If you’re one of the UC Merced students who love Yosemite then soon you’ll be able to satiate your love of the park by visiting the new Yosemite National Park Wilderness Center.

Modesto Bee: David Dunham, director of campus recreation, said the role of the center is to be a “portal to the outdoors” for students, providing information about nearby national parks.

He expects the center will lead to an expanded outdoor wilderness program that also will include information about state parks.

“They are right in our back yard and (Yosemite) is a very beautiful place,” Dunham said. “A lot of our faculty have an interest in the environment, and I think it’s just a natural tie with our Sierra Nevada Research Institute and the things we are doing out there on an academic level.”

The center, which is slated to open at the end of this month, will be a link between students and the park offering rentals of equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, bear canisters, and eventually backpacks and daypacks, live images from the Yosemite Association web cams, guides, books, maps, and information.

The idea is to get students and faculty more involved in the park.