Tag Archives: river rafting

Western River Expeditions Advises Booking Well Ahead for Epic Canyon Rafting Trips

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – If an epic river rafting adventure is in your future, Western River Expeditions says don’t delay making reservations for trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and in Utah’s Cataract Canyon.
 
Here are a few good reasons why to act now:
 
Tight controls on inventory through commercial permits make these areas available only to a limited few every year. While Western River Expeditions escorts more people down the Colorado River on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah and Arizona than any other rafting operator in the country, Western River, as well as other commercial tour operators, has to abide by the limits set by government-issued permits. These coveted seats are being snapped up quicker than ever before by an unprecedented surge of demand following months of COVID lockdown, record-breaking heat waves that beg for water-based recreation, and an exploding demand to visit America’s national parks.

As a result, Western River Expeditions has filled all Grand Canyon slots for 2021. Many departures for 2022 are sold out and others are very close to selling out. If you’re looking to raft the Grand Canyon in 2022, Western recommends checking availability online now for the Grand Canyon 3 & 4-Day Expeditions at https://www.westernriver.com. The company also suggests looking at Cataract Canyon, just upstream from Grand Canyon.

“While Cataract Canyon doesn’t carry the same name recognition as Grand Canyon, the scenery and whitewater along this section of the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park are absolutely stunning,” says Brandon Lake, CMO for Western River Expeditions. “Guests can often find some availability on a Cataract Canyon expedition when Grand Canyon may be sold out.”

If a 2022 trip is not in the cards, mark your calendar for 2023! Western River Expeditions’ Grand Canyon trips for 2023 go on sale (tentatively) on Nov. 30, 2021. Cataract Canyon itineraries, which are more impacted by spring runoff than the dam-controlled flow through the Grand Canyon, are in demand for the high-water trips of May and June 2022. See dates and availability at https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-rafting.

For 2023 in the Grand Canyon, these options exist:

Even though hearts may be set on the longer 6 and 7-day options, itineraries of 3 and 4 days are easier to come by. These shorter trips are more popular with families with young teens and first-time canyon rafters. Space is still available for these trips for April-September 2022.

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2021/2022 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October the operator escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past seventeen consecutive years (2004-2020).

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Holiday River Expeditions Invites Adventurers Back to the River In Their Own Private Travel Pod

To take any lingering fears away from being out and about in Nature with family and friends together, Holiday River Expeditions has retooled its offerings by encouraging “pod” travel, or teaming up with a small group of friends and family who share pandemic protocol wave lengths.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – “Take me to the river” takes on whole new meaning this season as the lock-down weary seek Houdini-like strategies to free themselves from the shackles of the pandemic’s captivity.
 
Holiday River Expeditions for over 50 years has been freeing people’s souls on river rafting adventures and they hope that in 2021 the same opportunities abound.
 
To take any lingering fears away from being out and about in Nature with family and friends together, this trail-blazing company has retooled its offerings. Primarily, they have made it easier to travel in confidence by encouraging “pod” travel, or teaming up with a small group of friends and family who share pandemic protocol wave lengths.
 
When Holiday River Expeditions began running its 2020 trips it was quickly evident that adjustments needed to be made for guests to feel more secure joining a trip. One of those adjustments was allowing for and encouraging smaller, private trips. On most trips the company has lowered its required minimums in order to schedule an exclusive group trip. The smaller group minimums have allowed guests to travel with just their family members, or close friends with whom they’ve already created a pod or travel bubble.
 
The new 12-person minimum for private rafting charters in 2021 apply to:

Holiday River Expeditions has also changed minimum requirements for its mountain biking itineraries to just 8 people for a small group, private charter backcountry trip. This applies to: 

Considered by enthusiasts to be Utah’s ultimate multi-day mountain bike trip, The Maze, deep inside Canyonlands National Park, is naturally a small group trip with a maximum capacity of just 7 guests.  Private charters can be arranged on two available dates; May 18-21 and September 7-10, 2021.
 
