The New River Center at All-OutdoorsPosted November 20, 2007 by Malina
The first day of August was unlike any other. After years of preparation, buckets of sweat, hundreds of crossed t’s, dotted i’s, foiled plots and careful designs, AO guides met AO guests at our River Property in Lotus. The
All-Outdoors River Center was officially open for business!! I rolled in late and missed everything because I was busy making a Coffee Cake to mark the occasion (one of my signature moves in life is to be late because I’m making a Coffee Cake). Luckily for all of us, Scott A had his camera at the ready and documented the momentous occasion. Frankly though, even his eagle eye and swanky camera couldn’t really capture the magic of the moment—it’s hard to articulate how much work and commitment went into bringing a raw and beautiful piece of property into a polished and beautiful space ready to welcome the public—our guests—to their day on the river with us. These pictures don’t show the careful planning of drainage systems, the search for brown gravel that would blend into the valley’s natural colors better than the standard grey. They don’t show the hours of design that went into planning and planting the landscaping, the days and weeks that turned scavenged old barn wood into the burnished and beautiful siding that graces the side of the bathroom. Each board was finished by hand—just like the custom welding inside the building. Every aspect of the development of this property has been guided by a desire to respect the integrity of the valley, to use recycled and reclaimed materials, to invest in something beautiful, durable, and useful.
These pictures give you a sense of the property and its buildings; they show you where you’ll meet your guides, and where you’ll park your car, but outside the frame are the hands that crafted this place. Our property was built by friends, by guides, by people who have worked for AO for 5, 10, 20 years. New guides, with us for weeks, not years, worked on these buildings too. You might meet these guys on a trip—newcomers and veterans alike, they work on all the rivers we run.
This property is a work in progress and will continue to develop over the years—but even at this early date, when you come up to raft on the South Fork with us, I hope you’ll take a second to scope out the hand-crafted walls of our straw bale check-in building where you can see the bales of straw in the “truth window,” the reclaimed metal siding and barn wood that make up the changing area, and the refinished redwood we saved from a landfill.