Following the January 8, 2011, mass shooting at a Congress on Your Corner gathering in Tucson – in which six people were killed and 13 others wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – members of the Pima County community came together to honor the victims and those emotionally harmed by the tragedy.
A year later, the family of slain congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman, who loved hiking and the outdoors, saw an opportunity to continue the tradition – both to remember the victims and to engage in healthy outdoor activities. Stemming from an annual single-day commemorative event, Beyond Tucson launched in 2012 and has grown to include a year-round calendar. Beyond Tucson is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving community health and well-being through education and the love of the outdoors.
“Being in nature is a positive first step [toward healing],” says executive director Daniela Diamente. “Our goal is to help people feel supported and able to celebrate being alive and healthy.”
The organization’s programs focus on four pillars of health and wellness: explore, nourish, move and connect. “Hundreds of people come to our weekly programs that include hikes, bike rides, runs, nutrition information and social gatherings like our Meet Me Wednesdays where people get together to enjoy the outdoors and patronize local businesses,” Diamente says.
“We offer three levels of hikes, beginner to challenging, as well as learning opportunities for novices and support for people who don’t want to go out on their own,” she continues. “All ages and abilities are welcome to join us in building a vibrant, connected and healthy Tucson.”
Perfect if you want to scratch out a hike on your next Tucson trip.