Outdoor Industry Leaders Leave Mark on Asheville River Arts District

OIA Rendezvous Timberland Service Project in Asheville next week
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Outdoor Industry Leaders Come to Asheville, Leaving a Lasting Mark on the River Arts District

OIA Rendezvous Timberland Service Project Will Result in Visible, Enduring Benefits for the French Broad River Basin

Boulder, CO -- September 29, 2010 – Next week hundreds of leaders from outdoor industry companies all over the country, including brand names any outdoor enthusiast would immediately recognize, will come to Asheville for an annual executive conference to plan the future of their businesses, as well as planning the future of the French Broad River. The Timberland Service Project at the Outdoor Industry Association Rendezvous® in Asheville, NC is poised to become one of the most memorable as industry leaders tackle gnarly work projects that are sure to get the blood pumping.

After a full day and a half of conference sessions, a wide variety of service efforts await the more than 300 executives from companies such as The Timberland Company, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Merrell, The North Face, JanSport and dozens of others. Log jams, broken glass, invasive weeds, old tires, dilapidated buildings — this year’s service projects along the ancient French Broad River in downtown Asheville have all of the elements expected from true outdoor industry service projects. The clean-up will allow conference-goers to support a high-profile improvement plan in the city’s River Arts District geared toward promoting outdoor recreation as a pillar of the city’s economic development.

“We really think that economic development is an enormous strategy for our river, and recreation is a huge part of our economic development strategy. It involves every aspect of recreation and every sport,” said Karen Cragnolin, executive director for RiverLink which has been working with OIA staff to coordinate the project. “We want you to design it here, rent it, fix it, buy it and use it here. We’re excited to work with the passionate leaders of the outdoor industry who want to give back and energize the work that is being put into the French Broad River and its future in the Asheville community.”

In keeping with Asheville’s larger vision for 17 miles of connected greenways linking the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, OIA Rendezvous participants will gather on the afternoon of Thursday, October 7 to work on six projects on and around the French Broad River including cleaning up the railroad trestle, repairing fences and planning new projects for the sculpture plaza, reducing overgrowth on and around the Ice House property, building a Labyrinth on the site of the Old Cotton Mill, planting trees and cleaning up large stretches of the French Broad River.

One of the industry’s most recognizable brands, Timberland, has sponsored the Rendezvous Service Project for 15 years as a dedicated steward of the outdoors. “Rendezvous provides an opportunity for us to live up to the leadership attributes that we are committed to,” said Mark Bryden, vice president and general manager North America for The Timberland Company. “It’s a way to contribute Timberland’s competency of service projects and strategies that have lasting impact.”

Nantahala Outdoor Center is also contributing to the project supplying watercraft, tools, expertise and transportation to help support OIA Rendezvous attendees complete the work projects in a compressed afternoon full of activity.

“Rendezvous is about far more than advancing business practices,” commented Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of Rendezvous conference creator Outdoor Industry Association. “Preserving and enhancing local outdoor areas is an integral part of the personal and professional philosophies of nearly every leader in this industry.Rendezvous is one of the rare opportunities for all of us to dig in and really make a lasting difference for one of the most recognizable outdoor communities in the eastern U.S.”

Outdoor Industry Association

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA provides industry defining resources and support in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business‐to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Ongoing education opportunities and strategic business workshops provided by OIA include the annual Rendezvous®, Outdoor University® sessions, and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information about OIA go to www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

Timberland

Timberland (NYSE: TBL) is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it. Timberland markets products under the Timberland®, Timberland PRO®, SmartWool®, Timberland Boot Company®, howies®, Mountain Athletics® and IPATH® brands, all of which offer quality workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature. Timberland's products can be found in leading department and specialty stores as well as Timberland® retail stores throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. More information about Timberland is available in its reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)

Nantahala Outdoor Center is the nation’s largest outdoor recreation company. Over a half million guests visit NOC annually to embark on a diverse collection of more than 80 different whitewater rafting and land-based itineraries, learn to kayak at NOC’s world-renowned Paddling School, travel to 12 foreign countries with NOC’s Adventure Travel program, test the latest outdoor gear and shop at its flagship retail stores or enjoy NOC’s resort amenities such as its four restaurants and multi-tiered lodging. A privately-held, employee-owned company, NOC is one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina and 22 Olympians and Olympic coaches have called NOC home. NOC has been recently recognized by The New York Times as the “Nation's Premiere Paddling School,” “The Best Place to Learn” by Outside, and as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic ADVENTURE.

RiverLink

In April 1989, RiverLink, then known as the French Broad Riverfront Planning Committee, a loosely knit unincorporated group of volunteers, came together with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the French Broad River Foundation to develop a plan for the Asheville Riverfront. The Chamber was primarily interested in the economic development opportunities that the river offered. The French Broad River Foundation's primary concern was better river access and improved water quality. One thing was clear to both organizations — a marriage had to occur. Neither the environmental nor the economic development desires of either organization would come to fruition without the participation and input of both groups. After over 20 years as an independent non-profit RiverLink is the recognized “go to” organization on all things French Broad River. RiverLink has bought a number of historic buildings and owns and operates the first adaptive reuse of an historic structure for artist studios at the Warehouse Studios. Today there are over 100 professional artists in the district and 11 artist owned buildings — creating a new paradigm for economic development in an arts district. RiverLink is also a land trust focused on protection of riparian areas of less than 100 acres and has restored over 3 miles of degraded stream banks, spearheaded the creation of greenways along the river, taught thousands of children through its education programs and spearheaded planning and development of the riverfront area through the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay, The Riverfront Plan and the Open Space Design Guidelines.

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