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Helena Kotala Nominated for award: SMA Mountain Biking Camp

Posted by Jud Millar on Sun, Oct 30, 2016

Local resident Helena Kotala has been nominated as Adventurer of the Year in Blue Ridge Outdoors (BRO) Magazine due to her several interests and accomplishments in outdoor activities.


“BRO has covered our area in the past, so we’ve caught their attention,” said Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau marketing director Ed Stoddard. “Helena has done a lot with the skills park and trails, guiding for Rothrock Outfitters, paddle boarding and has traveled to many different places. "

“Founded in 1995, BRO Magazine is the largest free, regional outdoor lifestyle publication in the mid-Atlantic and southeast with a readership of 358,000 monthly readers,” said publisher Leah Woody. “Each month, we bring fresh and exciting content about outdoor recreation and adventure travel, as well as reader polls such as our annual Best of the Blue Ridge Contest.”

BRO Magazine has featured the Raystown Lake region in the past, including the Allegrippis Trails and Mountain Bike Skills Park in a June 28 article, “Ten Lakeside Mountain Bike Loops Not to Miss This Summer,” written by Jason Frye earlier this year. The same author also wrote an article, “Seven Boat-in Campsites to Check Out This Paddling Season,” featuring Nancy’s Boat to Shore Camp. Both of these recent articles encompass a lot of Kotala’s interests and involvement with the outdoor culture of the area.

“I am a very avid outdoor enthusiast. I mountain bike, trail hike, camp, paddleboard, anything that’s human powered in the outdoors,” said Kotala. “I make it a point every day to get outside regardless of the weather or what’s going on. It’s very important to keep me sane and happy. I really like to write for a personal blog, and I write for I’m somewhat well known in the area as a resource for information and inspiration about getting out and enjoying nature, so that’s why I think I was nominated.”

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Kotala explained that her passion in the outdoors has stemmed from far back in her personal history.

“I’ve basically been into the outdoors my whole life. My parents really instilled in me the value of getting outside and being in nature, so as a kid I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I got out of it a little bit in my teen years, but, in college, I rekindled my love for outdoor adventure and since then it’s only grown every year.”

She is well known due to her consistent involvement, as well as unique traditions. 

“This summer I participated in my first mountain bike race in West Virginia, and I ended up winning my class. Evan (Gross, president of the Raystown Mountain Biking Association) and I have a tradition of riding (over 200 miles) to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving on our tandem bike without stopping or spending the night anywhere.”

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In addition to this, Kotala has recently branched out to add several other accomplishments to her repertoire.

“This past summer, I traveled to a bunch of different places to go biking. Before this year, I hadn’t traveled a whole lot, but this summer I went to North Carolina, Georgia, Interbike in Las Vegas and I did riding out there. I also really enjoy taking small groups of people out and acting as a guide for both mountain biking and river expeditions. I’ve taught stand up paddle-boarding lessons for the past few summers.”

With over 350,000 readers and a coverage area spanning from Georgia to central Pennsylvania, recognition in BRO Magazine would certainly be significant.

To vote for Kotala as Adventurer of the Year, visit

Official voting ends at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31. The winners will be featured in the January issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.


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