For more details, please see https://www.bikeraft.com/what-your-2021-trip-will-look-like-2/ and https://www.bikeraft.com/custom-charter-trips/.
 
Other Covid related adjustments and protocols the company has adopted and will carry into 2021 include: 

  • a 4 to 1 guest to guide ratio (to increase social distancing while in a raft),
  • decreased capacity in vehicle transportation with masks required,
  • a mandatory “Statement of Good Health” a week before departure,
  • temperatures taken at meeting point,
  • meal service change from buffet to served, with guides wearing masks and gloves during preparation and service,
  • always-available sanitizer,
  • additional PSA’s to create a “culture of care” that addresses comfort zones. 

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2021 catalog call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/.
 
Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, so uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

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With Reopening of Arches National Park, Moab Adventure Center Counts on Nature to Restore the Pandemic Weary

With the reopening of Arches National Park, Moab Adventure Center suggests three guided tours to nudge the housebound into the outdoors. The company is also armed with newly instituted COVID-19 mitigation and operations protocols.

MOAB, UT– Arches National Park in the world’s favorite red rock playground of Moab, Utah, has reopened to visitors. Guided tours of this iconic park have resumed, along with a variety of half-day, full-day and overnight river rafting programs along the Colorado River.

“The benefits of getting into nature for a few days are just what the doctor ordered – especially now,” said Cort Wright, Manager of the Moab Adventure Center, which operates programs into Arches National Park, Utah, and on the Colorado River. “As depression and anxiety diminish, our renewed vitality gains a foothold and positive attitudes surface. It will be a joy for us this summer and fall to see our guests transformed by the activities we provide.”
 
According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, “being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.” (For the full report see: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing.)

Moab Adventure Center, a full-service resource for the adventure-minded, suggests three guided tours of Arches National Park to nudge the housebound into the outdoors. The company is also armed with newly instituted COVID-19 mitigation and operations protocols (see: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/covid-19 

Guided Tours of Arches National Park: Daily morning and sunset tours of Arches National Park help interpret the 150 million years of geology and nature that have created this masterpiece of more than 2,000 arches – the highest concentration on the planet. Tour rates are $89 for adults and $79 for ages 5 to 12. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-tours
 
A third tour offers a breathtaking aerial tour of the park. Departing mid-morning, the half-hour flyover views formations such as Courthouse Towers, North and South Window Arches, Delicate Arch, Devil’s Garden, the Colorado River, Fisher Towers, and Castle Valley. Youth two and under fly free on a parent’s lap. Tour rates are $109 for adults and $55 for youth 3 to 12. For details see: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-air-tours
 
Colorado River Tours: Full and half-day rafting adventures on the Colorado River along the southern border of Arches National Park can also be arranged through the Moab Adventure Center. A half-day morning tour showcases the mild to moderate rapids under a background of red rock cliffs, spires and buttes. Rates are $74 for adults and $64 for ages 5 to 12. Another half-day option comes with a BBQ lunch. Rates are $89 for adults and $79 ages 5 to 12. A full day on the river, with lunch, is a memorable seven-hour excursion. Rates are $109 for adults and $79 for age 5 to 12. (For details see: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-tours.)
 
As of May 1, 2020, the Southeast Utah Health Department authorized a phased reopening of businesses in and around Moab. Lodging, commercial campgrounds, restaurants and activities are now available and operating within recommended guidelines. The town is seeing quite an influx of visitors as so many now are choosing an outdoor vacation as the best escape with loved ones.
 
Moab Adventure Center is offering most of its regularly scheduled activities along with new private tours (www.moabadventurecenter.com/private-tours). These include exclusive Hummer Safari outings for up to nine people; private canyoneering adventures; exclusive Arches National Park morning tours; private stand-up paddle boarding lessons for up to six people; and private Moab rock climbing outings for up to four people.
 
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.

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Western River Expeditions’ New 9-Day Multi-Sport Costa Rica Adventure Allows for Customization

Western’s nine-day/eight-night Costa Rica Vacation Package includes conquering the rapids of the legendary Pacuare River, rated one of the most beautiful in the world.
Western’s nine-day/eight-night Costa Rica Vacation Package includes conquering the rapids of the legendary Pacuare River, rated one of the most beautiful in the world.

