In 1983, Colorado river guide Mike Taggett sought a simple way to keep his sunglasses on his face and out of the water, and through this innovative idea, the Original Cotton Chum was born. Thirty-five years later, Chums is now a global brand that offers outdoor products and apparel, living alongside legendary paddling product innovations like TEVA and NRS cam straps, to name just a few.
Dedicated to the rivers of Utah and Idaho where the company calls home, Chums is honoring its connection to its surrounding waterways, celebrating its future and its place in the outdoor world by partnering with American Rivers, the also-iconic nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring wild rivers and water sources.
The partnership celebrates Chums’ 35th anniversary and the Wild and Scenic River Act’s 50th anniversary simultaneously, significant milestones for both organizations. The two will work together to drive river advocacy through education and philanthropy.
Chums will commemorate the partnership with support of American Rivers’ “5,000 Miles of Wild” campaign, and by donating half of net proceeds from a limited-edition run of 35th Anniversary promo wear to American Rivers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 275,000 members, supporters and volunteers.
To kick-off the partnership, Chums invited American Rivers to join key brand representatives on a rafting trip through Desolation Canyon for fireside chats, content creation and conversations about love for life on the river. The content created on this celebratory and exploratory journey will be shared as the organizations educate the community on multiple facets of river life: the importance of healthy rivers, endangered rivers, river conservation and preservation, conserving clean water, and most importantly how each and every one of us can make a difference and protect our local waterways.
The 5,000 Miles of Wild campaign is led by a coalition of conservation organizations and leaders in the outdoor industry that aim to protect 5,000 new miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers and one million acres of public land over the next three years. The coalition includes brands such as American Whitewater, NRS, OARS, YETI, REI and Chaco.
Chums will share its heritage with a series of river stories and encourage its community to do the same. These stories aim to inspire personal connections to the river, share support for river stewardship and protection, and contribute to the campaign’s goal of 5,000 stories over the next three years.
Said Colleen Gilligan, Director of Marketing at Chums: “American Rivers’ dedication to preservation, conservation and protection of wild rivers for future generations resonates with Chums. Everyone is impacted by a wild river, whether on a large or small scale. We invite our Chums community to celebrate our anniversary by paying it forward to what inspired Chums in the first place—the river. We welcome all levels of involvement and couldn’t be more excited to build an enduring relationship with American Rivers.”
“We were delighted when Chums first approached us for partnership as they are a brand we have always admired,” said Amy Kober, National Communications Director at American Rivers. “Chums has a lot of soul and passion, as well as an amazing history on the river. Throughout our discussions, it is clear we both share the same ambitions and goals. We are excited to build a long-term reciprocal relationship with Chums that promotes river advocacy through education.”
Chums will also host a 35th Birthday Party happy hour during the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver, Colorado, honoring American Rivers. The event will educate brand representatives and industry colleagues on the dangers our rivers face and encourage attendees to get involved. All drink proceeds will directly benefit American Rivers.
The multi-year partnership will roll out this year in three phases designed to spread awareness about the Wild and Scenic campaign and help fund additional measures American Rivers take to protect our waterways.
“We look forward to engaging our friends and consumers in conservation, empowering them with knowledge, and giving them a platform to get inspired and get involved,” said Gilligan. American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers campaign. Chums’ mantra is simple: provide fun, quality products to enjoy while at work or play.