‘It’s called the Rock for a reason’

Cory Hurley
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West coast group promotes adventure tourism

Yvan Roy-Sutherland prepares to scale a rock face at Captain Cook’s Lookout. Rock climbing is one of the many amenities offered in the local adventure tourism industry. — Submitted photo

CORNER BROOK — Living in Western Newfoundland can be an adventure, and a group of locals is hoping to make it known.

ROAM (Rivers, Oceans and Mountains) The Rock is a new, developing adventure tourism-based guiding collective on the west coast of the island.

Richard Wells, Greg Pike and Trevor Beck are leading the way with their rock climbing, caving and rafting operation.

These local boys are returning home to showcase the adventure in their own backyard.

“I have been all across Canada, and nowhere has more raw potential to be developed into an adventure tourism destination,” Wells said.

It’s not just a business for visitors from abroad, Pike said, but also an opportunity for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to experience the great outdoors.

“Growing up here, 98 per cent of the people here have never seen the caves or been rock climbing,” he said. “They have no idea. It is called the rock for a reason, and Corner Brook is amazing.”

Just a short excursion from their headquarters at the base of Marble Mountain, there are dozens of caves to explore, the Humber River to surf and dozens of rock faces to scour.

However, it is about much more than the formation of a single entity. ROAM The Rock is a collective, whereby like-minded people are coming together to avail of the marketing aspects of this body to showcase the amenities and services available in the local tourism industry.

The business partners said there are already 15-to-20 people gathering around the table at their weekly meetings. The collective expands the tourism offerings to include such adventures as parasailing and boat tours.

The initiative’s success, which they believe can span the entire province, depends on continued partnerships and collaborative work.

“I just think Newfoundland needs everyone to work together instead of trying to cut each other’s throats,” Wells said. “A collective is the best way to do that.”

“I have been all across Canada, and nowhere has more raw potential to be developed into an adventure tourism destination.” Richard Wells

Wells has an extensive background in the tourism industry spanning both sides of the country. He is an adventure tourism graduate and completed a ski resort operations and management program in Western Canada. He has worked locally with Marble Zip Line and other tourism-related operations.

Meanwhile, Pike’s history in tourism is just as extensive, but he also has a bachelor of commerce degree and a marketing background — saying he eventually realized his calling was in the outdoors rather than behind a desk.

They rave about the support they have received within the tourism and business community so far. They have a website, Facebook page, a promotional YouTube video, apparel, brochures, flyers, a logo and business cards. And they are just beginning.

They are not limiting themselves to adventure tourism. They see other projects, such as music and art festivals, being developed, too.

“I am lucky to be well travelled myself, and home is still the best place I have ever seen,” Pike said. “However, it is not developed yet, which works out great for us.”

Right now, the group has accepted a nominal membership fee, but is progressing on the merits that its members are open to ownership and investment.

ROAM The Rock will be officially launched during a Canada Day celebration in partnership with the Bar Room. It is still in the planning stages, but Wells and Pike ensure they know how to put together a good party.

For more information check out their website, www.roamtherock.ca.


The Western Star

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland, Western Canada Marble Mountain Humber River Western Star

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Recent comments

  • Nature Guy
    May 24, 2011 - 16:59

    John, couldn't agree with you more. I hate the term, and consider it just another way for Canadians to degrade this incredible and diverse island. What I hate even more is when Newfoundlander's use it themselves.

  • John Carrick Greene
    May 20, 2011 - 09:47

    I have always resented the nickname "The Rock" for Newfoundland. And there are three reasons why. First, because it presents a false image of Newfoundland which is covered with immense forests and a huge variety of breathtaking scenery. The second reason is that it's a relatively new cognomen and has no history to it. In all my life I never knew of any tradition relating to Newfoundland as "The Rock" . In fact the first time I heard was on "Front Page Challenge" when the ignorant Gordon Sinclair referred to it contemptuously as "The Rock". Thirdly, "The Rock" is a name that was invented by mainlanders. It is not of local origin.