A force of nature is arriving at Skye Canyon this weekend in an effort to get more women interested and involved in the outdoors.
It is part of a new nationwide campaign by REI to advance gender equity in the outdoors. The Las Vegas event is one of more than 1,000 happening across the United States.
The free event is Saturday and Sunday at Skye Canyon in far northwest Las Vegas, which calls itself "base camp for the great outdoors," not far from Mount Charleston, Lee Canyon and Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs.
While men are also welcome to attend the event, Force of Nature seeks to get women engaged in the outdoors.
There will be a panel discussion with women involved in various outdoor organizations locally and nationwide, plus hiking, yoga, cycling, an overnight campout, navigation and outdoor cooking workshops.
The panel discussion seeks to break down some of the stereotypes about the outdoors, including how they affect women, along with the presenters sharing some of their greatest memories spent in nature.
REI published a national study that found seven out of 10 women believe that women are under more pressure to conform than men and that they also view the outdoors as an antidote to that pressure. Additionally, the study found that 73 percent of women say they would like to spend more time outdoors and more than 85 percent of women see the outdoors as key to better physical and mental health.
Ashley Lee, the outdoor programs and outreach market coordinator of REI in Las Vegas, said she hopes women get empowered and excited about the outdoors through attending the event.
"We're catering to everybody and anybody," she said.
120 people have signed up so far for Force of Nature where participants are welcome to join the whole weekend or individual activities. Registration is available on the REI website, by including your zip code to find the Las Vegas events.
While Lee is looking forward to teaching the Dutch Oven cooking class, she has noticed the most people are signed up for the map and compass class.
"I'm just really excited about this event," Lee said.
Lee said there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in nature around Southern Nevada with local, state and national parks.
As a part of the co-op’s national effort, REI Boca Park will offer a variety of programs throughout the summer supporting the Force of Nature mission, including “Force Wednesdays” that will happen monthly.
Troy Meier, general manager of Skye Canyon, is excited to be part of the first Force of Nature event in Las Vegas. He sees the value both physically and mentally for everyone to spend time outdoors.
Skye Canyon residents are among some of this weekend's participants.
Meier also sees the potential for more residents around the Las Vegas valley to be exposed to Skye Canyon, which opened in March 2016. While Skye Canyon is near many outdoor destinations, it also has hiking and mountain biking trails within the community, along with a fitness center and a park.