Leading a regional organization like Roanoke River Partners means there is always more to be done to achieve our mission — that mission being to garner favor for our region.

Thus, when opportunity knocks like it has recently, we do our best to lean in to embrace each opportunity that holds promise for our river communities and our grassroots organization.

During a year when the revenue-generating reservations we rely on are down due to COVID, we have been pleasantly surprised that our brand has attracted other interest that should help us and our regional partners come out on the other side of our current budget deficits.

While like many of you we have been hunkered down, I am happy to report that the reputation and brand we have cultivated over the past 23 years has continued to draw in new opportunities. It’s simply uncanny that during this lull some incredible promotional opportunities have presented themselves.

The first evidence of our good fortune came from a photojournalist from Colorado who contacted us about her assignment for Our State Magazine. She needed to get a good photo of a tent and boat set up on one of our platforms. We talked to her, shared past photos for reference and connected her to a local outfitter to assist with her assignment. After her shoot, she sent me a message to say she got her shot. Be on the lookout for this piece in Our State Magazine in the spring of 2021.

Our next promotional opportunity came from a freelance writer from Baltimore. She reached out and said she had been following our social media and had noticed we were cultivating elements of our cultural story in conjunction with our paddle trail — in particular, our Roanoke River Underground Railroad story. She thought the time was right for an article about the unique Roanoke River outdoor adventure we offer along with some of the cultural heritage that is an integral part of our history. She pitched her idea to a leading outdoor magazine that covers our southeastern states and they agreed. In the coming months, we look forward to seeing her firsthand account of camping on our river platforms along with her suggestions for some of the cool things to see and do while you are here.

And just so our story gets out to an even broader audience, we had a producer for North Carolina Weekend on UNC-TV come to do a story. After camping on our platforms and getting related footage, he came back and interviewed Rose Railey, with US Fish and Wildlife Service, and I for this segment. Turns out, he did a story on our platforms back in 2009 and he thought it was time to do a follow-up. You can catch this piece at 9 tonight on North Carolina Weekend on UNC-TV.

And last but certainly not least, we also had a call from the editor of Eastern Living Magazine about working with a writer on a short piece on our organization and our Roanoke River Paddle Trail.

So the good news is, even while some activities in our region are currently suspended, there are good things on the horizon and RRP continues to serve as a catalyst to bring favor to our Roanoke River region!

Carol Jones Shields is the executive director of Roanoke River Partners. Contact her at 252-798-3920 or director@roanokeriverpartners.org. Learn more about Roanoke River Partners roanokeriverpartners.org.

Carol Jones Shields is the executive director of Roanoke River Partners. Contact her at 252-798-3920 or director@roanokeriverpartners.org. Learn more about Roanoke River Partners roanokeriverpartners.org.