Zoar Outdoor was one of many businesses affected by the damaging floods from Hurricane Irene last August, but they’ve rebuilt over the winter and are looking forward to the upcoming season with renewed enthusiasm. While the Deerfield River washed away a building and equipment last fall, Zoar Outdoor is planning an event in celebration of the river, recognizing that, except for these rare, destructive events, it is the lifeblood of the community and of their business.
The raft barn that washed away was already a second-generation building, having been rebuilt in the 1970s after burning down (its original purpose was to store propane tanks). Zoar Outdoor has used the barn to store rafting equipment such as PFDs (life jackets), helmets, paddles, pumps, throw ropes, generators and all the miscellaneous gear that goes along with rafting operations. Almost immediately after the storm, the company began planning for the barn’s replacement. Construction continued throughout the winter, and the barn officially opened for use on March 9th. The new barn is built to withstand more severe weather than the previous structure, and also designed with ease of use in mind, allowing guests to get their equipment in an orderly traffic pattern.
Zoar Outdoor is also hosting the Deerfield River Rally on May 19-20 to kick off the season with an event of celebration and stewardship. They want to emphasize the benefits that the Deerfield has brought to this community, including providing hydroelectric power, recreation for boaters and fishermen, and wildlife habitat. The two-day event will combine a river clean-up with a kayaking refresher clinic and culminate in the Reel Paddling Film Festival to be held at the Warfield House in Charlemont on Saturday night.