Leave No Trace and how the seven principles of LNT Outdoor Ethics applied to their various outdoor activities. From them, we learned about their favorite camping spots in Michigan, and were tantalized by images of nearby Mio (host to a festival for the rare Kirtland’s Warbler), as well as the more distant Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Lake Gogebic State Park in the Upper Peninsula.  After an afternoon of such encounters and with a touch of autumn in the air, we were eager to hit the road again, bound for any one of the myriad state parks and campgrounds that Michigan has to offer.  

Hope to see you down the road in one of those campgrounds. We may be arriving late, so we’d be obliged if you’d keep the lantern burning…

Barrett and Peggy
e-Tour 2010

e-word: "enlightened"

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