Looking Back and Moving Forward

Recreation Northwest had a full event calendar in 2014. We hosted Multisport-Relay Races in the towns of Winthrop, Olympia, North Bend and Bellingham (and a Kids Traverse too) as well as Adventure Races in Fairhaven and Orcas Island. We also hosted our second Race Director Summit and first EXPO (watch the video). Oh yea, and some volunteer work parties, fundraising events and plenty of planning meetings!

Some perspective. Our organization is actually less than 2 years old and just received our non-profit status earlier this year. Our Board of Directors and Staff are diligently working to find the balance between our events and our new community programs of Stewardship and Education. Part of our strategy was to create the Northwest Traverse Series to create opportunities statewide for people to have some fun together and subsequently help grow our events (bottom-line stuff) to be able to support these grassroots programs.

We had great teams of people, sponsors and media support in the places where we hosted our races and made great business connections and new friendships along the way. We value these relationships and are grateful for the support we received. Yes, with a triple-bottom-line perspective, the events were a success. Unfortunately, that is not enough to make these activities sustainable for our business. After much deliberation, budget crunching and conversations with our partners, we have decided that we will not be hosting the Northwest Traverse in the towns of Winthrop or Olympia.

We love Winthrop and cherish the place and people of the Methow Valley.  They have had quite the year! The low snowfall in the winter and devastation of fires and floods last summer took its’ toll on the local economy and the lives of most. We would especially like to help bring visitors to the area, but simply don’t have the capacity. 

We would like to give special shouts out to those individuals who helped launch the Winthrop Traverse. To all the volunteers who came out to show support! Props to Julie Muyllaert from Methow Cycle & Sport for connecting us with all the right people. To our Race Directors Sam and Allison Naney (and Fiona) rallied the community and made it happen. Mike Pruett put it all together for us at Pearrygin Lake with the support of Rick Lewis from State Parks. The hospitality provided by Mary Campbell and the staff at Sun Mountain Lodge was 5 star!! Shouts out to James DeSalvo and staff from Methow Trails for participating and being great partners. Our own, Paul Clement, for keeping the party going at the Finish Line as MC! Last, but not least- Thank you to Kerby, Ash and Linda Court of Bear Creek Golf Course for extending the invitation to us in the first place. Read Thank You Winthrop for recap.

Thank these people the next time you see them! How you ask?

Go to the Methow Valley and Spend a Ben(jamin Franklin $100 bill). You can support Methow Trails and local businesses like Sun Mountain Lodge, Methow Cycles, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop Mountain Sports, Pine Near RV Park, North Cascades Mountain Hostel and your favorite place while you’re there.

The relative good news is that while we will also not be hosting the Olympia Traverse in 2015, our partners at Centro will be continuing the event as the Olympia Adventure Relay. The race will follow the same course we have used in the past. The event will also partner with and finish at the Olympia Beer Fest in 2015. This promises to be a ton of fun!

Without Winthrop and Olympia, we will be able to focus on our hometown events, here in Bellingham. Bellingham KIDS Traverse is scheduled for June 28th and we’re making changes to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced in the first two years. Our Crew, led by Race Director Jen Gallant, is shaping up to create even more fun for the kiddos!

Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics has committed to being our title sponsors for the 2015 Bellingham Traverse and are excited about our shared commitment to the environment and eating well for healthy living. We unfortunately had to bid adieu to our Race Director, Tyler Mitchell, who will be relocating to the “big city”. I am glad that he is looking forward to going SOLO in the race (see what I did there) on September 19th, 2015 and wish him well.

We are working with our partners on the North Bend Iron Horse Traverse, currently scheduled for September 12th, 2015. They strategically became a part of the series last year and we look forward to helping the event grow in metropolitan Seattle and the Eastside.

Based in Bellingham, The Quest Adventure Race TEAM & Club, will also be finding deeper roots. We look forward to working with Brent Molsberry as Race Director and his TEAM of Emily and Dusty! Exciting things are to come with the Team, Club and our Adventure Races! Mark your calendars for Kulshan Quest – July 25th and Island Quest – September 26th.

We enjoyed 2014!  I’m anxious to share what we have coming in 2015. “TTFN” – Tigger

As co-founder and executive director of Recreation Northwest, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.

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