The NRS Legacy

Bill Parks

Our Founder, Bill Parks

Established in 1972; 2000 Dollars, a Garage, and a Dream

In the early 70's Bill Parks had two passions: paddling and business.  So with $2000 in savings, he started NRS (Northwest River Supplies).  As well as an opportunity to provide fellow enthusiasts with products, this gave him the chance to prove his teaching wasn't just talk.   To learn more about Bill Park's story read on... 


I first fell in love with whitewater in the 1960's.  As a business teacher, it was a natural step to combine my passion for paddling with my "day job": I could test some of my ideas about small business in the real world and go boating at the same time.  In 1972, while on the faculty of the University of Oregon, I started NRS with an initial $2000 investment.  Thanks to lots of luck and some hard work, NRS (which soon relocated to Moscow, Idaho) grew into a thriving business. 

Today, we are still putting into practice my original, perhaps somewhat naive, belief that a business enterprise can provide purpose and enjoyment in our lives, rather than just a way of making money.  At NRS, our purpose is to treat you, the customer, in the way we like to be treated.  In many ways the company feels to us like a family, and we hope that you, too, get a bit of this feeling when doing business with us.

I've always been a budget boater, and NRS was founded to provide quality equipment without wiping out the wallet.  We haven't lost that edge, although some people sometimes ask why we don't charge more for our products.  The answer is simple: we didn't get into this business to get rich or to satisfy investors -- we're here because we love running rivers.  You'll find our best efforts in your local paddling shop as well as in this catalog*.

See you on the water!
Bill Parks

*If your paddling shop doesn't carry our products, please ask them to consider us -- or let us know, and we will send them information about NRS.   

I really enjoyed the video tour of NRS on the newsletter. I had no idea NRS was so big! We thought it was a much smaller company mainly because of your customer service, which is better than any other company in any business I can think of! Your orders are shipped quickly, your return & repair policies are exceptional, and most of all your people on the phones. When you call NRS you talk to a person and not a machine. If you place an order on line, and there's a back order or hold up of some kind, your people will call on the telephone to let us now about the hold up. I've never experienced that with any company! My wife and I are in our late 50's and we started sea kayaking four years ago here in Wisconsin and on Lake Superior. Over the years we've probably bought the majority of our equipment from NRS. We have enjoyed your products, especially products manufactured by NRS or having the NRS label.

Thanks Bill and thanks to the NRS STAFF!
Paul Lueders