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The Outdoors Guy is back, and his place in the paper is changing.

Byline: INSIDE THE OUTDOORS By Mike Stahlberg The Register-Guard

The Outdoors Guy is back, just in time to break camp and move to a new day and a new location.

Contrary to what you might have heard or speculated, I did not spend all of November and December wandering around in the woods, lost.

Shoot, given the arthritic state of my knees, I couldn't have walked far enough from my pickup to get lost.

No, my recent extended absence is explained by the fact that I underwent double knee replacement surgery and a lengthy rehab process.

Knees of steel, titanium and high-tech plastic do not a Bionic Outdoorsman make. But I am looking forward to actually hiking again rather than hobbling with a cane.

First, however, there's the matter of moving the Outdoors page.

Since March 1998, The Register-Guard's weekly outdoor recreation coverage has been camped here on the back two pages of the Thursday Sports section.

Starting next week, the Outdoors will appear on Tuesdays - with its own "section front."

Don't read too much into the fact that the rest of the section will include Peanuts, Doonesbury, Dilbert and the rest of the R-G's lineup of daily comics.

Is the move from a back page to a front page a promotion for the Outdoors Guy?

Uh, no. It's simply part of an overall reorganization of this newspaper's feature content. Readership surveys showing "significant and growing interest in outdoors news and activities" was behind the decision to give Outdoors "a higher profile," Managing Editor Dave Baker said in announcing the change.

Severing the umbilical cord with the Sports section isn't that traumatic.

The sports you read about in Outdoors are ones where the fun is in the doing, not the viewing. Where the activity is everything and the score is, well, generally nonexistent. Sports in which the game isn't called on account of a little rain or snow.

And readers who are interested in hiking, camping or wildlife viewing aren't necessarily interested in football, basketball and baseball. So they may not even open the Sports section.

As with any change, there are pluses and minuses to this one.

One big advantage is that readers will get 48 hours' more lead time to plan weekend outings inspired by the articles and calendar notices we publish.

On the other hand, the change means that fishing and hunting reports provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - which are issued every Wednesday afternoon - will be too outdated to publish. We will, however, continue to provide information about upcoming trout releases and local angling hot spots. And we hope to provide updated statewide angling information via our Web site, www.registerguard.com, as that information becomes available.

The layout of the Outdoors Page is being redesigned, so some of our regular features may look slightly different, or be in a different spot.

But Outdoors will continue to be this newspaper's primary home for news of hunting, fishing, camping, boating, hiking, bicycling, skiing, boarding, birdwatching, backpacking, canoeing and kayaking, horseback riding, scuba diving, climbing, mountaineering, off-roading, spelunking, skijoring and just about anything else people have fun doing while running the risk of getting rained upon in Oregon.

In other words, all the games you play without a ball. (Well, there is one exception to that rule: recreational golf - we will continue to provide a change of pace during the summer months with occasional Golf Extra features).

Hiking features by guidebook author William Sullivan and Gary Lewis' informative columns on hunting and fishing will continue to be an important part of each month's Outdoors package. And we will introduce you to a new columnist, John Rezell, who will write about bicycling and much, much more.

It's good to be back. See you again Tuesday!

Mike Stahlberg can be reached at mstahlberg@guardnet.com.
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 12, 2006
Words:638
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