Sky Fund Grows to $20 Grand for River Access in Washington!

Posted: 11/01/2002
by Jason Robertson


For Immediate Release
Contact Jason Robertson, Access Director, American Whitewater, 866-262-8429

NOVEMBER 1, 2002 - Werner Paddles, American Whitewater, Washington Kayak Club, and organizers of the annual SkyFest have reached their initial goal and raised over $20,000 to secure public river access to the Skykomish River.

Jason Robertson, Access Director for American Whitewater expressed the team's enthusiasm. "Working together, our groups reached our ten- year goal in just 18 months. This is a testimony to the importance of this river to Washington's paddling community. We could not have achieved our goal without the help of our corporate partner Werner Paddles, and the avid support of our dedicated volunteers who are the heart and soul of SkyFest."

The Skykomish River is located about 50 miles from Seattle in central Washington in Snohomish and King Counties. Legal river access opportunities along the whitewater sections of the 'Sky' are diminishing as a result of changes in ownership and management priorities of public agencies. Local volunteers will now work with local officials and agency personnel to improve access opportunities on public land and identify privately owned parcels that may be available for purchase. The funds generated will also provide the means for local volunteers to apply for matching grants from government agencies and private foundations, and to initiate the process of developing permanent boat launch and take-out facilities for kayaks, canoes, and rafts.

If you would like more information about our project, how you can help, or are interested in making a donation to the Sky Fund, please contact Jason Robertson at American Whitewater.

Werner Paddles Inc., manufacturer of high performance kayak and canoe paddles in Sultan Washington, is dedicated to promoting environmental leadership in the padlesports industry. Werner contributed a third of the funds raised for the Sky Fund, and our groups could not have reached our goal so quickly without the company's strong support.

SkyFest, originated in 1996 by a group of dedicated kayakers, celebrates the beauty of the Skykomish River and raises funds for on- going river access projects. The festival has become the premier whitewater event in the Puget Sound area. Volunteers Nick Newhall, Julie Albright, and Dave and Sue Wester, along with tremendous support from many local paddlers, have raised awareness about the challenging access issues facing the Skykomish.

American Whitewater is a national non-profit whose mission is 'to conserve and restore America's whitewater resources and enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.' 8,000 members nationwide represent an additional 80,000 paddlesport enthusiasts through 165 affiliate canoe and kayak clubs. American Whitewater is managing the Sky Fund, and was successful in engaging Werner Paddles' support through the WAVE Corporate Partnership Program. To learn more about AW's WAVE Corporate Partnership Program, contact Risa Shimoda at

The Washington Kayak Club represents 1,200 paddlers in Western Washington. The club promotes safe boating opportunities through instruction, training, festivals, competition and club trips on rivers throughout the region, and encourages and aids in promoting conservation and access initiatives.

Jason D. Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349