April Volunteer of the Month Presented by Kokatat
American Whitewater is proud to announce our April 2014 Volunteer of the Month: Jess Whittemore!
Jess Whittemore is a known face in the Upper Yough (MD) paddling community. First chiseling a name and reputation as a squirt boat innovator in the early 80’s and more recently as member of the Friendsville, MD Town Council where he has been representing the interests of the paddling community to local leaders while forging a sense of unity between local residents and boating community. Many paddlers know that the Upper Yough is a special place, Friendsville and Garrett County are the epicenter of an emerging adventure sports destination.
The leadership Jess provides has been instrumental in securing additional boater access at the takeout. Thanks to the spirit of collaboration between the town, local canoe clubs (Coastal Canoeists) and individual paddlers, an online fundraising effort raised approximately $20,000 in seed money that has been leveraged to attract other sources of grant funding. In a recent email exchange Jess reported, “We have two Recreation Trails Program grants totaling $120,000. And another grant source, Program Open Space where we received another $40,000.00 These are all approved totaling $160,000.” These combined funds will be put toward the establishment of boater parking and access at the takeout.
On behalf of the paddling community, American Whitewater recognizes Jess as April’s Volunteer of the Month. In recognition of his work, Jess will be receiving a custom Kokatat Woolcore Shirt!
About this photo: taken circa 1981, Jess is building his 20 lb. Millennium Falcon (a race-legal squirt boat design that helped define the what was possible in a kayak during the 80's).