Paddling Life Industry News
Hyside Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Hip, hip hooray for Hyside. Under the directorship of long-time owner Dick Dechant, Hyside Inflatables is celebrating its 25th milestone this year. But don’t look for much fanfare. “As far as 25th celebrations is concerned, we’ll have a sale to thank the
Hyside loyal–a bunch of people that have supported us from day one,” says Dechant. “As the years passed I thought about some type of big bash to celebrate, but as we’ve gotten closer I’m thinking of putting the energy into a cause rather than a celebration. We decided both Search & Rescue and river clean-up would be our main focus to start with.”
Hyside has donate a raft to local outfitter Sierra South and plans to logo it, “RIVER CLEAN-UP….KEEP THE KERN CLEAN.” Both guides and private boaters will have the opportunity to use the boat daily for picking up trash and spreading the clean-water message.”
As for the Search and Rescue program, after visiting the local chapter’s equipment barn and seeing how decrepit their equipment was, Dechant said Hyside will start by replacing all three of the frames and getting some current design, lighter weight inflatables under them so they have a fighting chance. “As far as a big celebration, however, I think we’ll hold off until our 50th when Elvis has promised to make an appearance,” he adds.
Legacy, Liquidlogic Merge
Liquidlogic and Legacy Paddlesports have announced plans to merge, signaled by a signed Letter of Intent. This move follows the recent decision to manufacture Liquidlogic kayaks at the Legacy Paddlesports plant in Greensboro, N.C. “This is a win-win situation,” says Andy Zimmerman, Legacy Paddlesports President and CEO. “We have been friendly competitors for many years. I don’t know of any other paddlesports companies with more experienced and passionate people in the world than those at Liquidlogic and Legacy Paddlesports, and we are looking forward to the partnership.”
The move allows Legacy to better utilize its manufacturing facilities, while offering Liquidlogic more enhanced quality control and closer-to-home production. “The transition is finally completed,” says Liquidlogic’s Steve Jordan. “All models are in production there now. It’s involved a lot of re-framing and re-conditioning of the molds, but we’re back up to full speed and we’re extremely excited about being close to home with our manufacturing.” Just before the deal, Liquidlogic announced that it had restructured its partnership arrangement so Remcon’s Pete Connors, who is no longer a partner. “We just had some typical growing pains of a small company,” adds Jordan, “including limitations in our ability to have inventory in-season. Now we have some more horsepower behind our manufacturing.”
Other Liquidlogic execs are equally happy with the deal. “We are all truly excited about this situation,” says Woody Callaway, Liquidlogic Brand Manager. “Andy Zimmerman and I have been close friends for thirty years, and there’s no better person to be in the lead. Our heart and soul will continue to thrive with R&D and Customer Service remaining in the North Carolina mountains near the Green River. The Legacy team in Greensboro with their decades of experience will get us to the marketplace smoothly.” Liquidlogic owners will become part owners of Legacy Paddlesports, joining both Andy Zimmerman and co-founder Hol Whitney, who is also the founder of Heritage Kayaks.
Info: (336) 454-8385, firstname.lastname@example.org; (828) 606-2914; email@example.com
TAPS, PPA Merger Talks Fail
At least river merge easier.
After spending the past year discussing unification of the paddlesports industry into a new trade association, talks of a merger between the Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) and the Trade Association of Paddlesports (TAPS) fizzled out in December with the TAPS Board of Directors voted unanimously to drop those plans, while encouraging the two organizations to collaborate in Paddlesports promotion and regulatory issues.
In March, PPA and TAPS created the Paddlesports Industry Unification Workgroup (PIUW) to develop a common vision for a unified Paddlesports industry. The primary objective established by the PIUW is to expand Paddlesports participation. The TAPS board decision reflects its thinking that expanded participation is best accomplished through strategic partnerships and expansion of TAPS’ existing programs.
“There are realistic economic limits facing any program for meeting the goal of expanded participation,” notes TAPS President Tim Rosenhan. “It makes sense for TAPS to participate with the PPA and other organizations where our business plan warrants. This does not require a formal consolidation or merger. We share a commitment to a healthy and vibrant Paddlesports industry and we look forward to opportunities for cooperation with the PPA.”
