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New Beginnings: Part 2

New Beginnings: Part 2

What an honor it is to be writing this and introducing ourselves to all of our future friends, employees, coworkers, partners and customers.  Megan and I are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do what we love to do, serve our community, as well as educate and find stewards, or build upon existing ones.  This truly is a dream come true.  First, we must thank Jason Shreder again for this opportunity.  We will do everything we can to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of the business you started, my friend.  Thank you. I will try to keep this brief, but I am not known for that talent.  Here is a bit about us, and our journey to Zoo Town Surfers.

Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated and drawn to water.  I have a picture floating around somewhere of me, around 2 years old, standing next to some rafts my parents had rented for a Green River multiday.  Since then, water and rafting has been in my blood.

I grew up never being able to get out the ocean, spending much of every summer in Southern California with family. The same was true when I was home in Idaho on it’s rivers and lakes; I was the first one in the water, and the last one out, and that much of me at least, largely remains true to this day.

Megan similarly always loved the water.  She grew up snowboarding on the frozen kind, and playing on the wet kind in various river and fishing trips with her family in Alaska. Her love of rivers grew dramatically when she hopped on her first multiday trip with me back in college on the Lower Gorge of the Salmon River.  Since then, she’s taken every opportunity to be on the water. The Lochsa is one of her favorite places on the planet, and in her words, where she “truly fell in love with rivers.”

7 years ago, Megan asked me whether or not I would ever want to own an outfitting business. My work in guiding on the Salmon and Hells Canyon led me to work as a rep for the absolutely wonderful folks at Northwest River Supplies (NRS), so the question of owning a river business came up pretty frequently. My answer was invariably; it depends on the business. I would not want to do it for the wrong reasons, and I would want to structure a company that I would be happy to guide at.  One that focuses on guide voice, stewardship, individual and professional growth, and sharing our incredible rivers with those that do not get to experience them as often as we do. One example of this type of business came up as a general answer to Megans question; if Jason Shreder ever decided to sell, that would be a business worth purchasing.  As luck would have it; 7 years, a few moves, and many river trips later, as well as right place at the right time and some good friends, would lead us to start the process of purchasing Zoo Town Surfers.

We could tell from the get-go that Shreder’s involvement in the community and his passion for his business was incredible.  He built this business from the ground up, and we want to continue the traditions, hard work, and community care and involvement that he set the foundations of ZTS on.  That seemed a daunting task at first, but it has become much more achievable and exciting as we have seen how much love and support has been built around ZTS.  Our promise to you is this: We will continue to grow ZTS into a community minded, inclusive, and safe place where any and all can experience the river.

I am always available via email at ian@zootownsurfers.com, and phone at 208-310-2253. I would love the opportunity to introduce myself over a cup of coffee or a beer, please feel free to reach out! Thank you all for taking the time to read this far, and we hope to see you on the river!

Cheers,

-Megan and Ian Fodor-Davis.

FLOATING THE BLACKFOOT RIVER WITH KIDS

FLOATING THE BLACKFOOT RIVER WITH KIDS

This past summer, we found ourselves floating the Blackfoot River more than previous summers. There are so many things I love about the Blackfoot River. I consider the upper stretches to be the “bread and butter” of this river. I think Russell Gates down is the most remote and scenic section of the river, but myself and our staff really fell in love with the less popular roadside section of the lower Blackfoot.

I have always valued time but I never quite understood how valuable it was until I hada toddler. With the town section of the Clark Fork River being so popular, we decided our go-to float late summer was from Angevine Fishing Access Site (FAS) to Weigh Station FAS. The float is less than five miles long, is close to Missoula, the shuttle is easy, and it has some fun, splashy, technical water at low water flows. Our guests loved it too!

Some tips and things you want to consider when floating this section with kids:

  1. Angevine does not have a boat ramp. You have to carry/drag the boat a short distance to get down to the river. Weigh Station take out has a boat ramp and is an easy take out.
  2. When floating with kids, especially under 5, you want a short trip and short day. It’s hard to keep kids entertained for too long and they have a short attention span.
  3. Take lots of breaks! My son has more fun playing around the river, in sand and dirt than he does in the raft. This section has some great beaches you can stop at along the way.
  4. Be prepared for cold and hot weather. The weather can change quickly here in western Montana. Bring sun protection, warm synthetic clothing, and plenty of sunscreen.
  5. Be super cautious near the water and on the raft with kids. Always wear a PFD that fits correctly.
  6. Bring plenty of snacks, water and a few beers for the adults.
  7. Time the float to go before or after your kid’s routine nap time (or your nap time for that matter).