CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce recently honored River Riders Family Adventure Resort of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., with the George E. Vickers Business Award.
The presentation was made during its 59th annual Chamber Celebration at Hollywood Casino.
Each year the chamber salutes a business that has shown leadership in promoting the expansion and prosperity of the area.
For more than 30 years, River Riders has been connecting local residents and visitors to the beauty and natural environment for which West Virginia is known, the chamber reported in a news release.
The original piece of property for River Riders, a converted gas station building, was purchased in 1987. Since then, the facilities and services at River Riders have expanded numerous times. With the expansions, more employees, customers and recognition have followed.
River Riders was the first to offer a mega zipline in West Virginia, the chamber reported. In 2015, River Riders upgraded its zipline canopy tour operation as well as its outdoor adventure camp. In 2016, an adjacent hotel was purchased and renovated into the Clarion Inn Harpers Ferry. In addition to improvements to the hotel’s rooms, restaurant, and conference facility, a solar energy system — the third-largest in West Virginia at the time — was installed, and the facility now operates as the first solar-powered hotel in the state.
River Riders has grown from 10 employees with $200,000 in sales in 1998 to more than 150 employees and $4 million in revenue in 2015, the chamber reported.
Today, River Riders and Clarion Inn Harpers Ferry operate as an outdoor family adventure resort, offering year-round recreational opportunities, including whitewater rafting, tubing and kayaking on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers and other activities, such as a zipline canopy tour, kids zipline, aerial adventure park and biking.
According to the chamber, these expansions at River Riders and Clarion Inn Harpers Ferry have been a benefit to the local economy in terms of additional jobs and increased tax revenues for Jefferson County. In addition, many other local business owners benefit as tourists attracted by River Riders frequent dining and lodging facilities throughout the county.