PPA President Mike Prom commends TAPS for making a decision reflecting continued collaboration. “We understand TAPS is committed to a closer working relationship with PPA on a number of issues,” says Prom. “I think the relationships we’ve developed between the boards and the workgroup members bode well for collaboration. Although our board believes there is value in unifying the existing organizations into a new consolidated trade association, many of the same objectives can be met through collaboration.”
The organizations note that other associations such as American Whitewater, the Outdoor Industry Association, and the American Canoe Association have a role to play in promoting Paddlesports participation and other industry initiatives. “Strategic relationships with a variety of organizations will help both associations meet the needs of their members,” said Michael Pardy, TAPS Executive Director. PPA Executive Director Matt Menashes was pleased to recognize TAPS’ willingness to engage on important industry initiatives. “I look forward to working with TAPS and others to realize the goals of the PIUW through collaboration and partnership,” says Menashes.
In a story in SNEWS, Menashes said unification “…is the best way for the industry to create one voice and to leverage what little financial resources this industry has into effective programs. But I understand the TAPS position, that they didn’t understand what the business model for this thing would be. It was still an open question that I wish we could have answered together.”
The TAPS and PPA boards both want to recognize the efforts made by the so-called “non-aligned” members of the PIUW. Kelley Woolsey from Confluence Watersports, Scott Forristall from Johnson Outdoors, Danny Batten from Great Outdoors Provision Company, and Ed Schiller from Wild River Outfitters spent a great amount of time and energy working to develop a unification agenda. A special thanks to Ray Fusco, the former president of the TAPS board, for his early and energetic work on this project. The boards of both organizations also want to recognize the efforts of Dagger founder Joe Pulliam in helping steer the unification process forward.
PPA Announces Industry Awards
The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) presented several members with industry awards honoring their service, support and environmental excellence during a ceremony held November 6, 2006, in Destin, Florida, during the Paddlesports Pro 2006 annual conference.
The Frank A. Jones Outstanding Member Award, the highest honor for a PPA member, was awarded to Trace Noel of Shenandoah River Trips in Bentonville, Virginia for his commitment to PPA and as an ongoing supporter of PPA’s programs and mission. Sheryl Fox, who accepted the award on Trace’s behalf, stated, “”Sam and I are truly honored, yet also humbled, to accept this award on behalf of Trace. Our lives and business have benefited from the time and effort Trace has put into PPA’s leadership. His genuine love of the paddlesports industry and his concern for our environment have been evident to us.”
Joining Cheryl and her husband Sam Fox in accepting the award on Trace’s behalf was Trace’s long-time colleague and friend Don Roberts of Down River Canoe Company, also on the Shenandoah River. “Trace really wanted to be here to accept this award and he’s thrilled to receive it. Trace is an inspiration to all of us for what we can do to protect our rivers and make a living doing what we love.” PPA Executive Director Matt Menashes commented on Trace’s legacy. “Trace and his partner Edith Appleton are inspirations for all paddlesports professionals. Their commitment to this industry through service on boards and committees, through financial contributions, and through support for other business owners is remarkable. Trace’s leadership on the national board and in Virginia is a record of accomplishment that is truly outstanding,” said Menashes.
The Ralph Stevens Vendor Partnership Award honoring exemplary service to PPA and the paddlesports industry was presented to Confluence Watersports for their contributions to the association and the industry. Confluence executives and staff have been working with PPA and the Trade Association of Paddlesports (TAPS) on industry unification, and the company has also been highly involved in developing concepts and ideas for voluntary manufacturing standards. Accepting the award on behalf of the company were Dave D’Auteuil and Buff Grubb who thanked the association for its efforts to promote the industry.
The 2006 President’s Award was presented to Josh and Michelle Gray and the staff of Mohican Adventures in Loudonville, Ohio, for their generosity in hosting the 2006 and 2007 National School for Paddlesports Business. “Josh and Michelle and the staff at Mohican made the school a reality,” stated PPA President Mike Prom. “Without their help and support, we could never have put 50 students through the school in its first year.”
