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Looking Back on 20 Years of B.R.O.


The inaugural issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors, a quarterly insert in C-ville Weekly. BRO’s first editor John Blackburn uses the term “ecosports” in his letter from the editor

Nearly 100 mostly costumed runners toe the line for the first annual Blue Ridge Burn 10K in Charlottesville’s Walnut Creek Park

The first Lord of the Fork Race is held on the class V Russell Fork



BRO’s first motto makes its appearance on the cover: Spend your money on sports—we’re free

The first 7,600 acres of DuPont State Recreational Forest are purchased by the state of North Carolina



Canaan Valley’s White Grass Ski Touring Center is featured for the first time in the pages of BRO


BRO becomes a monthly

BRO publishes its first swimming hole issue


The region’s first 100-mile bike race launches: the Shenandoah Mountain 100

Professional mountain biker Sue Haywood becomes the first female mountain biker to be sponsored by West Virginia



The region’s first 24 hour mountain bike races launches: 24 Hours of Snowshoe

The Priest and Three Ridges are designated as wilderness

The Barefoot Sisters, Susan and Lucy Letcher, hike the A.T. barefoot; the next year, they turn around and thru-hike the A.T. southbound

North Carolina unanimously votes to invoke eminent domain to acquire Triple Falls,  thereby securing the final part of DuPont State Recreation Area


Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine opens its southern edition office in Asheville, N.C.

The hemlock woolly adelgid is first observed in the Smokies after already decimating hemlock populations in Shenandoah. The adelgid will go on to wipe out nearly all hemlocks in Appalachia

Bridge Day is cancelled for the first time due to post-9/11 security concerns

Big Sandy River in W.Va. is named one of the country’s most endangered rivers Report after a 250-million gallon chemical spill, 20 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill


Kristen Eddy becomes first woman to win an Iron-distance event overall, besting men and women at Odyssey Off-Road Iron Triathlon

BRO highlights naked adventures, including nude 5Ks and naked paddling events


Blue Ridge Outdoors names its first Southeastern Athletes of the Year. Among them are road cyclist George Hincapie, mountain biker Sue Haywood, paddler Chris Hipgrave, triathlete Allison Hardy, runner Keith Dowling, and ultrarunner Anne Riddle Lundblad.

BRO publishes its first Best of the Blue Ridge Awards

Will Harlan completes a 72-mile run of Appalachian Trail through the Smokies to raise awareness for air pollution. It plays an important role in North Carolina’s lawsuit against TVA coal-fired power plants, forcing 14 power plants to install pollution-control devices. Will Harlan later sets the unsupported record running the A.T. across the Smokies

Cave Dog sets the South Beyond 6,000 speed record

Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park bomber, is found hiding out in Nantahala National Forest

Congaree National Park becomes South Carolina’s first national park

Earthquakes rock the Blue Ridge near Richmond

Black Mountain Marathon and Mt. Mitchell Challenge


Lee Barry, 81, becomes the oldest person to thru-hike the A.T.

Blue Ridge Outdoors publishes its first (and only) April Fool’s edition

Bon Jovi sponsors elite West Virginia mountain biking team

BRO publishes “Old School,” one of its most popular stories, about grown-up Jay Hardwig returning to fifth grade P.E. class for the Presidential Fitness Test

Tour de Georgia attracts the world’s top cyclists to Brasstown Bald, including Lance Armstrong

Tennessee’s Buffalo Mountain becomes the South’s first major wind farm

Blake DeMaso becomes the new owner of BRO

Rick and Liz Weber purchase their first parcel of land in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and begin developing Muir Valley, a climbing area that is now home to over 400 different climbs


The 500th mountain is flattened, razed, and destroyed by mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia

Leanna Joyner hikes the A.T. in a red skirt; later, she becomes voice for the trail by working for Appalachian Trail Conservancy


BRO adopts “Go Outside and Play” motto

U.S. National Whitewater Center opens in Charlotte, N.C., one of only two artificial whitewater courses on the East Coast


