For the Clark family, “family” means you’re in it together. This is not in a supposed, metaphorical or ideological sense, literally you are side by side in anything from a triathlon to a National Park vacation. Amidst Blue Ridge Relays and multi-sport family trips to Alaska, Hawaii, Yellowstone, and who knows where next, Kyle Clark has also been a full-time member of the Recover team since 2014. Whether working for Recover in the office or at an event, Kyle wears more hats than we can count. Upon hearing about Recover and its mission, she was “fully on board from day one.” At the spry age of 54, Kyle’s mom Lisa is hard to keep up with on any race course (Bill, Recover’s president can attest to this), but we were lucky enough to catch her and talk to this mother-daughter team about their perspective on the importance of Protect Our Parks to their family… and to all of us.
Lisa, how is it that none of us can keep up with you?
Haha, well I’ve always loved being outside. We have 2 children, Kyle and Bryan, who’s 23. I’ve been a women’s collegiate lacrosse official for 26 years (since Kyle was a baby), and I also played lacrosse and coached. I started swimming when I was 5 and I love triathlons. Now, we live on the lake in Hickory and swim, paddleboard, and kayak a lot. From the beginning, Kevin and I knew we didn’t want to sit and watch our kids play, we wanted to get out with the kids. Our philosophy for raising a family was “let’s do it,” not “let’s watch it.”
Kyle, how has the great outdoors been a part of your life from way back when until now?
My parents’ love of the outdoors has blended into my life from Day 1. They used to put my brother and me into backpacks for adventures, and my mom literally walked to the hospital when she had my brother. Every weekend was about what family hike we were going to do, and what new places we were going to explore. I always enjoyed that, and still do.
What are some of the races and events that you’ve done together?
Kyle: We’ve done a lot! The Blue Ridge Relay is a 200 mile, 24 hour road running race from Virginia down to Asheville that we raced on a team of 12 women. We’ve also run the Charlotte Marathon, the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and this will be our third year competing in the Lake Lure Olympiad with my Dad and Bryan... fun stuff like that. The team aspect of being a family is the best.
What’s your favorite National Park?
Kyle: Yellowstone... or Yosemite where we went rock climbing, which was amazing. On our family vacations, each person usually gets to pick an activity- a day whitewater rafting or horseback riding. My brother likes going faster, so he’s picked an ATV day. We found out about a company called Backroads and did our first Backroads trip in Alaska. It was amazing- road biking, hiking a glacier, and sea kayaking, it really catered to our love of being outside. The parks have really provided the biggest value in our lives. Being together as a family in the parks has made us stronger, happier and healthier.
Lisa: Glacier National Park, Lake Louise in Banff...
Why are National Parks and public spaces important to the Clarks?
Lisa: National Parks help you appreciate the beauty of this earth. None of us should take it for granted and in working to preserve it, we have the opportunity to get out there deeper and discover that’s what we need. Also, my husband Kevin was always really big on the natural classroom of the outdoors. My kids ask questions like, “Why is the moss on this side of the rock and not this side?” It was always a science education out there.
Being outside and having the beauty around you, these parks are for people stuck in city life. There’s so much right there that you might not know about. Only one hour from Hickory in New River State Park we just went for a very hilly bike ride over the weekend and we’d never seen that area before- we couldn’t believe it. With every uphill, you’re thinking, What are we going to see at the top? And then, Oh my gosh, this is beautiful. Gorgeous scenery, and we simply really need to encourage people to get out there and enjoy it.
Kyle: With all of the hiking our family has done for our whole lives, if the National Parks weren’t there, I literally don’t know what we would have done growing up or what we would do now. The National Parks are not only key to our family from a lifestyle perspective, our family time and happiness is directly connected with National Parks and the opportunity to be out there.
What piece of Recover gear can you not live without?
Kyle: I literally use my BikeTube Backpack everyday. It’s my gym bag, my suitcase when I travel… I just took it to a bachelorette party weekend. I try to run, bike or swim every day, and the Women’s Sport V-Neck is my go-to shirt for all of those.
Lisa: The Sport Tee. We order them for our cross country team, and I wear one every day either working out or after work. The wicking sets them apart. My absolute favorite is my Recover sweatshirt. It’s so comfortable. I love the sweatshirt and that the company is promoting recycling and having a positive impact.
What are some of your favorite things to do around Charlotte?
Kyle and Lisa (in unison): The Whitewater Center- we go there a lot.
Lisa: We love the Whitewater Races, and that out at the Whitewater Center we get to run on trails.
Kyle: And in Charlotte, there are so many greenways and parks. From the Recover office, I can take our shop dog Zuzu out running or walking right in the city.
Lisa: Recover as a company is such a great way to spread the message about sustaining and preserving. We can all make those choices for products that are doing good things; protecting our parks and sustainable apparel go hand in hand with Recover.