Recent Press Releases

Team Awards

Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom, on behalf of the company accepted the 2013 Franklin County CDC's Haas Entrepreneur Award. Zoar Outdoor received the 2012 Masslive/Republican Reader Rave award for the Best Outdoor Adventure in the Pioneer Valley.  Bruce Lessels accepted the 2012 Mass Office of Travel and Tourism's 2012 Premier Tourism Award at the Annual Governor's Conference held at the Big E in Springfield. Janet Cowie, Director of Instruction Programs, was the recipient of the American Canoe Association’s prestigious “Excellence in Instruction” Award for 2011 for outstanding contributions in paddlesports education and instruction. Owners, Karen Blom and Bruce Lessels received the 2010 Spirit of Adventure Award from the Mary Lyon Education Foundation. Howard Bronstein, Advanced Raft Guide won the 2008 Mass Office of Travel and Tourism Hospitality Award in a ceremony with Governor Deval Patrick in Boston.  In 2006, our Lodge Manager, Philip May, won a Howdy award for hospitality excellence from the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2005, Bruce Lessels, President, won an Outstanding Instructor Award from the American Canoe Association and in 1997, our Rafting Manager, Kevin McMillan, won a Mass Office of Travel and Tourism award for hospitality excellence.

PR highlights


We again received Yankee Magazine's Editors Choice designation as the " Best Place to Raft" in Massachusetts. We added more PV Solar panels to reach almost 100% electrical use. We've added SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) to our line-up of retail boats and instruction offerings. 


We added two new zip lines to our Canopy Tour and were designated the "Best Place to Soar" in Massachusetts by Yankee Magazine's Editors Choices. We hired a part-time marketing assistant and put up 4 facebook fan pages with lots of fun contests and photos. Our Instruction Director, Janet Cowie was a presenter at the National American Canoe Association Conference in October. Our staff saved on gas by getting to work using human-powered means for over 1000 communting miles. Our canopy course was used to film commercials for Timberland Shoes!


2009 was a big year! We installed a 9- zip line canopy tour, built a building to house it, expanded our water system and hired 2 new program managers.  We also hosted the 6th Annual Whitewater Symposium on the Deerfield River. We were featured in The Valley Advocate, Berkshires Week, The Nashua Telegraph, Preview Massachusetts, Where Boston, AMC Outdoors, Newsday, The Hartford Courant, The Boston Globe and Business West.


We hosted the US Wildwater National Championships again, held a press FAM for fly fishing, started using the on-line reservations program ResMark, and started a organizational restructuring. Press coverage included, Yankee Magazine, The Lowell Sun, Family Fun, The UMass Amherst Alumni Magazine, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.


We were asked to Host the US Wildwater National Championships on the Deerfield River Dryway. We also started a fly fishing program with local guide Jim Dowd. We were featured in the MetroWest Daily News, The Recorder, and The Hook. our staff participated in the filming of a number of video clips for Expert Village, an on-line, how-to site.


In 2006 we created Team Z, a group of elite paddlers sponsored by Zoar Outdoor to compete locally and nationally in paddling event. This year, we have been featured in National Geographic Adventure, Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England , AMC Outdoors and on Fox News.


In 2005, we renovated and open the Hawk Mountain Lodge, a 6-room guest lodge adjacent to our main base. With this addition, we offerd multi-day adventure packages. We were in the Lowell Sun, the Boston Sunday Globe, Livin’ the Vermont Way , National Geographic Adventure, Paddler magazine, the New York Daily News.


In 2004, we were in AAA Horizon magazine, the Boston Sunday Herald, New England Travel and Life, Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England , AMC Outdoors and the Boston Sunday Globe travel section.  We were also featured in 4 episodes of the New England Sports Network reality TV show, Roughing It.


In October, 2003, we created and hosted the first Annual Whitewater Symposium (  The event has since been hosted by Nantahala Outdoor Center , in 2004, Glenwood Springs , CO in 2005 and it will be at Current Adventures in CA in October of 2006. Other PR in 2003: New York Metro magazine, Family Fun magazine, front page of the Boston Globe travel section, MetroSports magazine.


In 2002 our kayak school was featured in the Boston Globe Sunday Travel section.  In June, 2002, our rafting was featured in Boston Magazine.  In May, 2002, our kayak school was featured in the New York Times travel section.