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From its snow-capped mountains and basalt-colored rocks to its verdant forests and alpine rivers and lakes, Central Oregon wows with its abundance of natural beauty. But outdoor adventuring in this natural wonderland isn’t the only draw to the area.
An eight-episode series titled “Adventure Calls” will show off the area’s multidimensional beauty by highlighting some of its lesser-known culinary, arts and cultural attractions, set against the backdrop of the magnificent outdoors.
The series is hosted by longtime adventure photographer and videographer Chad Copeland, who has traveled the world on assignment for National Geographic and the BBC’s “The Blue Planet.”
“We’re hoping to create an adventure-culture movement,” Copeland says, “that recognizes the different types of businesses that make up this community, and tells this incredible story about Central Oregon in a responsible and sustainable way.” Episodes will explore topics such as the flow of the Deschutes River, the Old Mill District’s timber history, Western and rodeo culture, winter snow adventures and more.
“We realized we needed to find a way to educate people about Central Oregon and go deeper than the outdoor reputation to show them the big arts, culture and culinary scene here,” says Joey Hamilton, chief marketing officer of Visit Central Oregon, which sponsored the series. “We want people to know that when you get done with that hike or bike ride or trail run, that the adventure is not over.” Here’s a peek at what you’ll find.
Music is also at the crux of what makes Central Oregon a Pacific Northwest hub — from summer outdoor concerts to intimate evenings of jazz. Classical pianist and Central Oregon native Hunter Noack will return home this summer for his fifth season of In a Landscape, during which he plays a grand piano in a beautiful outdoor space, like at the top of Mt. Bachelor. His unique twist on outdoor concerts is featured in an “Adventure Calls” episode.
“There is no better way to experience Central Oregon’s mature pine forests, mountain lakes, peaks, clean rivers and sagebrush deserts than with an invigorating combination of heart-pumping adventure sports and soul-nourishing music,” Noack says, “all with a diverse group of people who come together, from near and far, to love these magical landscapes.”
Dave Nissen founded Bend-based Wanderlust Tours 27 years ago, but his mission to provide inspirational, naturalist-guided tours and trips that enlighten people about their environment has remained. The company facilitates snowshoeing excursions, kayaking and paddle-boarding trips, caving, hiking, and more — some of which is featured in “Adventure Calls.”
“It’s a topic that stirs my soul — water,” Nissen says. “I have for 27 years, well more than that, talked about water being our most precious natural resource — nothing on earth lives without water. If through the work that Chad is doing [with the series] we can help educate people about the gift that water is, that’s exciting. We can make a difference through this series.”
Food — and a sustainable dining ethos — is an equally important part of what makes Central Oregon buzzworthy. James Fink is the chef and owner of Wild Oregon Foods, a farm-to-table diner located on the south end of Bend. Fink is also the private chef for Wanderlust Tours, for which he provides “adventure catering” on outdoor excursions. He’s a firm believer in offering local, sustainable ingredients that don’t cost a fortune.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us as a business but also for our area,” Fink says of being part of Adventure Calls. “I’ve never been on film before, but I have loved this place forever and want to be proactive about showing other people how amazing it is. It’s also my opportunity to show people that food is one of the best ways to save our planet. I’m excited to be a part of this and to see what they do to showcase this amazing place.”
Check out Episode 1 of “Adventure Calls,” Winter Haven, which dives deep into Central Oregon’s snow-covered wonderland — from volcanic summits and concerts in a cave to dogsleds and a frigid alpine plunge.