SALT LAKE CITY – Veteran outfitter Western River Expeditions is inviting travelers to tweak the company’s recently launched 9-day multi-sport Costa Rica adventure to create their own personalized experience. This trip is offered year-round with ultimate flexibility in scheduling for a minimum of two participants who choose their own date of trip departure based on availability. The per person (double) rate is from $3,295 (minimum age 12). See: www.westernriver.com/costa-rica-vacation-package.

For starters, guests may choose to shorten or lengthen their core trip with final price adjusted accordingly. They can add activities and regions of specific interest to them or skip some parts of the suggested itinerary. For example, if they’re escaping a stateside winter, they may want to add beach time or sport fishing and surf lessons while on the Pacific Coast in Manuel Antonio National Park that like most of Costa Rica enjoys a warm and dry climate in the winter months. Or while rafting the Pacuare River they may want to visit to the Cabecar Indian village enroute for an immersion into native culture. Other add-on options might include biking and hiking around Arenal Volcano or a trip to Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast to get up close and personal with Green, leatherback, and Hawksbill sea turtles that nest on the beaches here.

Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) for over 50 years has helped people overcome fears when it comes to rafting on rivers. It introduced its Costa Rica program earlier in 2016 to deliver the most highly curated experience possible and at the same time to help alleviate the stress and anxiety of planning foreign travel.

Why Costa Rica?

“Costa Rica is a natural, with the added excitement of volcanoes, hot springs and beaches,” said Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions. “This customizable itinerary is perfect for first-time visitors or anyone new to foreign travel. We offer as much ‘hand holding’ as needed at the front end of the trip while adopting a more on-your-own approach as participants become more comfortable with their surroundings.”

Western’s nine-day/eight-night Costa Rica Vacation Package includes conquering the rapids of the legendary Pacuare River, rated one of the most beautiful in the world. This river slices from Costa Rica’s interior to the Caribbean, enroute creating some of Costa Rica’s most exciting rapids flanked by pristine rainforest. Guests stay for two nights at Pacuare Lodge, rated one of the top jungle eco lodges anywhere. An off-river day explores waterfalls and a zip line adventure above a tropical rainforest canopy. The rafting continues downriver to the takeout where a minibus awaits for the trip to Arenal Volcano and a buffet dinner on the open air terrace at Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort.

Between time spent splashing in thermally heated pools at the base of the towering volcano, Arenal participants enjoy a rainforest adventure focused on monkeys, iguanas, sloths and birds from the perspective of 15 hanging suspension bridges over which guests experience the forest from the ground (like a Jaguar), from the middle (like a Monkey) and from the treetops (like an Eagle). Later comes a scenic drive that ends at Manuel Antonio, a village on the Pacific Ocean.

Spread over a forested ridge overlooking the Pacific with unforgettable coastal views, the area’s postcard-perfect beaches include Playa Manuel Antonio, a crescent of ivory sand between the rainforest and calm waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Nearby Playa Espadilla is a long beach lined with coconut palms and Indian almond trees. While here guests enjoy a 2.5-hour nature walk and sunning on the beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, named one of the world’s most beautiful national parks by Forbes.

The rate includes eight nights and breakfasts at four stellar properties; three lunches and three dinners; transfers to and from San Jose airport, hotels and activity sites; rafting; zip lining; soaking in the thermal waterfalls and pools of T Tabacón; guided walks and a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park to see sloths and numerous species of monkeys.

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2017 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit the newly enhanced website at www.westernriver.com.