The PPA Environmental Excellence Award was presented to Kay Henry and Rob Center for their work in establishing the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Wenonah Canoes CEO Mike Cichanowski, who nominated Henry and Center, accepted the award on their behalf and read a letter from Kay and Rob. ” Only in our wildest dreams would we have imagined how many people, agencies and organizations have felt an affinity with this project and joined to help us achieve our goal of making the Northern Forest Canoe Trail a nationally significant recreation resource in such a short period of time. Thank you this recognition from PPA.”
This year’s Anthony R. Gusic Good Sport Award was presented to several special individuals who pitched in to revive Wolf River Canoe & Kayak of Long Beach, Mississippi after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Ed Council of Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort, Kentucky, Robert “Bear” Bass of Ozark Outdoors in Leasburg, Missouri, and Jack and Esther Sanborn and the staff of Adventures Unlimited in Milton, Florida, were honored for their generosity and hard work. Presenting the award was owner and PPA board member Joe Feil who thanked the crew for all of their clean up efforts and their donations of equipment to help to get his business running once again after total devastation. Feil stated, “It is acts such as these that show the real sense of community and camaraderie in this industry and within this organization. Thanks to the help and generosity of every one of these people I have been able to open my business again. Thanks to them, I will be able to build my business back to what it was.”
PPA Hosts 2nd Annual National School for Paddlesports Business March 19-21, Delivers Safety DVD
PPA will be holding its second annual national School for Paddlesports Business March 19-21 in Loudon, Ohio. The school is designed to improve business management knowledge, skills, and abilities for paddlesports industry professionals. A sold-out event in 2006, the national school provides a practical learning approach for paddlesports industry business owners, managers, and staff. The school’s curriculum is based on a two-year cycle of achievement and is designed to provide an intensive curriculum in a minimal amount of time at an affordable cost. “By focusing classes into a two-day period we can reduce ‘out-of-the-store’ impacts for our attendees,” said Scott Teuber of Wisconsin River Outings who is the chancellor of the association’s Board of Regents. “We want folks to be able to attend the school but we don’t want to cause significant disruptions in their business.”
The school will have an emphasis on six major learning tracks: finance and accounting, customer relations, advertising and marketing, retail sales, operations and personnel management, legal issues and risk management. Attendees at the school can also earn up to 24 credits each year towards becoming a Certified Paddlesports Professional (CPP) – a designation that benefits the PPA membership and the entire paddlesports industry that enables individuals to distinguish themselves as having achieved the highest level of industry professional development. A total of 75 credits plus graduation from the school is required for the initial certification. Program participants are also required to maintain certification by earning additional continuing education credits over time.
The registration fee for the national school is $215 (US) for PPA members and $290 for non-members that register before February 15. The fee includes tuition, room and board (double-occupancy), and course materials (mailed two weeks before the school). Info: www.propaddle.com, 703-451-3864.
PPA is also pleased to announce that in September, more than 1300 paddlesports industry outfitters, renters and retailers received a free copy of a new National Paddlesports Safety System (NPSS) DVD, courtesy of the Profesional paddlesprots Association (PPA). The NPSS was developed as a resource to promote safe and enjoyable paddling through a partnership between the Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA), and the American Canoe Association (ACA) and funded by a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard. “We are extremely grateful to the ACA and the Coast Guard for their support of this project,” said PPA President Mike Prom, “This new DVD will be an important tool for educating our guests about responsibility on the water.”
The DVD includes a new “customer” video to replace the 13-year old National Livery Safety System video, entitled, Be Safe While Paddling With Us: A Guide to Paddling, is a risk management tool designed to educate paddlesports customers. The DVD also includes four additional videos:
• Whitewater Kayaking: Targets sit-on-top, inflatable and decked kayaks in Class II water. Topics include equipment preparation, defensive and aggressive swimming, dealing with rocks and identifying and avoiding strainers, dangerous hydraulics and foot entrapment.
• Coastal Kayaking: Targeting sit-on-top and decked kayaks, this video addresses several hazards including tidal currents, strong wind, cold, fog, wave action and other traffic issues.
• Whitewater Rafting: Addresses rafters in 4 to 6-person rafts in Class II whitewater without a guide. Topics include preparing for cold water, PFD use and fit, pulling passengers back into a raft, and navigating around rocks.
