Tuesday, April 28, 2009

 

Travel Therapy

From the San Jose Mercury News and The Associated Press comes a timely news story on stress related illnesses. Writer Karen Schaler has just written a Berkeley-based $20 paperback book from Seal Press. The chapters are broken down into 11 different situations of stress and travel remedies.

For the love lost folks, you are best suited for an extreme adventure such as shark diving, hang gliding or whitewater rafting. Physically demanding adventures will help you to relax through your anxiety or stressful times.

Those in need of a personal reinvention of the mind and soul might want to consider an exotic adventure in an exotic location. For those who are workaholics, Ms. Schaler recommends reconnecting with your family and loved ones on a family-friendly outing or vacation.

Those of us with whitewater rafting companies knew about this "healing" method a long time ago!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

 

Extreme Travel, Pop Culture Travel Guide

Jaunted contributing editor, kjb has researched the winter rafting phenomenon started by W.E.T. River Trips during the heyday of the early 80's. Whitewater rafting guides started off from the snowy mountains of Donner Ski Resort and the rafting company actually hiked a raft, a kayak and a mountain bike up the hill to "raft", "kayak" and "ride" the snow downhill.

Now, several rafting and whitewater enthusiasts have taken to the snowy slopes and do just that as a precursor of what's to come for the whitewater rafting season in their own regions. In California, the paddling enthusiasts are already out on the rivers and mountains riding the snow and the water in the rivers.

kjb, Jaunted Contributing editor just posted a story about winter rafting and featured WET River Trips and Blue Heron Whitewater. These two companies have a reputation of early season boating on rivers in their regions. WET, rafting in California, navigates the South Fork American, Middle Fork American and North Fork American whitewater trips. Blue Heron Whitewater offers a similar chilly start in North Carolina on the French Broad River.

River rafting in the winter is highlighted with less crowds, beautiful scenery and a chance to see the river before the summer crowds. Most outfitters that operate in the winter and spring provide wetsuit packages to keep you safe from hypothermia. Look up these two outfitters during your spring break for a chance to ride the rapids!

Thank you to kbj, Jaunted, The Pop Culture Travel Guide & your great post for winter rafting!

For more information on California whitewater rafting or North Carolina rafting see RAFTINFO.com for more American whitewater.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

 

Rafting Movies : Land of the Lost : June 5, 2009 release

This past 2009 Super Bowl had a commercial with a satirical take on an 1970 Saturday morning children's show called Land of the Lost. The old movie has a paleontologist who goes rafting into a lost world. And now soon to be released on June 5, 2009, Universal Pictures will be releasing a Will Ferrell comedy called "Land of the Lost."

Several scenes take place on an expedition with white water rafting shots. Even California's Hollywood knows how mainstream whitewater rafting has become for the general public. An irreverent take on rafting through rapids will bring even more of the public to the rivers this summer.

Thanks to CBS Entertainment and Universal Studios for this informative post.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

 

Whitewater Center, Charlotte, NC

U.S. National Whitewater Center has announced today the opening of the Whitewater Center Parkway in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Guests can reach the facility from Belmeade Drive. Call the center at (704) 391-3900 for more information. US National Whitewater Center is an outdoor and environmental education center.

The new parkway features whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking on the new multi-channel river. Mountain biking, trail running and climbing are also featured at the center. Conference and meeting complex with restaurant and catering faciliites makes this a perfect site for the official U.S. Olympic training.

Thank you Charlotte Business Journal for this Rafting story!

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Monday, October 06, 2008

 

River Day - Concord River, Lowell, MA, USA

Our friends over at Topix just posted about the River Day held in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. Lowell Sun has the full story on their website. The Concord River is just off of Lawrence Street near Senator Paul Tsongas burial site. His wife, US Rep. Niki Tsongas pointed out, "Paul's right up there. This river is a geographic uniter, but it's a personal place as well."

Story after story were told during the presentation for River Day event hosted by Tsongas purely to celebrate the rivers that connect the Fifth Congressional District.

Plans for a Concord River Greenway was presented by Steve Conant, co-founder and president of the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust. He envisions a 25-mile path from Framingham to Lowell. The environmental, historical project leaders and builders expect the construction to be completed by 2009.

Educators from all over the country as well as India and China have come to this historical site to learn about Lowell's history and rivers.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

California American River Whitewater Trips

California's whitewater rafting season has begun. The Sacramento Bee in Northern California recently partnered with the well-known whitewater rafting company, W.E.T. River Trips in a historical event on the three forks of the American River. They called it the Rafting Triple Crown or Rapid Fire.