 

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Holiday River Expeditions Celebrates 50 Years by Honoring Late Founder’s Legacy

Holiday River Expeditions is marking its 50th anniversary by honoring the legacy of founder Dee Holladay.
Holiday River Expeditions is marking its 50th anniversary by honoring the legacy of founder Dee Holladay.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT– The late Dee Holladay was an adventurer, entrepreneur, family man and rafting visionary. The company he founded in 1966 with his wife Sue, Holiday River Expeditions, has stood the test of time and in 2016 will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Observances surrounding this milestone year will include reunion weekends and commemorative t-shirts but the main focus will be to honor Dee Holladay’s legacy as a rafting pioneer and staunch environmentalist who helped shape today’s river rafting industry.

Holladay died of natural causes on Father’s Day, June 21, 2015, surrounded by family at the age 78. Today his children and grandchildren remain committed to his vision and principles and look to guide the company into the future.

Holladay-SueMember of the River Runners Hall of Fame, Holladay was a fourth-generation Utahn whose ancestor John Daniel Holladay was the founder of the city (southeast of Salt Lake City) that still bears the family name. A visionary for western river preservation and resource education, Dee was also an inspirational river guide for scores of people, young and old. “His pulpit was an inflatable raft and his voice was quiet and smooth, yet his stories commanded the attention of tens of thousands of people from every walk of life, whether it was on one of his trips for Holiday River Expeditions, or in his relaxing backyard,” shared Utah Rivers Council.

“Dee and his guides formed a magneto of positive energy that if you loved being outside and had any appreciation at all for wild and free things you just couldn’t resist being near it. By his presence and aura, Dee quite simply changed more lives than anyone I have ever known,” said son-in-law John Wood, Co-Owner and President of Holiday River Expeditions.

Wood believes, as did Holladay, that “to effect change, find a release and experience renewal, you must choose to do things differently. Holiday River Expeditions is different.”  When other river outfitters found that adding motors to rafts would increase guest capacity and enable more trips, shorter in duration, Holiday River Expeditions has remained committed to only using muscle-powered oar boats, paddle rafts and inflatable kayaks.

Holladay believed that without the speed and noise of motors, the smaller human-powered rafts bring guests close enough to the experience to become a part of it. He also made sure his rafts and gear were custom-designed, made with comfort and safety in mind.

Maintaining the family connection that includes long-term staff, and the selection and training of exceptional guides who enhance the guest’s understanding but don’t get in the way of nature and the raw experience are top priorities for the future according to John Wood.  To sustain this integrity, Holiday plans not to expand, but rather focus inwards, investing in the quality of their operations.

“Dee went beyond just conservation and preservation. He got to the heart of the interconnection of all things and rivers,” said Lauren Wood, Holladay’s granddaughter. This is the legacy that Holiday River Expeditions hopes to honor and continue. Holladay’s concerns were always twofold: People should be safe while having fun on the river; and their presence in the natural world would not be a deterrent if they understood how special wilderness is.

River Runners Hall of Fame director Tim Glenn said Holladay earned the honor for pioneering “many whitewater safety techniques, camping techniques (he introduced fire pans and portable toilets to his programs) and wilderness ethics adopted in management plans by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.” As an innovator, many of his raft designs are still used today.

As the company enters its 50th year a number of observances are being planned. One activity is a River Guides Rendezvous that will bring past and present Holiday boatmen and guides onto the Green River for a weekend reunion that includes fun competitions and storytelling. Also, repeat guests who travel with the company in 2016 will receive a custom-designed anniversary T-shirt. Items will also be available for purchase through Holiday’s online store.

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2016 catalog call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log on www.bikeraft.com.

 

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Western River Expeditions: Top Questions Families Should Ask When Considering a Raft Trip

In answer to the question “Is a raft trip right for me and the family?” Western River Expeditions says, "If you’ve been eager to get the kids away from an over-civilized world and all its technology and overload, river rafting is a great place to start (hint – no Internet or cell service!)."
In answer to the question “Is a raft trip right for me and the family?” Western River Expeditions says, “If you’ve been eager to get the kids away from an over-civilized world and all its technology and overload, river rafting is a great place to start (hint – no Internet or cell service!).”

Salt Lake City–Rafting pioneer Western River Expeditions advises on the key questions families should ask before embarking on a river rafting vacation.

