“Go play outside!”
It’s a command that countless parents give their children on a regular basis.
But in the Pacific Northwest, playing outside often means tromping through the mud and getting soaked. That’s enough to make some parents think twice about ordering their kids out of the house to run off some excess energy.
Sheila Solis of Eugene — the mother to four young children — is not one of those parents.
“I try to get these guys outdoors as much as possible. All they need is to put on their outside gear and get out there,” Solis said while attending Saturday’s seventh annual Play in the Rain Day gathering at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum.
The free event is organized by the local Youth in Nature Partnership and designed to promote all-season outdoor activity. It typically draws more than 1,000 adults and children.
This year’s edition might have more appropriately been dubbed Play in the Fog Day, as it happened to fall during an uncharacteristically dry stretch of mid-autumn weather. But in fact, it’s never really rained on the day of the event.
“I think it drizzled on us a little bit one year,” said Jude McHugh, a Willamette National Forest spokeswoman who has been involved with Play in the Rain Day from the start.
The U.S. Forest Service is one of approximately one dozen public and private agencies responsible for organizing the popular event, which offers youngsters a chance to climb…
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