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Kalamazoo College

What is LandSea?

 2012 LandSea in the Adirondacks

LandSea: Over 40 years on trail

LandSea is an optional 18-day outdoor pre-orientation trip that occurs just before first-year orientation. For more than 40 years, over 2,000 students have used LandSea as a way to acclimate to the college and build support networks prior to beginning the fall quarter.

Watch the video for an overview of the program!

LandSea takes place in the 6 million acre Adirondack State Park in northern New York State. Comprising 85% of the protected wilderness lands in the eastern United States, Adirondack State Park has the largest system of hiking trails in the country, 3,000 lakes and ponds, 1,200 miles of rivers, and contains the state's highest mountains. Naturally, the Adirondacks are a great place for LandSea, and students will get the chance to challenge themselves on the rivers, lakes, trails, and peaks of some of the premier wilderness destinations in the eastern U.S.

There are two trip options to choose from: Expedition and Basecamp

Two of the major components of Expedition consist of backpacking and canoeing.  Participants have a choice to extend (in distance traveled) either the backpacking or canoeing portion of the trip. In addition, each group will have the opportunity to participate in a climb & rappel day, a service & reflection component (options include up to a 48-hour solo, group reflection, trail maintenance and service) and finish with a day of rafting.

The Basecamp option is designed for those seeking a group camping experience rather than moving camp each night. Groups sleep in bunks within canvas-covered "tent cabins" for the majority of the trip and have access to pit toilets while at our Massawepie Lake basecamp. Emphasis will be placed on building skills in camp-craft, canoeing, hiking, and backpacking at a more casual pace than is found on the Expedition trip. There are opportunities for day trips within the 2,000 acre basecamp and into the Park, as well as expanded service projects. The experience culminates in a 3 or 4-day overnight trip. Similar to the Expedition, Basecamp groups have the opportunity to participate in a climb & rappel day, a service & reflection component (options include up to a 48-hour solo, group reflection, trail maintenance and service) and finish with a day of rafting.

For more information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Hiking Canoeing Portaging
2012 LandSea in the Adirondacks 2012 LandSea in the Adirondacks 2012 LandSea in the Adirondacks


Service & Reflection


Rock Climbing & Rappel



2012 LandSea in the Adirondacks LandSea 2014 Photos rafting


Participants, Leaders, and Staff:
The group of approximately 60-70 participants will typically be divided into smaller patrols of 6-9, each led by 2 trained upper-class student leaders. Kalamazoo College staff are responsible for the program, training student leaders, and all other logistical and administrative matters. Throughout the program, interactions with the leaders, staff, and other participants will provide incoming students with a substantial opportunity to become acquainted with other members of the "K" College community.



Desire to be challenged:
Most participants find  they are challenged in variety of ways at different points in the program. Participants should be willing to accept these challenges, as well as any inconveniences which may arise.

Physical conditioning:
It is important that participants exercise regularly and vigorously prior to the start of the program. Students who prepare by walking with a 20-30 lb pack on, or running 3-4 times a week at increasing distances and strengthen their upper body by weight training the summer prior to LandSea are in the best shape to enjoy all aspects of the program.

Proper footwear:
It is essential that participants equip themselves with a pair of over-the-ankle, well-fitting hiking boots. These boots should be COMPLETELY broken in prior to the start of the program in order to avoid physical difficulties and discomfort during the trip. Additional information about choosing the proper boots can be found here.  For more information on what gear to bring please go the the gear page.


Why do LandSea?

Build Connections
One of the most powerful benefits of participating on LandSea is the opportunity make connections with current students and other new students prior to beginning college. Getting to know the student leaders over a little more than two weeks on trail allows ample time to orient to life at "K" and get connected to resources and opportunities on campus. Friendships that begin on LandSea are often fundamental to the connections that are made within the first year on campus.

Outdoor Orientation Experiences Have Been Shown to Have Many Positive Impacts
Participants of outdoor orientation trips like LandSea have been shown to be positively associated with many important factors to student success, including social connectedness, feelings of belonging, campus involvement, independence, and even increased retention and grade point averages!

PE Credit
Is LandSea one of the most fun and unique ways to earn a PE credit at K College? Maybe! Before graduation, all Kalamazoo College students are required to complete 1.0 credit worth of PE activities, which is typically fulfilled through participating in five 0.2 credit PE classes. Students who participate in LandSea will receive 0.2 credits towards their Physical Education requirement.