“In our 50-plus years of operation, Western River Expeditions has created heirloom memories for literally thousands of families,” said Brian Merrill, CEO. “We’re always learning new things about how to engage parents and children both ashore and on the river.  And we love it when families take the time to ask us questions before they make reservations for a rafting adventure.”

Merrill and his staff have heard it all from first time river runners, from “will there be flush toilets and room service?” to “I can’t swim, but can I still go?” But they also appreciate that no question is too silly or inappropriate.

Here are the questions they suggest anyone considering a raft trip should ask:

First, “Is a raft trip right for me and the family?” If you’ve been eager to get the kids away from an over-civilized world and all its technology and overload, river rafting is a great place to start (hint – no Internet or cell service!).

“How young can children be?” This question is river-dependent. If the river is relatively tranquil in post-spring runoff, with most rapids being Class III or lower, children as young as five can often be accommodated with Coast Guard-approved age-appropriate life jackets.

“How old can Grandma and Grandpa be?” This is truly more a question of physical ability over age. Western River Expeditions has taken 85-year-olds down the river who can get on and off the boat and hike better than a 60-year-old. Discuss your physical level with your outfitter to help you make the best choice. Note that Western River Expeditions does offer an interesting option for the older crowd. On Grand Canyon trips, Western uses a patented boat called the “J-Rig.” This 37-foot motorized craft offers quite a bit more flexibility in seating and comfort than traditional rafts and can be a great way for Grandma and Grandpa to join a trip.

“Is it mandatory to know how to swim?” Non-swimmers are welcomed on most all river trips. Coast Guard-approved life vests (PFDs – personal floatation devices) are mandatory as well as a safety talk prior to departure. Non-swimmers, however, should have a heart-to-heart chat with their potential tour company before making a reservation for a rafting trip with larger whitewater.

Bottom line: “Is rafting dangerous?” The element of risk (and thrill) that comes with running the rapids is why river rafting is so popular. But there’s perceived risk and then there’s real risk. That’s where professional river guides come in. They are extensively trained to minimize and manage risks. But there’s not much even your guides can do about your sunburn if you forget to put on sunscreen, or if you’re a klutz getting in and out of the boat!

Once you’ve put the above questions to bed, then ponder:

“How many hours will your gang want to spend on the river each day?”  Some itineraries involve less time on water, more time at camp and exploring trails. But please come with a flexible attitude. The speed of the flow, location of campsites and how long lunch and day hikes take influence the amount of time floating, swimming and paddling on the water each day.

“What if I’m nervous about whitewater?” Think options. There are rafting trips on calm water and trips with world-class whitewater. The type of boat you’re in also dictates the adventure. You can choose to paddle your own craft (most adventurous), ride in boat with a guide at the oars or with Western, ride atop a patented “J-Rig,” a large, motorized boat with seating up front for the more gung-ho or aft for more protection.

“In camp, how much ‘roughing it’ is there?” Guests sleep each night in a wilderness setting on the river, in a tent or out in the open under the stars (your choice). Your biggest responsibility will be pitching your tent. The guides take care of setting up the loo, food prep and clean up. Camping is usually deluxe, comfortable and easy. Meals are often better than what you have at home.

“What do little ones do at camp?” Think nature-oriented games and special hours for dining for youngsters, supervised by staff trained to work with children. There is truly never enough time for all that both kids and teens want to experience on the river.

When you are ready to make a reservation, let the company know the ages and experience levels of participants.  The company will guide you.

For first timers and young families with ages five to 12, Western River Expeditions recommends a five-day trip on Utah’s Green River or Idaho’s Lower Salmon.

For families with children ages nine and up, a three-day trip through the Grand Canyon may be the right fit.

Those with children 12 and up have the widest range of options to choose from including Utah’s Cataract Canyon and a full six day trip in the Grand Canyon.

Chances are other families will be on these trips and the children have fun interacting and making new friends.

For a copy of the 2015 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

For a copy of the 2015 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

 

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Rafting Pioneer George Wendt Working to Save Grand Canyon from Proposed Development Projects

George Wendt and Martin Litton are trying to stop two development projects which they say threaten  aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.
George Wendt and Martin Litton are trying to stop two development projects which they say threaten aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.

