Organised jointly by the British Mountaineering Council, The Camping and Caravanning Club, The Ramblers' Association, the Youth Hostels Association and the Outdoor Industries Association, the NOW! programme will commence next Easter and run through to the early summer 2002.
According to Andrew Maxted of the Outdoor Industries Association, the NOW! event will be mass participation:
"Tens of thousands of people across Britain - young and some not so young - will be taking to the hills, the countryside and the water to walk, climb, camp, cycle, canoe and enjoy other activities, many of them for the first time.
"The National Outdoor Welcome initiative will be Britain's largest celebration of all adventurous activities, taking place in the great outdoors."
NOW! will be officially launched at The Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show, Birmingham NEC, 15-17th March 2002 (which CTC is attending). Events linking in to NOW! include the Festival of Spring Walks from the Ramblers' Association and National Camping Week, organised by the Camping and Caravanning Club.
So how come only one cycle organisation has so far made contact with the NOW! organisers (ie Nick Harvey of Bike Week)?
Quite apart from PR events staged by the big, national cycle organisations, the NOW! organisers say they will include all outdoor participatory events so long as the events are open to the public and are staged for free. So cycle clubs and IBDs could come up with NOW! branded events and plug themselves into a 'get on out there' themed scheme that will be backed by an ad campaign in specialist magazines such as High, Trail and Country Walking, and via a PR campaign.
Events will be included free of charge on the NOW! website but for cycle organisations to get their feet under the table on the NOW! committee, they will have to contribute cash to the pot.
Events can be registered at http://www.outdoorwelcome.org.uk
News on NOW! was broken first at http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/.../article.php?id=1644