• Staff Training: Aimed at the seasonal staff of commercial paddlesports providers, this video informs staff about the risk management issues involved in paddlesports business.
Kokatat Partners with Team River Runner
Sidebar: Zoar Outdoors also lends helping hand
Arcata, Calif.’s Kokatat has partnered with Team River Runner to become an official sponsor and provide quality paddling gear to the participants of this innovative program. Working in partnership with The Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports USA, TRR helps veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating on the Potomac River. “Kokatat has supported soldiers in the Special Operations community for more than a decade. In this small way, we continue our support for those who have returned home and chosen paddling as a means of recuperation,” says Michael Duffy, Kokatat Sales and Marketing Director.
Team River Runner (TRR), established in August 2004 by kayakers in the Washington, DC, area, is an all-volunteer organization run by a council of nine kayakers and overseen by a board of directors. “During my convalescence and physical therapy, Team River Runner became an important, even vital component of my recovery. This sense of hope is absolutely essential to emotionally recovering from the devastating injuries that many of us have suffered” says Captain Dan Gade, wounded twice in Iraq and one of 40 active duty soldiers involved with TRR. TRR also provides whitewater boating opportunities for family members as well as for other wounded veterans. In one of the program’s most recent ventures, U.S. service members returning from in Iraq and Afghanistan took to the rapids of the West River, in Jamaica, Vt. Thanks to rafting company Zoar Outdoor, of Charlemont, Mass. “This kind of exciting activity is great for them,” says Ralph Marche, Chief of Voluntary Services and Recreation Therapy for the Boston Chapter of the VA. “Fun is strong medicine.” The West River raft trip is an 8-mile section of whitewater released by the Army Corps of Engineers from the Ball Mountain Dam. Info: www.zoaroutdoor.com/vermontrafting.htm.
Performance Video Launches: “The Digitize Paddlesports Project”
Durango, Colo.’s Performance Video announced the launch of its new “The Digitize Paddlesports Projec,t” a national effort to capture the rich history of paddlesport for the future. “Our sport has a rich history, and we need to be sure it is preserved,” says owner Kent Ford. “In closets across our country, film of the early days of paddling is decaying and is destroying our paddling history at an alarming rate. Once the film backing shrinks, it becomes brittle, and essentially unusable.”
The company’s web page explains how and where to get 8 mm, 16 mm, Super 8, and video footage transferred to digital format. “We recommend starting with the oldest footage and footage with obvious priority, such as first descents, unique riverbank situations, personalities, or first time events,” adds Ford, adding that the initial emphasis of the film search is pre-1972. Info.: www.PerformanceVideo.com
Whitewater Hall of Fame Induction Raises the Bar
An enthusiastic crowd of almost two hundred dignitaries, officials, corporate sponsors, honoree family and friends, came together to honor the 2006 Class of Inductees into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHOF) Induction on October 20, 2006, at the Wisp Resort in McHenry, Md. The induction ceremony began with a ten-minute video (produced by Penstock Productions) introducing the Honorees: Advocates Tom Johnson and Martin Litton (both of California), Champions Scott Shipley (Colorado) and Gisela Grothaus-Steigerwald (Germany), Explorer Herbert Rittlinger (Germany), and Pioneer Jim Snyder (West Virginia). The six Honorees were selected through a rigorous process of nomination, evaluation and election by peer groups throughout world. Nominations submitted by IWHOF Affiliates were reviewed and evaluated by an experienced screening committee that identified nominees for election by a world-wide Electorate body of whitewater practitioners. The results of the elections were announced August 10 at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show in Salt Lake City. “The high quality of the event was commensurate with the high quality of the inductees,” says Joe Kowalski, owner of Wilderness Tours. “The event surpassed my expectations–as a long time river outfitter and paddler, I was thrilled to know I was in the same sport/industry as these wonderful people.”