Rare is the day when all three whitewater sections of the American River are runnable. Due to spring runoff and dam schedules, North Fork American, South Fork American and Middle Fork American are rarely flowing at the same time. This past week, The Sacramento Bee, Good Blood Productions and W.E.T. River Trips accomplished a record setting time on running all three whitewater sections in less than 12 hours in one day.

Ryan MacPherson, who works for W.E.T. River Trips as a safety kayaker on the class 4+ North Fork American owns his own video production company, Good Blood Productions. Ryan recently finished working with the documentary, "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel. W.E.T. River Trips has given Sacbee.com permission to post the video for their readers.

Congratulations to this California rafting company and the great publicity for all the whitewater companies in the west.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

 

Rafting News from Second Life - USA

Whitewater and paddling in the USA is pleased to announce world wide partnerships with the rafting and extreme sports networks. W.E.T. River Trips is the first rafting, whitewater or paddling entity in Second Life. Over one year in development, W.E.T. River Trips is networking in the virtual world with giants in the extreme sports industry such as the Costa Rica sims, the Weather Channel's surfing sims, SL Triathelon, Base Jumpers, Diving and Second Life script and terrain developers.


Builder, Tu Dae - Wizard Water & Rock Video

Throughout the virtual world, W.E.T. River Trips has encouraged other sim owners to create rivers, streams, whitewater, waterfalls and other water elements in Second Life.

Recently, the Dutch have announced the creation of a new sim soley based on paddling sports. The marketing relationships with the Dutch were developed in-world through electronic music and owners of other sims.

W.E.T. River Trips is now a concierge level landowner in Second Life. Their female avatar is represented by their domain name RAFTWET. The avatar is a single, business woman created to network with other sim owners and businesses. She has created three major groups for avatars including a builders's group for land development and the paddling sports of rafting and whitewater.

"Our focus is to network and educate. The more the public knows about rivers, the more protection a river will have from the encroachment of civilization and pollution. Countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Brasil, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Korea, Japan are already here marketing their outdoor tourism programs. We were concerned that the USA had not discovered this marketing opportunity. We came here to make sure that the USA was well-represented for outdoor tourism and whitewater rafting. And now... we are network partners with the world," exclaims RAFTWET Jewell, the company avatar in Second Life.

As the rafting company celebrates their first year in Second Life, they have taken on a philosophy of sharing and educating the world-wide public to the whitewater rafting and extreme sports networks. "If you build it, they will come" is the mantra of the virtual world builders, and W.E.T. River Trips has taken this to another level in marketing whitewater paddling sports.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

 

Siang River, India

India's love of rivers was highlighted recently on a "trip of a lifetime" to the remote Siang River. Shauna Rempel from the Toronto Star writes a great article about North American men and women who did an inaugural expedition of River India.

Her blow by blow article captures the heart of river rafting on this expedition-style adventure sport. The Siang River is known as Tsnag-Po in Tibet and flows into the Lohit and the Dibang in Assam to form the Brahmaputra (Son of Brahma in Sanskrit) River.

Scott Lindgren led a group of kayakers back in 2002 on an exploratory trip there. Only 10 documented whitewater trips have been known. This trip is the definition of wilderness whitewater paddling.

River India was started by Roland Stevenson who focuses on this type of rafting. He comments, "You could go to Rishikesh and do a trip like that. (50 tour operators with bus trips for rafting) But I didn't start River India to offer that kind of experience." A son of a diplomat with a PhD in physics and 10+ years of paddling experience, Stevenson adds, "I'm offering trips of a lifetime."

Thank you to the The Toronto Star and Shauna Rempel

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

 

Silver Creek - California

Visit the AmericanWhitewater.org water steward organization for river rafting acess for the public. Many runs have been opened by this politically active organization. Most recent was the Silver Creek run on the South Fork American river. Only 10 elusive days were available to run this small section of the main south fork in the last 2 years.

Kayakers, paddlers and media swarmed onto the river at the last days of October 2007. Reviews, kudos and accolades were given on this most precious whitewater resource. Contact AmericanWhitewater.org for more information on how you can influence the water managers of this run to allow for more water releases on scheduled dates.


For more information on California whitewater rafting, please visit the C-W-R.com website.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

 

Gauley - West Virginia

The state's Division of Natural Resources Whitewater Commission has been asked by the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters to levy a mandatory 35-cent fee for each rafter that floats through 4 sections of the Gauley River.

This fee would help the WVPRO in stocking trout for the river. Since 1990, the association has taken it upon themselves to stock the river with trout using the association's membership fees. This has helped extend the recreational opportunities for the public and the resource.

