RUMBLE - One Rumble resident has a vision for what he hopes will continue to grow as a tourist attraction for Boone County.
"We need more things in place throughout the county to support kayaking," said Jeff Petry. "We need campgrounds and more businesses in place to support tourism-based activities like this. I think we're getting there."
Petry and his wife Samantha, who are expecting a new member of the family later this summer, have taken the plunge into a small business that they hope to grow at a healthy rate for the sake of longevity.
Big Coal River Outpost is offering kayak rental throughout the boating season. A 24-hour rental comes with a life jacket and paddles.
"We started around April 1 this year with the business - but (with) the rain and weather and winter lasting longer than expected - it was about a month later," he said. "This is our first year running the business."
The couple took over the business from Madison-based Authentic Adventures Watercraft Rentals.
"We wanted to start one over here on the Big Coal River and we were able to take over and we changed the name and we serve the Coal River watershed," he said.
Currently, the business is operating from their home but Petry hopes the future brings enough business to justify a facility to encourage expansion. Currently, 25 kayaks are available for rental. Petry discussed the services from a launch site at Dartmont Park last week.
"We do a 'grab and go' rental," he said. "You come to the house and pick up the boat for 24 hours. We do a tailored trip if you aren't familiar with the river. We'll have you park your vehicle at the take-out location and put everyone in the vehicle and go to the launch site. From here to Dartmont Park you'd park here, the crew would jump in the truck and go to Dartmont, float down the river (and) when you're done, I meet you here and your vehicle is here and you're good to go."
The business also offers a shuttle service for groups of people who want to enjoy the river together.
"We do just about anything we can at a reasonable price to get people on the river to have a good time," he said.
Available boats include the youth sized 6-footer; 8-foot adolescent teen boats;10-footers with a 250 pound capacity; and the 12-footers, which can handle a 375 pound adult. Tandem boats offer a 600-pound capacity for two adults.
"One of them is a three-seater, so two adults and a small child can ride," he said.
Rental prices range from $60 for a tandem down to $10 for 10-footers.
The civil engineer by day has no delusions of quitting his day job, but he sees this as a family business that he can grow and enjoy with his family and friends.
As an engineer, he specializes in water and wastewater treatment collection and distribution.
"There is a link there between my profession and river activity and trying to keep the fecal coliform out of the rivers and promote proper wastewater treatment," he said.
A member of the Coal River Group, Petry earned master watershed river guide status by floating 88 miles in three days from Whitesville to Sproul, Madison to Alum Creek and then Sproul to St. Albans.
On July 6,, 7 and 8, Big Coal River Outpost will have a special that includes full price on first day and for the next two days a $10 rental regardless of size up to 72 hours. For more information, Call Jeff Petry at 304-400-1291. Find the business on Facebook by searching for Big Coal River Outpost.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @philipdperry.