John R. Dockendorf: Revolutionizing Outdoor Recreation and Adventure

John R. Dockendorf: Revolutionizing Outdoor Recreation and Adventure
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John R. Dockendorf, Principal at Dockendorf Consulting, is a trailblazer in the realm of outdoor recreation and adventure. With over 30 years of hands-on experience in various industries, including outdoor recreation, travel, hospitality, summer camps, and service, Dockendorf has pioneered ventures that significantly influenced the outdoor adventure sector.

A graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and a recipient of a master’s degree in management focusing on marketing and entrepreneurship, Dockendorf’s credentials speak volumes. Winning the esteemed John E. H. Sheiry Scholarship marked the beginning of an illustrious career that was set to revolutionize youth adventure travel and summer camps.

Dockendorf’s journey into the world of outdoor recreation began in 1993 when he founded Adventure Treks, a trailblazing adventure travel program for teenagers. For over 27 years, Dockendorf led Adventure Treks, maintaining the highest participant and staff repeat rate in the outdoor industry. His exceptional leadership led to Adventure Treks becoming one of the nation’s most reputable adventure travel programs, which he successfully sold, passing the torch  2019 to younger leadership, he had mentored and trained.

In 2011, Dockendorf, alongside his wife Jane, breathed new life into Camp Pinnacle, a once bankrupt and dilapidated legacy summer camp in western North Carolina. Within a decade, they transformed the camp through a $5M renovation, turning it from a forgotten site into a sought-after summer camp destination, boasting a waiting list that forms in November.  John and Jane won the NC Camp Industry Leadership Award in 2016. The successful revamp of Camp Pinnacle, which they sold to their partners in 2021, is a testament to Dockendorf’s knack for turning challenges into opportunities.

Dockendorf also purchased Bold Earth Adventures in 2018, moved it to North Carolina and quickly upgraded its leadership, operating systems, safety protocols and tour destinations. He sold Bold Earth to his employees in 2021.

As an expert in the ski, outdoor, summer camp, and travel industries, Dockendorf’s insight is invaluable. He authored a master’s thesis on differential pricing in the ski business, which three decades later, has become a topic of paramount importance. He currently works with a wide variety of clients from across the country.

Dockendorf’s influence extends beyond his business ventures. He has served his community in various capacities, including as an elected member of the Flat Rock, NC, Town Council and on several boards and committees. Notably, he was the Founding Board Chairman of the French Broad River Academy and an active board member of Conserving Carolina. These commitments underscore Dockendorf’s dedication to public service and conservation.

Today, Dockendorf resides in Hood River, Oregon, enjoying an early retirement filled with ski days and mountain bike rides. However, his passion for sharing his expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs in the outdoor, adventure, travel, and hospitality industries is unwavering. John R. Dockendorf continues to inspire and shape the future of outdoor recreation and adventure, setting a benchmark for others to follow.

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