Well it’s not that often we as the SECP staff volunteer for an event…all together. Last week was one of those times. Dan, Angie and I traveled to Charlotte to donate some of our time to our River Jam campaign.
What is this? River Jam? Sounds rad! Well it is!
River Jam is a weekly concert series that happens on Thursday evenings at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Local bands play on a stage set up by the “river” and patrons set up blankets and chairs and enjoy the evening with friends. The Nature Conservancy has partnered with River Jam as a sponsor for the concert series. We set up a booth each week to share information about what TNC does across the State and also to enter people in a raffle to win $1200 of REI camping gear! It was a fun event and we had a banner number of registrants for the raffle thanks to Angie who, on a suggestion from TNC board chair John Berry (also helping out that night), decided to walk around and ask event goers if they wanted to win some free camping gear. It worked better that hovering around the booth and we had over 100 people sign up! The band was rockin’ and the crowd enjoyed the nice evening next to the river with a cold beer, which the center had plenty of!
So more about the US National Whitewater Center. The facility is huge and there is so much to do there! The river is a manmade loop that was built as a training facility for the US Olympic team during the Atlanta Olympics. All of the rapids are artificial and the water is cycled by a giant pump house. Along with whitewater rafting you can do a number of other activities like whitewater kayaking, flat water kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, zip lines, ropes courses, MEGA JUMP!, mountain biking, and the list goes on. There is a restaurant on site and a few different snack bars around that have a ton of craft beer on draught (what goes better with whitewater rafting than craft beer?). The facility is clean and well staffed.
We had the opportunity to take advantage of some of the fun on Friday. We did a giant zip line over the “river” and the MEGA JUMP (a 46 ft jump off a tower, very heart pounding) as well as an hour and a half whitewater session. It was so fun! Our guide was well versed in rafting and gave us some really great runs through the manmade rapids. We ran some class IV rapids backwards, it was so adventurous. If you are planning a trip to the center and would like a rowdy whitewater experience request George as your guide, you will certainly have an exciting time 🙂