After a devastating fire that destroyed the City of Chattanooga's kayak fleet, local retailer Rock/Creek and footwear manufacturer Keen put together a matching grant for $4000 to help the City begin to rebuild their kayaking program.
Sometimes the unexpected happens, and
when it does, it is the unexpected partnerships that play an important
role in rebuilding a community. Such was the case in April of this year
when an electrical fire in the "Red Barn" at Greenway Farms turned into
a big loss of outdoor equipment for Outdoor Chattanooga's OutVenture
program. The Saturday morning fire set the barn ablaze and with it went
Outdoor Chattanooga's OutVenture kayak fleet. When the fire was finally
controlled a total of 31 boats plus essential equipment such as
paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs) and helmets, were lost.
the fire, fears began to surface about having to cancel the 2008
kayaking and canoing programs. That fear was becoming a reality when
local business leaders from throughout Chattanooga offered a helping
hand. After hearing of the fire, Rock/Creek co-owner Dawson Wheeler
contacted Outdoor Chattanooga and offered to donate $2,000 to help
replenish the supply of equipment. As the extent of the disaster
started to be uncovered, it was clear that Rock/Creek's donation would
need to be matched by another company to ensure that the summer's
programs could continue. Rock/Creek approached Keen, a footwear company
based in Portland, OR, about matching the donation to the program.
Joining forces with a footwear company to replenish lost kayaking
equipment may seem like an odd partnership, but Keen's staple shoe, the
Venice H2 Sandal, is highly popular with many professional boaters.
Immediately, Keen agreed to match Rock/Creek's $2,000 donation,
increasing the combined donation from the two companies to $4,000. To
prevent any loss of time, and with the kayaking season quickly
approaching, Rock/Creek also offered to allow Outdoor Chattanooga and
OutVenture to borrow their rental kayaks and kayaking equipment.
Mayor Ron Littlefield thanked Rock/Creek and Keen: "The community's
response to the loss at Greenway Farms has been overwhelming. On behalf
of the City, thank you for the generous donation and continued support
of the OutVenture program." Dawson Wheeler echoed the mayor's
sentiment, thanking Keen and others from the local community for their
help: "While we are happy to do what we can for, more importantly we
want to serve as a model for other organizations and individuals who
will hopefully find a place in their budget to support low-impact
outdoor recreation initiatives such as OutVenture."
and OutVenture's relationship did not begin with this year's
unfortunate incident. Rock/Creek employees have often assisted
instructors in kayaking and canoing classes hosted by OutVenture.
Classes that teach individuals how to roll an overturned kayak are held
on Tuesday nights. For more information, contact Outdoor Chattanooga's
OutVenture at (423) 842-6629.
Outdoor Chattanoooga was formed in
2004 after a series of public meetings hosted by the city. The
OutVenture program followed shortly after and specializes in community
outreach programs that aim to get people active in the local
environment. One such program, that was on the verge of being canceled
after the fire, is the Rapid Learning Whitewater Kayak Camp that
teaches Chattanooga's youth the fundamentals of safe and enjoyable
whitewater paddling. OutVenture offers both day and weekend trips. More
information about OutVenture's programs can be found at http://www.outdoorchattanooga.com.
has been working closely with Chattanooga's outdoor community for more
than 20 years. In addition to the Company's efforts with public
entities such as Outdoor Chattanooga, Rock/Creek has also awarded
grants to locally run private groups. Recently, Rock/Creek, in
conjunction with Patagonia, donated $3,100 to the Lula Lake Land Trust.
This donation supports an expanding trail network that will ultimately
link lands protected by the land trust with Cloudland Canyon State
Park. Rock/Creek aims to support responsible, minimal impact access to
the outdoor world that will help to educate tomorrow's stewards of the
planet. Rock/Creek's environmental statement can be read at http://www.rockcreek.com/customer_service/environmental.asp.
member of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, is an independent specialty
outdoor retailer with over two decades of experience in the Southeast.
Along with its online shops, RockCreek.com and ClimbingGear.com,
Rock/Creek provides quality outdoor clothing and gear for a host of
activities including kayaking, rock climbing, camping, hiking, trail
running, and adventure racing. Rock/Creek is committed to making a
positive impact on the environment. For this reason, it uses outdoor
retail as a platform to encourage outdoor recreation and environmental
stewardship and to improve public access to the backcountry. Rock/Creek
supports worthy nonprofits such as the Southeastern Climbers' Coalition
and the Wilderness Trail Running Association.
Rock/Creek and Keen Donate $4,000 for City Kayak Purchases after FireMonday, 16 June 2008
After a devastating fire that destroyed the City of Chattanooga's kayak fleet, local retailer Rock/Creek and footwear manufacturer Keen put together a matching grant for $4000 to help the City begin to rebuild their kayaking program...
Published in: Press Releases
David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.