Allegheny Outfitters: Uplifting outdoor recreation and resource stewardship
Warren County | Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds
Allegheny Outfitters (AO) — a nature-based, veteran-owned company based in Warren, Pennsylvania — was started in 2006 as a livery service, renting kayaks and canoes to tourists.
However, a move made a few years ago has turned AO into a one-stop outdoor shopping outlet where you can buy a new kayak and buy or rent outdoor goods, or book guided and unguided backpacking, fishing, and paddling trips lasting anywhere from just a few hours to several days.
In 2019, the Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds company moved and expanded operations from a small storefront canoe, kayak and backpacking shop on one end of Warren and a livery side of operations on the other side of town, into one big building right on the banks of the Allegheny River downtown.
AO’s new Clark Street facility, which formerly housed the Loranger Company’s manufacturing factory, more than doubles its previous floor space – a big step up from the last retail location, said Piper VanOrd, AO’s owner, founder, and creative director.
It even includes a trip planning center. “We’re map people. Every great adventure I’ve ever taken has started with a map of some kind,” explained Piper.
Piper is a Leave No Trace Master Educator certified from the National Outdoor Leadership School and ACA Level II Kayak Instructor certified. She co-authored the Allegheny River Paddling Guide and published On the river and down the trail, a collection of 100 photos of her adventures in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Piper is also one of the founding members of the annual Allegheny River Clean-up, which began in 2009. Teaming up with the U.S. Forest Service and Northwest Savings Bank, as well as a crew of volunteers from over 100 other businesses and organizations, a 31-mile stretch of the Allegheny and two tributaries get a thorough annual cleaning thanks to this group effort.
“To date, more than 100,000 pounds of metal alone have been pulled from the Allegheny River and nearby Brokenstraw and Conewango Creeks. At the same time, this effort has created new volunteers and paddlers alike,” said Piper.
For stewardship efforts such as this, along with outstanding customer service, Allegheny Outfitters has won many awards, including a Governor’s Keystone Tourism Award and a 2012 winner of a Champion of the PA Wilds Award.
AO has also been honored with the Community Impact Award for northwest Pennsylvania as part of the 2015 Governor’s ImPAct Awards, honoring a company which exemplifies the standard of “doing well by doing good,” according to the Team Pennsylvania Foundation. Winners show a commitment to the growth and development of their employees and the community.
Allegheny Outfitters is a Field Guide member of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania and a PA Wilds logo licensee. Learn more about Allegheny Outfitters or leave a review/recommendation on AO’s Wilds Cooperative of PA profile!
*Photos courtesy of Allegheny Outfitters
The 13th annual Allegheny River Cleanup is scheduled for Sept. 16-18. Cleanup locations will include the Buckaloons to Wildwood on Thursday; Wildwood to Tidioute on Friday, and Allegheny Outfitters to Buckaloons on Saturday. This effort will require about 40 volunteers each day. Participants must sign up in advance here.
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