Each licensed rafting company will collect the monies as a mandatory use fee and submit those funds as part of a monthly report of use. This same concept is used in California on the American River's whitewater sections of the South Fork and Middle Fork of the American.

The Gauley and other rivers already have a use-fee levied for rafting, but this fee covers the agencies that fund studies for economic impacts and developing tourism, carrying capacities, safety issues and overseeing the quality of the rafting trip itself.

The new fees will be earmarked solely for the stocking of trout. This program will help to create a economic base for fishing and extending the Gauley's recreational resources.

Thanks to the Daily Mail for this item.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

 

4th of July - USA

The Fourth of July is here with hot weather, hot dogs and red, white & blue confetti. The real beginning of summer. Throughout the country many people will jump aboard a raft and float down a river. Some will venture out on their own, floating in plastic rafts or inner tubes. While other paddlers hire professional whitewater outfitters to paddle down advanced river runs near their communities.

Whatever river you are paddling today on this 4th, Rafting News asks everyone to have a proper lifejacket on at all times. Many locales have community programs for families where you can rent lifejackets for all members in your group. Drinking is fine when you get back home to the barbecue, but don't do it on the river. And a word about trash. Pick it up and throw it away into a trash receptacle. Keep the rivers as clean as the day they were formed. Come home tonight safe and sound to your friends and family and keep this July 4th as a cherished memory.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

 

AB 951 - American River, California

The California legislator's have finally addressed the deviant behavior on the urban lower American River in Sacramento. Assemblyman Dave Jones, a Democrat representing Sacramento wrote the AB 951 after many of his constituents had raised questions about the alcohol-inspired riots from past holiday weekends on that river.

The county placed a ban on alcohol, but found that they could not regulate the actual behavior in the rafts. The local jurisdiction pleaded with the assembly to find a way to regulate drinking on the river. The cost to the county has been noted as increased sheriff patrols on the river have tried to prevent near riots during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. And then after the trip, the rowdy paddlers get in their cars and drive drunk putting the entire community at-risk. All these holiday weekends attract participants who have traveled sometimes from out-of-state to join the revelry on the do-it-yourself float stretch of the class II Lower American River.

What used to be a fun-filled weekend for families has turned into classic film grist for a "Girl's Gone Wild" episode. This is the urban jewel of Sacramento's waterways. The Lower American has been an artist's river as many well-known painters have featured river scenes in their artworks. It has been a local shame that the river has lost it's soul to a bunch of rowdy testosterone-laden young hooligans ready to drink and fight their way towards manhood.

The Sacramento community welcomes Congressman Dave Jones bill. Now let's hope the Govenor's listening to those who want to enjoy a day on the river without wading through beer bottles, trash, boom boxes and flying fists on what used to be a family rafting trip.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

 

White Water Media Day - California

Whitewater rafting enthusiasts will appreciate the efforts from the American River community in the Lotus Coloma Valley in Northern California. Tomorrow, June 2nd is the Annual Whitewater Media Day on the South Fork of the American River. El Dorado County, California Outdoors, the American River outfitters, local businesses and the media will all be paddling on the Gorge section of this river.

The Gorge is an 11-mile stretch of Class 3 to 3+ whitewater river. The section starts in the heart of the Gold Rush town of Coloma, where John Sutter found the first gold. An historic park lies in Coloma preserving Sutter's mill right on the shores of the river. The Gorge flows through several rapids and its moniker emphasizes the steep canyon-like walls near the best class 3+ rapids of the day. The river ends in Folsom Lake, a large reservoir just above Sacramento; California's state capitol.

Each rafting company donates guides, rafts and equipment, vehicles, barbecue, and, even land in order to host this special media event. Publishers of print, television, radio and internet media send their representatives to paddle and river raft the South Fork American, the most popular river in the Western United States.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

 

American River - Coloma, California

The Lotus Coloma Valley, center of the universe for California's rafting community, will be hosting several special events throughout the 2007 season. Music, art, environmental fund raisers, American River conservancy events will highlight the year.

This charming, rural foothill community just outside of Sacramento, California's State Capitol is also home to the original gold rush. The historical Coloma State Park is preserved there along with a museum and gold panning demonstrations. The community lies on the shores of the South Fork American river, the most popular whitewater river in the western United States. For more information on recreation and paddling, visit coloma.com for an expanded read on valley events.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

 

SMUD Relicensing a Gift for Rafters

SMUD's (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) recent relicensing is proving to be a gift to whitewater rafters in California. California rafting will be available throughout the season with controlled flows coming from dam operators on the South Fork American and Middle Fork American Rivers.