George Wendt, founder and owner of river rafting company, O.A.R.S. has thrown down the gauntlet against developers who, he says, would threaten aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.

At issue is the proposed Tusayan development that would add 2,200 homes and collateral services and amenities less than two miles from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.

And in another section of the Canyon, Wendt hopes that sufficient forces can be brought to bear against the creation of a gondola designed to transport upwards of 4,000 tourists daily from the rim to the river. This is known as the Grand Canyon Escalade project.

The National Park Service has already expressed serious concerns about the environmental impact these projects could have on the Grand Canyon.

“These two very real development projects are threatening to impact the canyon in a big way. Anyone who has intimately experienced the canyon’s amazing tranquility, or hopes to someday, should be very concerned,” Wendt warns. “We have definite feelings that both would be harmful to the long-term integrity of the Grand Canyon.”

The Tusayan development planned for the area just south of the main South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park would have many impacts, he believes. Companies who do business in this region and most visitors have expressed that the area is already almost full to capacity much of the year and that crowding in more people would negatively impact the experience of those who are presently coming to the canyon.

“More significantly, however, we share the feeling of the National Park System that there is not enough water in the Tusayan area to support further development without tapping into deep wells that almost certainly would divert water from the limited number of natural springs that feed the eco system of the Colorado River and its surrounding side canyons. For this reason, we are opposed to the major development presently contemplated for the Tusayan area,” Wendt continues.

The Escalade project would bring people down into the Canyon to river level at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River, he explains. “The construction of the gondola close to river level would be very impactful from a visual and wilderness perspective. Although the operators probably would try to prevent people from leaving the gondola terminus to go hiking, we worry that almost invariably the new access would lead to multiple additional impacts from hikers who found it irresistible to try to use this easy access point for extended hiking excursions into the fragile area. Native American groups consider the Little Colorado Confluence area sacred and they likely will also have strong concerns about the potential impact from a gondola into the Grand Canyon.”

“Buried within the Tusayan and tramway proposals is the belief that a tiny circle of entrepreneurs has the right to profit at the expense of everyone else by destroying a piece of the commonwealth — a landscape that is the birthright and the responsibility of every American,” wrote Kevin Fedarko in an Aug. 9, 2014, op-ed piece for the New York Times. (Fedarko is the author of The Emerald Mile, a riveting story about a legendary river run through the Grand Canyon.)

A contributor to O.A.R.S.’ legacy of wilderness preservation is Martin Litton whose Grand Canyon Dories company Wendt acquired in 1988. Litton at age 97 is a legendary environmental crusader who is largely credited for his success in defending the Grand Canyon from two proposed dams in the 1960’s.

Championing the rights of rivers is nothing new to Wendt, founder and owner of what may be the world’s best-known river rafting company, O.A.R.S. Over its 45-year history, O.A.R.S., one of the world’s best known river companies, has contributed more than $3 million toward the preservation of the environment and to conservation initiatives worldwide.

Wendt, an activist like Litton, has also joined various battles throughout the years to protect natural places that were threatened by dam building projects, including the fight to save the Grand Canyon, the Stanislaus and the Tuolumne Rivers in California and the Bio Bio River in Chile.

O.A.R.S. has been providing whitewater rafting vacations to some 500,000 guests since 1969. Over the decades the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventure, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines around the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. In 2013, for the seventh consecutive year, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler’s standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category. In 2013 Outside Magazine, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, named O.A.R.S. one of the top two outfitters in the world in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program.

For more information, trip availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014-2015 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit: www.oars.com.
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Blog: http://www.oars.com/blog/

 

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Dvorak Expeditions Hosts Bluegrass Music-and-Rafting Fundraiser for NWF on Utah’s Green River

Bill Dvorak's rafting expedition on Utah's Green River will have an unusual twist, with live bluegrass music performed by The Hayward Strangers.
Bill Dvorak’s rafting expedition on Utah’s Green River will have an unusual twist, with live bluegrass music performed by The Hayward Strangers.

