With several courses under construction nationwide, 2006 will be a landmark year for whitewater-park development. None, however, is as inspirational as Brennan's Wave, a $300,000 park being built on the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana.
The park is a tribute to Brennan Guth, a local boater and founder of Tarkio Kayak Adventures, who died in a kayaking accident on Chile's Rio Palguin in 2001.
Guth grew up in Missoula, where he ski raced and played high-school football in the town of 57,000. He was a humble, sincere river explorer w ho shared what he learned with others.
"Brennan had this charisma to him," said Tarkio co-owner Dunbar Hardy. "He was always game for an adventure."
Those seeking the resources to build the park have pursued funding with a vigor that matched Guth's approach to life. Half of the financing came from a redevelopment tax that had to be spent by June. Local community groups such as the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, which contributed $20,000, and Big Sky Brewing, which donated profits from a summer concert series, also stepped up to help finance Brennan's Wave.
"The citizens of Missoula (not just the boaters) deserve the lion's share of the credit for this project," noted Trent Baker, one of the project drivers. "Their unwavering and vocal support kept it moving forward and gave us the impetus to overcome the numerous regulatory hurdles for the first project of its kind in Montana."