Nature of the North, a business offering memberships and workshops focused on rock climbing and outdoor activities, opened Monday, June 22, in the Wright Building at 814 Center Ave. It was originally slated to open April 18, according to owner Jon Walters, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed that back.
“We’re giving people more opportunities to get out into nature and take a break,” Walters said.
Stress and overwork can lead to inactivity, he said, and Nature of the North hopes to change that for its 44-and-growing members.
“So many people move to this area, and they don’t know anyone, but they like going outdoors,” he said. “Where do you even go? How do you get started?”
The 2,600 square-foot space, which necessitated a move across state lines, is the first time the year-round activities-focused business has had an official storefront. It has opened with 10 employees, and Walters said he hopes to be adding more in a month. His goal is to employ as many as 20.
Memberships, which average $50 per month, include discounts on rental and retail prices, discounts at partner businesses, and unlimited access to the new rock climbing wall.
The 1,200 square-foot wall is designed with at least 50 routes.
“They’re adding more every day,” Walters said.
Classes in bouldering and Kilter Board climbing are also on offer, as are an array of workshops teaching knot tying, backpacking, camping basics, fire building, hammocking, outdoor photography, paracord, foraging, and bushcraft/survival skills.
Walters said there will also be free weekly outdoor hobby nights starting the week of July 6. Employees will provide no-cost leadership in hammocking, bike riding, kayaking, disc golf, and trail walking. The public is invited to attend any night free of charge, although they will be responsible for any associated rental and activity fees.
Jon Walters, owner of Nature of the North, shows off the benefits of becoming a member. Ryan Stotts / The Forum
Tony Stoner, a Fargo resident, has been a long-time supporter of Walters. Over the past four years, Stoner and his wife, Leah, along with their two sons, have taken an active part in a lot of what Walters has had to offer via workshops.
“It’s a ton of fun,” Stoner said. “Jon’s very enthusiastic about the outdoors, and I think that enthusiasm grabs a hold of you.”
Stoner said he knows a space to plan events and build a climbing wall has been his goal for a long time.
“To see it materialize is exciting,” Stoner said.
For Walters, opening at last is a collision of senses.
“It’s a sense of relief that I’m not doing it on my own anymore,” Walters said. “I feel a weight lifted, from that standpoint, but now I also feel a larger sense of responsibility for all of it.”
WHAT: Nature of the North
WHERE: 814 Center Ave. STE 3, Moorhead
HOURS: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.