New Venture Outdoors executive director to move Kayak Pittsburgh hub |

New Venture Outdoors executive director to move Kayak Pittsburgh hub

Mary Ann Thomas
Valerie Beichner

Valerie Beichner, the new executive director of Venture Outdoors, said her to-do list includes moving the nonprofit’s Kayak Pittsburgh outfitter hub from beneath the Sixth Street Bridge on Pittsburgh’s North Shore to another location in 2020.

Beichner promises to keep a Kayak Pittsburgh location in the Pittsburgh navigational pool, or roughly in the area of the Point. The two other locations are in the Aspinwall Riverfront Park and North Park.

The Sixth Street Bridge, also known as the Roberto Clemente Bridge, is scheduled for an extensive renovation sometime after 2020, following the Ninth Street Bridge’s rehabilitation project that is underway.

Beichner believes that outdoor recreation makes for a better life. Formerly a smoker and physically passive, Beichner ramped up her life by quitting cigarettes and becoming a distance runner.

Beichner wants to increase outdoor event programs for older and younger residents, demographics that she said aren’t served as well as they could be.

“We will be offering not just water paddling events, but hikes, bicycling and other activities,” Beichner said. “It’s not always doing something extravagant but just walking through your urban environment can be just as enjoyable.”

Beichner previously served as executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, where she worked to protect and extend the Three Rivers Heritage Trail lacing the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers.

Beichner’s roles before that included serving as director of operations and analytics at Conservation Consultants Inc., vice president of development at the Green Building Alliance and on the staff at the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission.

Beichner, 37, of Leetsdale, has four children with her husband.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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