Tom and Martin received long heart-felt standing ovations as they accepted their awards for their lifelong advocacy for whitewater. Scott and Gisela were not only honored for their outstanding careers as world-class athletes and top competitors but also for their world-class support in other areas of whitewater. Honoree Davey Hearn, a 2005 Champion Inductee, recalled Gisela as his slalom coach at the Madawaska Kanu Centre at the beginning of his career. Accepting Herbert Rittlinger’s award, daughter Judith Steinbacher, recalled her father’s explorations beginning in the 1920’s in Europe and later expanding globally including his solo first descent of the Amazon from the Andes to the ocean in the 1930’s. The ever humble Jim Snyder graciously accepted his award while acknowledging the influence and contributions of whitewater legend, Jess Whittemore, on his whitewater career.
Many of the founder-owners of this year’s corporate sponsors attended the dinner including event sponsor Rick McLaughlin and John Anderson of the McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group (Denver, CO), honoree sponsors Imre and Janet Szilgyi of Appalachian Wildwaters (Rowlesburg, WV), Carl Belt of The Belt Construction Group (Cumberland, MD), Mimi Demaree of Demaree Inflatable Boats (Friendsville, MD), Claudia Van Wijk of Madawaska Kanu Centre (Barry’s Bay, ON, Canada), and Joe and Sue Kowalski of Wilderness Tours (Beachburg, ON, Canada). Other notable guests at the dinner included Maryland State Senator John Hafer, Deputy Director David Bahlman of Maryland Office of Tourism and representing Maryland Governor Ehlrich, Tim McGrath representing U.S. Senator Paul Sarbane, and Garrett County Commissioner Frederick Holliday.
The induction weekend events wrapped up with the Whitewater Legends Brunch on Saturday morning which included a tour of the newest and most unique artificial whitewater course in the United States – the centerpiece of ASCI’s mountain top facilities. Scheduled to open Spring 2007, the whitewater course includes river-like features created by the patented McLaughlin Wave Shaper (McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group). The natural-looking course will be able to change while the water is flowing to create calm, beginner or training environments as well as a venue for world-class slalom, freestyle or squirtboating.
The International Whitewater Hall of Fame and Museum, part of ASCI’s Adventure Sports Center, recognizes and honors individuals who have made significant accomplishments in and contributions to whitewater related activities. The history, development and major achievements made in these activities will be depicted through displays of related equipment, art, artifacts, mementos, etc. Interactive and virtual components will further enhance the museum experience. Info: http://www.iwhof.com
Patagonia, Jackson Team to Recycle Boats
Kayakers at this year’s Gauley Festival didn’t only get recycled in the hydraulic at the bottom of Insignificant. They could also recycle their old boats thanks to a partnership between Jackson Kayak and Patagonia. The goal of the Take Back/Give Back program is to reduce landfill waste and backyard clutter, by recycling and, when possible, reusing old, unused boats.
Participants brought old boats to a Jackson Kayak trailer set up at Gauley Fest, Sept. 22 – 24 in Summerville, WV. Broken boats will be taken to the Jackson Kayak factory, disassembled, cut up and recycled for use as paving material. Functional boats will be shipped to a developing country where there is a shortage of whitewater boats for instructional programs. “The goal of distributing boats to developing countries is to create more kayaking enthusiasts who will become river stewards to help protect endangered, exploited and polluted rivers,” said Jackson Kayak founder and president Eric “EJ” Jackson.
In exchange for recycling their kayaks, boaters will receive a long-sleeve Capilene® shirt by Patagonia. The shirt is perfect for use as a paddling undergarment, Jackson said. Patagonia’s Capilene base layers are earth-friendly – made from more than 50 percent recycled polyester and 100 percent recyclable. Jackson and his children, Emily and Dane are Patagonia Ambassadors. “We applaud the Jacksons’ achievements on and off the water and can’t wait to see how many boaters take part in this new Take Back/Give Back program,” said Patagonia Athlete Program Coordinator Susie Sutphin.
Jackson said Patagonia’s leadership in the use of earth-friendly raw materials and environmental advocacy have inspired him to always seek ways to make Jackson Kayak as green as possible. In addition to the Take Back/Give Back program, Jackson Kayak is the first kayak manufacturer to become a member of 1% For the Planet. Jackson donates his company’s one percent of sales to American Whitewater. The mission of AW is to conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.
