Get to Know Us!

Our History

Common Ground Outdoor Adventures (CGOA) was founded in 1993 as an AmeriCorps*VISTA project at OPTIONS for Independence in partnership with Utah State University’s Outdoor Program and Bridgerland Audubon Society. In 1997, the organization incorporated as a private non-profit and has grown to serve well over 3,600 people with disabilities annually. CGOA seeks to increase the accessibility of outdoor recreation and discover creative new ways to access wild places. The organization provides adaptive equipment and support which enables individuals with disabilities to participate in recreation and outdoor adventures. By crossing perceived limitations individuals gain self-confidence, which carries over into the quest for meaningful employment, the pursuit of relationships, and active participation in community life. All outdoor activities include discussions, activities or presentations that foster appreciation and respect of the natural environment.

Recent major accomplishments include:

  • Completion of facility slopeside at Beaver Mountain.
  • Increased ski lessons by 70% to approximately 700 lessons. 
  • Implementation of the wildly successful Youth Adventure Leadership Program (YALP) and Jr. Adventurers
  • Successful expansion of warfighter programming, serving US military personnel and veterans with disabilities. 

Our mission

Common Ground Outdoor Adventure’s mission is to provide life-enhancing outdoor recreation for youths and adults with disabilities.

Our promise

At CGOA we are committed to an inclusive environment. We follow industry standards to ensure that your experience is one of safety, fun, and learning. We work hard to provide state of the art adaptive equipment and teaching techniques. 

Our vision

To obtain the resources, equipment, facilities, and staff to provide quality physically and financially accessible outdoor recreation opportunities for every youth and adult with a disability that has the desire to participate. We want to do all we can to remove barriers and enhance people’s lives through recreational experiences, while reducing the stereotypes society has about people with disabilities.

Our Team

Our staff come from a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences in adaptive outdoor recreation, and are passionate about helping others get outside!

Open Positions

We are looking to fill a full-time AmeriCorps position. To learn more, and/or to apply, please see the following link. 


Samantha (Sammie) Macfarlane

Executive Director

Sammie has been with the organization since 1999. Under her leadership, CGOA has seen monumental growth in all areas and continues to be a tremendous asset to the community. Sammie is passionate about progressing the organization. During her free time she enjoys skiing, river rafting, paddle boarding, and mountain biking with her family.


Alex Ristorcelli

Program Director

Alex has been working in the outdoor industry for over 10 years. After getting his Bachelor’s in Outdoor Leadership, he worked for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center where he discovered his passion for Adaptive Recreation. Since then he has been focusing on working with people of all abilities in a myriad of recreational activities. He is really excited to be exploring the Cache Valley and the rest of the State of Utah with his family and with Common Ground.


SaQuoyah Boxx

Program Manager

SaQuoyah has been with CGOA since 2018 when she started as an intern, since then she has been certified as a CTRS (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist). She loves camping, canoeing, hiking, and spending time outdoors with her family. SaQuoyah thinks that recreation is for everyone and loves that she gets to help others to participate in all of the activities that she enjoys.

Staff, students and faculty pose for portraits during the Davis College of Natural Resource and Designs' Career Fair in the new Agricultural Sciences building October 10th, 2018.  Photo Brian Persinger

Landis Wenger

AmeriCorps VISTA

Landis grew up in Pennsylvania and spent his whole life on the east coast before coming to Utah for school. He has a bachelors in landscape design from West Virginia University and will soon complete his masters in environmental planning from Utah State University. He is passionate about improving the relationship between humans and nature through recreation, education, and design. His passion comes from over 10 years of working within the camping industry. He plans to continue working within the field, as he views summer camp and outdoor recreation as essential connections to nature.


Macie Armstrong

Beaver Base Camp Coordinator

Macie is a student at USU studying communicative disorders. She has been with Common Ground since winter of 2021 and has loved every minute! She is a passionate people person and an outdoor enthusiast. Common Ground helps her bring her two loves together in what she calls the best job she’s ever had!


Alyssa McMillan

AmeriCorps VISTA

Alyssa is originally from Acworth, GA, and graduated from the University of Alabama with her B.S. in Public Health this past December. Although she is still trying to find her specialty, Alyssa has always loved working within the community to build relationships while incorporating the great outdoors. In her free time, Alyssa loves to spend as much time outdoors whether it is skiing, hiking, climbing, or kayaking, and she cannot wait to start helping everyone have the same experience at Common Ground!



USU Intern

Maya is a Sophomore at Utah State University and is from Spokane Washington. She is in the the Aggies Elevated program and is studying Recreation Administration for Adaptive Recreation. She is most excited to learn how to help those with disabilities enjoy the outdoors.


Zoe Brown

Social Work Practicum Student

Zoe Brown is from Salt Lake City and is currently a senior at USU studying Social Work and Sociology. She loves being outside, and her favorite ways to enjoy nature are skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and tubing! She loves that Common Ground provides opportunities to make these activities, and more, accessible to all individuals. She is passionate about helping people, and can't wait to do that through the activities here at Common Ground!.




Mike is a longtime participant and volunteer at Common Ground. We would not be able to run our daily programs without the help that he provides to us in the office.

Common Ground Outdoor Adventures is very committed to provide a safe experience for our participants.

CGOA Sport Protection Handbook

CGOA Sport Protection Reporting


Give us a call: 

Phone: 435-713-0288 (Logan Office)
435-946-3205 (Beaver Mt. Office)
Fax: 435-713-2108

Mailing address:
Common Ground Outdoor Adventures
335 N 100 East, Logan UT 84321



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