Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Press Releases

River Sports Outfitters and Ijams Nature Center

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

River Sports Outfitters and the Ijams Nature Center of Knoxville have partnered to provide boaters and bikers easy access to a 275-acre restored natural area on the Tennessee River, just a 5-minute drive from downtown.

Beginning April 2, River Sports Outfitters will provide boats and bikes for rent every weekend through the fall, enabling people to explore a 25-acre lake as well as the woodlands of Ijams Nature Center, which has provided environmental education for more than a century.

“River Sports is excited to partner with Ijams to provide outdoor recreation for its members and the general public,” said Ed McAlister, owner of River Sports Outfitters.

The boat and bike rental operation will give Knoxville residents more options to explore the Nature Center’s vast Wildlife Sanctuary and the neighboring 100-acre Ross Marble Quarry, which opened in November, 2010. From 1881 to the 1940s, the quarry supplied Tennessee Marble to such structures as the Washington Monument. Since 2007, the site has been restored to include multi-use trails that traverse undisturbed woods, rock outcrops and the quarry gorge.

“The corridor being developed adjacent to Ijams provides the perfect opportunity for multiple activities including biking, boating, trail running and walking,” said McAlister.

With the new River Sports rental program, visitors to Ijams will be able to combine environmental education with a bike ride or paddling excursion.

“With recent expansion and the opening of the Ross Marble Natural Area with multi-use trails for hikers and mountain bikers, Ijams is now a 275-acre wildlife sanctuary and environmental learning center,” said Mary Thom Adams, development officer for Ijams. “We’re providing community-wide connections and experiences through education, conservation, recreation and responsible environmental stewardship for all people.”


About River Sports Outfitters (

For more than 25 years, River Sports Outfitters has operated as an independent outdoor specialty store in Knoxville, Tenn. Owner Ed McAlister and the expert staff at River Sports Outfitters provide outdoor enthusiasts of Knoxville with the highest quality equipment for camping, rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, road biking, mountain biking and trail running. River Sports Outfitters operates a state-of-the-art climbing facility at its Sutherland Avenue store and also offers bike, boat and equipment rentals at three locations in Knoxville. River Sports is also a leading online seller of outdoor equipment, and has developed the social networking site to bring together the Knoxville outdoor community to discuss products, trails and events.

About Ijams Nature Center (

2011 marks the 101st anniversary of the Ijams Family Legacy. H.P. and Alice Ijams truly were visionaries when they purchased 20-acres of undeveloped property in on the banks of the Tennessee River just three miles from downtown Knoxville. Over the years, the Ijams family, with a deep philosophy of education and conservation, developed the land into a natural showplace known as the Bird Sanctuary and spearheaded Knoxville ‘s enduring ornithological, Girl Scouts, and Garden Club movements through their passion for birds, outdoor experiences and horticulture. Ijams Nature Center is now a 275-acre wildlife sanctuary and environmental learning center.

River Sports Outfitters
2918 Sutherland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37919
Phone: (865) 523-006 Fax: (865) 525-6921