BRO gives away a brand new Nissan vehicle loaded down with gear to a lucky reader


BRO publishes “In Search of Bigfoot,” which becomes our most popular story of the year

National Park Service makes it legal to carry weapons on trails

Double amputee Scott Rigsby completes Kona Ironman


BRO profiles The Last American Man—primitive living legend Eustace Conway, who is now featured in the History Channel’s Mountain Men series

Asheville’s Andrew Holcombe paddles the infamous class V stretch of the Green River Narrows in 4 minutes and 18 seconds, a Green Race record

Pisgah hosts the East’s first mountain bike stage race

Rapid Transit paddling videography crew releases The Eddy Feeling

BRO highlights the natural fitness movement, introduced by Erwan LeCorre, the world’s fittest man

Matt Kirk sets the unsupported speed records on both the Benton Mackaye Trail and the Bartram Trail

BRO owner Blake DeMaso launches a sister publication in Colorado called Elevation Outdoors

BRO partners up to host the first Festy Experience on Devils Backbone Brewing Company property in Roseland, Va.


BRO features stand-up paddleboarding on the cover for the first time.

Pat Keller notches the first descent of Linville Falls

Toby MacDermott, Will Lyons, Pat Keller, Dustin Marquart, Nate Elliott, Andrew Holcombe, and John Grace make a first descent of Upper Creek


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially declares the eastern mountain lion extinct

Jennifer Pharr Davis sets the fastest speed record for a supported thru-hike of the A.T. in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes

Roadside Crag closes in the Red River Gorge due to climber misuse


The Appalachian Trail celebrates its 75th anniversary

BRO contributing editor and gonzo paddler Chris Gragtmans notches first descents of 75-foot Desoto Falls and 90-foot Noccalula Falls. His exclusive feature for Blue Ridge Outdoors becomes the year’s second most popular story

The year’s most popular story is “The Greenest Man in the Mountains,” a tribute to an old-time Appalachian mountain man who lives more organically and close to the land than even the most dedicated eco-village hippies

The Red River Gorge Climbing Coalition successfully purchases the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve

YAMA Mountain Gear owner Gen Shimizu unicycles the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, covering 2,754 miles in 89 days with only one wheel


Jess Daddio’s “Mountain Lion Mystery” becomes one of BRO’s most popular stories of all-time

Columbus Georgia opens its Columbus Whitewater Park on the Chattahoochee River

The Southeast experiences the wettest summer season to date with some states receiving over 45 inches of rainfall. Kayakers are stoked

Matt Kirk sets record for unsupported thru-hike of the A.T. in 58 days, 9 hours, and 38 minutes

Chris Gragtmans’s and Ashley Woodring’s story “How to Date a Kayaker” becomes our most shared story ever

Joanna Swanson and Bart Houck become the first thru-hikers of the Great Eastern Trail

2,600 acres burn in the Linville Gorge

Richmond-based runner Zoë Romano becomes the first person to run the entire Tour de France route


Travel editor Jess Daddio launches her Live Outside and Play adventure

Over 130 acres burn at the Endless Wall climbing area in the New River Gorge

Canaan Valley resident John Logar wins the revered Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska

Bill Irwin, the first blind man to solo hike the A.T. (with his guide dog, Orient) in 1990, dies at age 73

Editor in chief Will Harlan publishes Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America, which highlights Southeastern conservation hero Carol Ruckdeschel and her fight to save Cumberland Island

Wilderness celebrates its 50th anniversary. Jess Daddio highlights wilderness in the September feature story, and BRO launches its Wilderness Hike Challenge, which has already attracted over 300 participants.

Asheville’s Natalie DeRatt earns a spot on the 2014-2015 USA Bobsled and Skeleton Team

Kentucky hosts its first ever 100 mile race, the Cloudsplitter Ultra, on the Pine Mountain Trail

The Holtwood Play Park opens in Pennsylvania, a win for Mid-Atlantic playboaters


BRO launches a college ambassador program and an athlete team

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