AW, Wave Sport Create Steward of the Year Award
American Whitewater (AW) and Wave Sport have announced the new American Whitewater Steward of the Year award presented by Wave Sport. This annual river stewardship achievement award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to river access, conservation, or safety on behalf of American Whitewater. A formal announcement of the program will be made at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in the Confluence Watersports booth (32085) at 5pm on Friday August 11th.
Mark Singleton, Executive Director for American Whitewater notes “Wave Sport has had a long history of supporting AW’s river stewardship efforts and we are very excited to work with them to recognize these deserving individuals.”
“Without the hard work of these volunteers we wouldn’t have many of the paddling opportunities we currently have and Wave Sport is proud to recognize those who have worked so hard protecting our resources,” says Jimmy Blakeney, brand manager for Wave Sport Kayaks.
Beginning this year, the American Whitewater Steward of the Year award will be announced annually at the American Whitewater Gauley River Festival with the recipient presented with the Wave Sport whitewater kayak of their choice. The 2006 American Whitewater Gauley River Festival runs from September 23rd through the 25th in Summersville, WV.
Recipients of the American Whitewater Steward of the Year presented by Wave Sport will be selected from nominees submitted by any of AW’s 120 affiliate clubs or by AW executive board members. Nomination forms can be found on AW’s website. Nominees will be evaluated based on: Impact on local river access and conservation issues; diversity of project work; engaging and providing leadership to additional volunteers to assist in river stewardship efforts; effectively communicating regional stewardship goals and activities to the whitewater community; and Advocating for higher standards of river safety and practices. Info: www.americanwhitewater.org.
SportsOneSource Buys Sporting Goods Business
The SportsOneSource Group and Sporting Goods Business, two of the leading information resources serving the sporting goods retail market, have announced that they will join forces, offering the industry a single comprehensive source for trade news, analysis, career services, and market research needs. The announcement was made by Michael Marchesano, president and CEO, VNU Business Media, and James Hartford, president and CEO of The SportsOneSource Group. Terms of the deal were not announced. Mr. Hartford will manage the overall business under the umbrella of The SportsOneSource Group. SportsOneSource will acquire the rights and registered trademarks, where applicable, for all properties currently under the Sporting Goods Business umbrella, including the Sporting Goods Business, Sports Trend, Sporting Goods Dealer, Outdoor Business, Hunting Business, and Golf Retailer trade magazines, as well as Inside Sporting Goods. SOS also acquires the rights to the Elite Running Conference, OB Outlook, and SGB Forum events and any corresponding VNU-owned publishing, online and event rights to the trademarks, as well as all content, customer databases, and archives.
“When I first started in this industry more than 22 years ago, Sporting Goods Business was the most reliable and widely-read information resource in the market, a position it still holds today,” said Hartford. “Both retailers and vendors will immediately start to see real benefit from this merger. The combination of SGB’s best-of-class print and event portfolio with the other the industry leading media and research properties already under the SportsOneSource umbrella such as SportScanINFO, Sports Executive Weekly, The B.O.S.S. Report, Performance Sports Retailer, and Specialty Market Retailer will provide the markets we serve with an unmatched knowledge base.”
Sporting Goods Business, which is one of the most widely-recognized brand names in the sporting goods business, will become the centerpiece of the SportsOneSource Media Services division, joining Sports Executive Weekly, The B.O.S.S. Report, and the recently launched Specialty Market Retailer and Performance Sports Retailer magazines. “The addition of Sporting Goods Business, coupled with more that 100 years of brand equity associated with Sporting Goods Dealer, exponentially increases the overall value of The SportsOneSource Group to the market,” said Hartford. Info: www.SportsOneSource.com,
Thule to Sell Direct to Canadian Dealers, Part Ways with Sport Dinaco
After over 25 years of working exclusively with Canadian distributor Sport Dinaco, Thule will assume all distribution and sales of Thule products in Canada starting in the spring of 2007. The change is a result of Thule’s recent acquisition of SportRack, which included warehouse and distribution facilities and staff in Granby, QC, Canada. Thule will introduce its Canadian dealer direct sales program at the National Snow Industries Association (NSIA) Snow Show Feb. 11-13 in Montreal, QC, Canada, and will begin distributing Thule products from its Granby facility on April 1, 2007. “We have had a long and prosperous relationship with Sport Dinaco, but with the distribution facility, sales team, and customer service staff we gained with the SportRack acquisition, we have all the assets in place to serve the Canadian market ourselves,” said Fred Clark, President of Thule Inc. “Larry and the Sport Dinaco team have done a tremendous job representing Thule in Canada, and we appreciate all of their hard work over the years and through this transition period.” Sport Dinaco will continue to exclusively supply Thule products to Canadian retailers until March 31, 2007. However, at the NSIA Snow Show in February, Canadian dealers will have the opportunity to pre-book Fall 2007 orders with Thule’s Canadian sales representatives.