The agreement is allowing SMUD to manage the water by providing runnable flows on both rivers. On the South Fork American, the operators have designated "dry" Wednesdays in the month of May and June with flows everyday. And in July and August, everyday will be available with only a "dry" Monday.

On the Middle Fork American, the water managers will provide 7-days a week of runnable flows.

Based on this year's dismal snowpack, the agreement and management of the river resource will prove to be a gift for the whitewater rafting public assuring them of boatable flows this rafting season.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

 

South Fork American - California

Flows will be impacted this year due to a less than normal precipitation this past winter. Due to SMUD's generous and cooperative management of the resources at the reservoirs, agreements were reached to provide normal flows through the duration of the season from now until September. There will be some limitations and these limitations were agreed upon by various organizations in anticipation of drier years.

Flows on Mondays in July and August will be designated dry days while the flows on Wednesdays will be dry during the May and June calendar. Most California rafting outfitters discount heavily during the week so some outfitters may be impacted based on their promotions. Most will shift their incentives to avoid these dates to accommodate the public on their river trips.

The South Fork American along with the Middle Fork American may be the best rivers to raft this summer season in California. With the flow agreements, paddlers can at least count on the contracted flows on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

 

California Rafting Trips - 2007

Late winter storms have changed the landscape for California rafting trips. A series of storms blanketed the Sierra Nevada with fresh snow that assures the whitewater paddling public that the 2007 rafting season will be normal to above normal in places.

In Northern California, the rivers are already running as die-hard paddlers and kayakers challenge Class 4, Class 5 runs. The Smith, Cal Salmon and Trinity have already started their whitewater season due to precipitation.

On the most popular white water rafting river, the three forks of the American River, paddlers have never stopped rafting throughout the fall and winter months. Kirkwood Meadows received a large snow pack this past week which guarantees great flows on the South Fork American. North Fork American, one of the best Class 4 runs start this month just in time for spring break, while the Middle Fork American should flow from now through September.

Down south, the Kern and the Kaweah will have normal flows according to the rafting outfitters. The recent storms have boosted their river flow expectations to around 60% of normal with more storms coming.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

 

California - South Fork American

The whitewater rafting community and its paddlers are rejoicing over the recent agreements with the utility companies on the Upper American River rafting hydroelectric project. SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) has come to an agreement with the boating community to release water from their dam sources for year-round recreation. This historic signing yesterday came after a long five year struggle of negotiations. The agreement will be in place for a 30 to 50 year stretch.

Here is the agreement:
  • Regularly scheduled whitewater releases and guaranteed flows for whitewater rafting below Chili Bar Reservoir year-round in all years of the agreement.


  • Higher flow releases to protect and enhance habitat for aquatic species.


  • Improvements and construction of recreational facilities near reservoirs.


  • $1.3 million per year for recreation and maintenance funding.


  • During drought conditions, flexible operations.

Many groups came together for the historic signing including state and federal resource agencies, environmental groups, whitewater recreation groups and private citizens.

Next step is the relicensing with the Placer County Water Agency's Middle Fork American River. According to representatives of the rafting community, this relicensing should be a lot smoother than the long five year negotiations with SMUD.

The rafting community is in awe of the prospect of having guaranteed flows for every weekend of the year. Imagine, being able to count on flows whenever you want to go rafting!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

 

California Rafting Trips

California is experiencing lower than usual rainfall and snow this winter. Beautiful blue skies are taunting outdoor enthusiasts as ski resorts and rafting companies hope daily for winter weather. Normal precipitation for January has been underwhelming as signs of spring are everywhere in the valley. Freezing temperatures have been the norm throughout California as agriculture deals with crop losses.

Bill Center of Camp Lotus, a river campground on the South Fork American assures the rafting public that reservoirs are in healthy condition due to the past two seasons of larger than normal snowpack and precipitation. Negotiations are underway with the utility companies to schedule water releases for this season. Due to the storage of water in those reservoirs, rafting on the South Fork American, the most popular river in the West, should maintain good flows throughout it's season along with the Middle Fork American.

For 2007, California rafting trips should be a great year for families,group rafting youth groups and corporate groups. Most outfitters are reserving their spring and summer trips now. Weekends sell out quickly, so start organizing your California trips soon.

For more information on California whitewater rafting, see the C-W-R.com site, a river description site with a listing of outfitters.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

 

Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival

This weekend, celebrate "green" by attending one of the many film events in Nevada City, California. The South Yuba River Citizens League is presenting its 5th Annual Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. This is the largest environmental film festival in the country. Presented by Patagonia, the outdoor clothing manufacturer with a reputation for promoting conservation and environmental causes, the festival was originally founded in 2003 by the SYRCL.

