We built a boathouse. For Joe.
North Cascades Crew has built the first phase of the Joe Rantz Boathouse in honor of Joe Rantz, a member of the 1936 University of Washington eight-oared crew that won the Olympic gold medal and the central character in Daniel James Brown’s NY Times Bestseller, The Boys in the Boat.
The Joe Rantz Boathouse rests at the corner of Chapel Hill and South Davies. Throughout his life, Joe battled adversity but found deep inspiration and strength in his rowing team which helped shape the rest of his life. He was an avid outdoorsman and fell in love with nature. Interestingly, Joe, in his mid-70’s, single-handedly cut and hauled large cedar trees down a mountain demonstrating great strength. The individual fibers in cedar, coupled with their resilience, gave the wood the ability to bend, bounce back, yield, or accommodate a new shape. They were strong individually, and even more powerful weaved together. Joe believed these characteristics were personified in people as well.
The dream of this boathouse was made possible by a dedicated group of NCC members and volunteers who believed in this message; that we can create a place to connect with each other and with something bigger than ourselves.
After 6 long years, this boathouse was constructed entirely from volunteer efforts and donated funds. This effort is an avenue for broader community and environmental connection as well as education and sustainability. Surrounding the boathouse are native plants used to preserve the local ecosystem. Using native plants for landscaping have meaningful effects on the populations of birds and insects they need to survive. Additionally, the plants and rain barrels help prevent water from becoming runoff that carries pollutants from the road into Lake Stevens.
We envision the boathouse as a place for community connection through rowing while also providing space to learn about environmental sustainability, conservation and stewardship of nature and our surroundings. NCC seeks to strengthen the local community by also volunteering hours to maintain the local park where the Boathouse is located. Having a clean community space next to the lake creates a more meaningful community experience for everyone.
We welcome you to check out the Joe Rantz Boathouse located at Wyatt Park in Lake Stevens- 10508 Chapel Hill Rd Lake Stevens, WA 98258
If you would like to find out more about Joe and the rest of the 1936 Olympic Team: Check out Us Against the World: A Washington Rowing Legacy
Through generous donations and volunteer effort we have completed the first phase of our project. We are truly grateful for our generous donors and volunteer effort to date that have realized both the legacy and importance of this project.