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The Thrive Outside St. Louis Community, led by River City Outdoors, is activating a network of nonprofits, schools, health organizations, recreation providers, and corporate and governmental partners to build a coalition to engage the community in repeat and reinforcing outdoor experiences. With an emphasis on youth and underserved populations, its goal is to foster outdoor experiences to create passionate outdoor enthusiasts. Key initiatives include a St. Louis Public School Paddling Program, development of the Missouri River Recreational Water Trail, Mountain Bike and Adventure Club programs, support for grassroots outdoor community groups, and city park beautification programs.

Key Focus Areas:

Youth leadership programming, river-based activities in Missouri and on the Mississippi River, and city park/neighborhood beautification


Backbone Organization:

River City Outdoors Collaborative


Steering Committee Partners:

Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper, Terrain Magazine, Mound City Foundation, Outdoor Afro, and Normalizing Black Women in Nature


Community Partners:

Big Muddy Adventures, Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis Public Schools, Maplewood Richmond Heights Public Schools, Boys & Girls Club, Earth’s Classroom, Trailnet, GO! St. Louis, St. Louis BWorks, Missouri Interscholastic Cycling League, Gateway to the Great Outdoors, Shaw Nature Reserve (Missouri Botanical Garden), Missouri Botanical Garden’s Outdoor Youth Corps, Missouri River Relief, and Upper Limits

“The St. Louis region offers some of the most unique natural spaces and inspiring recreational opportunities anywhere. So why hasn’t every kid in our community kayaked past the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River or climbed the boulders at Elephant Rocks State Park? Through River City Outdoors, we are activating an inclusive network of community partners that shatters barriers to access and empowers all St. Louisans to experience the transformative power of nature in our own backyard.” – Rachel Bartels, River City Outdoors Steering Committee Member

“We’ve been working for the past seven years to accelerate the outdoor recreation culture in the St. Louis region through Terrain Magazine, and now with the launch of River City Outdoors, we’re excited to gather that momentum and truly transform St. Louis into a vibrant, inclusive, outdoor community. This grant, and the additional support and leverage that comes with it, will allow us to maintain the great momentum we’ve gathered and focus it on creating diverse and equitable outdoor programs in our region.” – Brad Kovach, Editor/Publisher of Terrain Magazine and River City Outdoors Steering Committee Member

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Executive Director



Development and Programs Manager