Beginning April 1, 2007 Thule will assume all sales, distribution, and service responsibilities for the Thule brand in Canada. Taking over sales responsibilities in Canada will be SportRack’s current sales team, led by sales veterans Andre Clement, Director of Sales & Service, and Martin Cardinal, National Sales Manager. Additionally, SportRack’s current warehouse, distribution, and customer service staff based in Granby, QC, will support the Thule and SportRack brands.
GREAT LAKES BOATING FEDERATION UNITES BOATERS WITH WEB SITE
The Great Lakes Boating Federation (GLBF) announced the launch of its new, upgraded Web site. This improved on-line meeting space will better serve the
GLBF’s mission to provide a voice to the millions of boaters in and around the Great Lakes. Boaters will find a more user-friendly, informative and attractive site that provides them with a place to discover upcoming events, boat shows and news issues relevant to the Great Lakes. Another enhancement provides the ability to buy and sell boats or search the directory to find marinas, manufacturers, yacht-clubs and cruising clubs. A Weblog
invites users to share their opinions, creating a dialogue about issues important to boaters and boating. “After much hard work, we are elated to present the Great Lakes Boating
Community a web site to call their own.” It is an emporium for advocacy and a marketplace for -boaters, marina operators, dealers and vendors of products and services,” says Chairman F. Ned Dikmen. Info: www.greatlakesboatingfederation.org.
Conservation Alliance Awards $280,000 in Grants
The Conversation Alliance recently awarded $280,000 in grants dedicated to the protection of wilderness areas throughout the United States. Conservation Alliance board president Menno van Wyk surprised the group by not only resigning from the board, but then also announcing his efforts to establish a $10 million endowment by 2010 to ensure conservation funding support in the future. Our reporter James Mills was there and brings you this report.
Twenty-four outdoor industry companies have joined The Conservation Alliance since the January OR Show. With a steady increase in membership, the Alliance surpassed the 100 member mark, and now boasts includes 118 companies. The new members are: Alpert-Tebrich & Associates, ASK and Associates, Catalyst Marketing, Dry Creek Enterprises, Forty Forty, Howa Design, Jayhawk Enterprises, Kennan Ward Photography, Lorelei, Inc., Mion Footwear, Mountain High Sales, MVP Sales, OnTarget Public Relations, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Pandora’s Backpack, Purdy and Associates, Serac Adventure Films, Smartwool, Sullivan Agency, The Summit Group, Vishnu Temple Press, Wilderness Press, Woods Wheatcroft Photography, and Zumiez.
Each company joins at a time when the Conservation Alliance is focused on recruiting as many industry companies as possible. Each member company pays annual dues into a central fund, and the Alliance donates those funds to grassroots conservation organizations. The Alliance is on track to donate $530,000 in 2006. “Threats to our wild places continue to grow,” said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. “It’s great to see outdoor businesses stepping up to support the conservation efforts that are important to our industry.”
Building on a partnership launched in 2005, KEEN Footwear will match the first year’s dues of any company that joins the Conservation Alliance in 2006, up to a maximum of $140,000. With the new additions, KEEN has thus far matched $171,300 in new member dues since June, 2005. New members include manufacturers, retailers, sales reps, photographers, and public affairs agencies. “We are building a community of conservation-minded companies that participate in the outdoor industry,” said Sterling. “Together, we will save the wild places so important to outdoor customers.”
Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $5 million to grassroots environmental groups. Alliance funding has helped save over 38 million acres of wildlands; 26 dams have either been stopped or removed; and the group helped preserve access to more than 16,000 miles of waterways and several climbing areas. Info: www.conservationalliance.com.