Alaska Small Business Development Center


Making the Outdoor Alaskan Experience more accessible to everyone, with everything you need for the perfect paddlesports adventure!

Nestled within the magnificent Nancy Lake State Park in Willow, Alaska, Tippecanoe has been a thriving business for more than three decades. Throughout its rich history, this beloved establishment has empowered numerous individuals to immerse themselves in the breathtaking natural wonders of the surrounding area.

Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet
Nicole Thomson, Owner of Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet Housing

Tippecanoe serves as a gateway to unparalleled adventures, and after years of renting canoes from Tippecanoe herself, Nicole Thomson couldn’t resist taking it over when the opportunity presented itself.

The thought of owning a business had always intrigued her and she couldn’t think of a better way to do so, than by sharing her love for the outdoors with others.

Nicole quickly became aware that the process to purchase a small business can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to planning and finances. This is where she learned that resources are available to make the process smoother.

Nicole reached out to the Alaska SBDC and connected with Center Director and Business Advisor, Trisha Sims. “Her expertise in business planning and financial planning was invaluable in helping me get my business up and running. She provided me with tools to make the planning process easier and, more importantly, a list of potential small business lenders.

With her help, the journey to starting my own business was not as overwhelming as I had imagined. I’m grateful for her guidance and would highly recommend her services to anyone looking to start their own business.”

Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet
Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet Housing

Nicole is thrilled to now be able to help people create unforgettable memories on the water. “I look forward to the challenges and rewards that come with running a business, and most of all, I can’t wait to see the joy on people’s faces as they embark on their own paddle sport adventure.”

Tippecanoe sets itself apart from other canoe rentals by offering online reservations and a variety of adventure options, including offering fishing gear. With various adventures to choose from, including the Red Shirt Lake adventure that requires a 3-mile hike to a remote lake, and the Lynx Lake Loop Canoe Trail that spans 14 lakes with well-marked portage sites, Tippecanoe is perfect for those seeking a unique outdoor experience.

Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet
Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet Housing

Nicole plans to soon offer canoe classes by a fully certified instructor. Her team will be attending the American Canoe Association – Canoe Instructor class in Fairbanks. This will help the team provide the best possible instruction.

Nicole’s ambitions don’t stop there. In the future, she envisions offering guided canoe and camping trips. She’s also excited to introduce new sit-on-top kayaks capable of holding up to 300 lbs, catering to a wider range of adventurers. And let’s not forget about stand-up paddle boards, which will add even more fun and variety to the mix.

While Nicole has big dreams for the future, she understands the importance of taking things one step at a time, especially during her first year as a new business owner. She and her team are committed to learning the ins and outs of operating, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for every customer.

Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet
Tippecanoe, photo by Cook Inlet Housing

At Tippecanoe, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re seeking a quick day trip to unwind or a thrilling weekend adventure. The possibilities are endless, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you even have the option to create your own unique journey.

So get ready to embark on unforgettable experiences with Nicole and her team at Tippecanoe!

To learn more about Tippecanoe and pick your adventure, check out their website at or over on Facebook and Instagram.