Banjo music strumming down Utah’s wild and scenic Green River will be a distinctive feature on Bill Dvorak’s rafting expedition this September, with live bluegrass music performed by The Hayward Strangers. The trip is also a fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation.

A fifth generation cousin of the famous composer, Anton Dvorak, Bill Dvorak has been running rivers commercially longer than anyone else in Colorado (he owns the first rafting outfitter license issued by the state of Colorado).  With a personal penchant for bluegrass music and an acoustically outstanding natural setting to perform in, the 2014 ‘Green River Roustabout’ was born.

“The Hayward Strangers will blend with the sweet chorus of birds, rippling sounds of the river and the drum roll of the rapids,” Dvorak muses. “Guests will join one of Colorado’s hottest bluegrass bands on a six day journey as they perform daily concerts under natural canyon walls and amphitheaters and along broad sandy beaches.”

Dvorak has also planned for ample leisure time allowing down moments to just soak up the sun, read, float along the river and listen to some impromptu jam sessions. In addition to rafting and music, there are side excursions to ancient Fremont Indian ruins, petroglyphs, and wildlife viewing. “You can play with stand-up paddle boards, inflatable kayaks, have a Bocce ball tournament, swim, fish, and wear out your camera battery taking spectacular photos!”

The trip is scheduled Sept. 13-18, 2014 and departs from Grand Junction, CO or Green River, UT.  The adult rate is $1,498 per person (for youth under 12 $1,350) plus additional shuttle flight to the put-in ($190 per person), taxes and government fees. Trip cost will include all meals, rafting and safety equipment, professional guides and staff.

This concert journey is also a fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Dvorak and The Hayward Strangers are donating 15 percent of the fee to the national conservation nonprofit for its work in protecting and preserving wildlife habitat.

“The idea for the bluegrass journey first emerged following a conversation I had with Phil Hanceford (mandolin player) at a NWF conservation event,” explains Dvorak. “One year later, six members of the band agreed to sign on and the first such music adventure of its kind is happening.”

The Hayward Strangers are Keenan Copple (banjo, resonator guitar), T.J. Brown (guitar & harmonica), Phil Hanceford (mandolin), Josh Hicks (drums), John Murret (guitar), and Scott Powers on bass. They are a creative, rowdy group of folks with roots from North Carolina, Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland, and Montana who play high energy acoustic Americana.
The Hayward Strangers are Keenan Copple (banjo, resonator guitar), T.J. Brown (guitar & harmonica), Phil Hanceford (mandolin), Josh Hicks (drums), John Murret (guitar), and Scott Powers on bass. They are a creative, rowdy group of folks with roots from North Carolina, Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland, and Montana who play high energy acoustic Americana.

Each night guests and performers will mingle over campfire conversation, laughter and singing enjoying a variety of guide/chef-prepared dinners such as blackened salmon, charbroiled steaks, organic salads, garden vegetables and Dutch oven desserts such as Black Forest cake and strawberry shortcake, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and vintage wines.  Special diets and allergies can be accommodated).

Bill and Jaci Dvorak have been operating Dvorak Raft, Kayak and Fishing Expeditions since 1979. As one of the early pioneers of white water river rafting in the Rocky Mountains, the Dvoraks own the first outfitter license issued by the state of Colorado. Their river trips, white water skills camp and swift water training programs are world renowned and have been featured in National Geographic, the Chicago Tribune and seen on ESPN and various television specials. Bill Dvorak recently received the conservation award from American Rivers as the “River Champion of the West”.

To book a space, call US/Canada Toll Free: 1-800-824-3795 or visit http://www.dvorakexpeditions.com/rafting-trip-reservations/Green-River-2014-Bluegrass-Music-Rafting-Trip.php/

For information, contact Dvorak Expeditions, Phone: 719 539.6851 or 800 824.3795. Email:  info@dvorakexpeditions.com, www.dvorakexpeditions.com.

 

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