The SYRCL has long been a champion for the Yuba River and its watershed. It has become the largest, most successful and effective single watershed organization in California. The Yuba River is located in Northern California on the Western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. There are three forks, the South Fork, Middle Fork and North Fork that make up the Yuba River. A beautiful area, the watershed is bordered by the Feather River, the Truckee River, the Bear River and the American River.

A great companion river to the early spring rafting runs on the North Fork American, the Yuba also highlights difficult Class 4 & 5 whitewater sections. As development and populations encroach on these areas, the SYRCL and other organizations have found much support in the conservation community to preserve these areas and the water quality.

Several film events will be scattered throughout the weekend in Nevada City. 110 films will be presented along with local community support at art galleries, restaurants and retail stores. Film makers and reknown environmentalists will be on-hand to give talks and answer questions throughout the different venues. Here is the information for tickets and locations for the SYRCL film festival.

  • DATE: Friday – Sunday, January 12-14, 2007

  • LOCATION: multiple venues in downtown Nevada City

  • COST: $5 - $210, Tickets available at the SYRCL office or by phone (online demand for tickets has overwhelmed the availability; for purchase go directly to the Festival Ticket Office at 317 Spring St, Nevada City, CA 95959.)

  • CONTACT: South Yuba River Citizens League, 216 Main Street, Nevada City
    (530) 265-5961, www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

 

California Winter Storm Warning

Rain and snow will cover most of the West tomorrow. Snow should fall down to 3,000 feet in the Sierras. Good snowpack on the summit for skiers and snowboarders should keep holiday vacationers happy at their favorite resorts though the weather may hamper some.

Currently, freezing rain is falling at Sugar Bowl. A winter storm warning for the pass is in affect as 5 to 8 inches of snow is predicted to fall tonight. An 80% chance that an additional 3 to 5 inches of snow will fall on Wednesday. By tomorrow night, very cold weather will hit the summit with predictions of 13 degrees farenheight.

All this build-up will be helpful for California's water content. A few more months to go until the rafting season starts. Start calling your California rafting outfitter for trips and excursions!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

 

North Fork American NOAA Project

Temporary weather stations were installed on the North Fork American as part of a greater project on the American River. The research project is headed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration. Tim Schneider, manager of the project said, "There's really nowhere else in the U.S. that has this collection of instrumentation." The American River flows will be the proving ground for the Sacramento area since flooding is a major concern.

More than 30 stations were set up along the North Fork American River. The stations will measure a slew of data including a portable Doppler radar that will help to track storms throughout the watershed. Rob Hartman, hydrologist for the National Weather Service River Forecast Center in Sacramento says, "We can pin down which portion of the watershed that's being rained on v.s. snowed on, which has a big impact on flow conditions."

NOAA placed these gauges in an attempt to provide analysis for predicting "Pineapple Express" path of storms that regularly hit the Sacramento Region. These warm storms that hit large snowpacks in the varying watersheds of the Sierras causes a torrent of water to flow from these rivers and towards the metropolitan areas of Sacramento. The warnings could provide better response for dam releases based on these predictions.

Though the stations are temporary, they will eventually replace the current standards as funding is made available.
Thanks to Matt Weiser of the Sacramento Bee

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Monday, December 04, 2006

 

River, Rafting News - California

Lots of rafting news starting with California's South Fork American River.
More news and blogs can be found on our California rafting news at our website at RAFTWET.com.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

 

California Outdoors - Sierra Snow

California rafting and skiing enthusiasts are rejoicing over this weekend's snowfall in the Sierra's. The National Weather Service reports an additional 18 inches of new snow to drop over the higher elevations around Lake Tahoe today. Donner Summit reports 5 inches of new snow over this past weekend and two of Boreal Ski Resort's lifts were open this past weekend, too.

Winter has been slow in coming to California as warm fronts have given way to clear blue skies and warm weather. Rafters and kayakers will now watch flow charts as winter's breath is blowing. Rain was predicted by this Tuesday as rafters and kayakers watch the American River flows for quickie trips.

As usual, traffic was at a stand-still coming from Interstate 80 going west towards the Bay Area. Holiday traffic was backed up by five miles westbound from Truckee. Traffic was also delayed over Donner Summit due to several vehicle accidents and spin-outs.

Winter is finally here, though we also hear from the National Weather Service an incoming wet storm is arriving on Tuesday. Saturating the ground will give a good beginning to the snowpack as more storms dump on top of this nice wet base.
Thanks to the Union in Grass Valley for this update!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

 

South Fork American Relicensing

Ongoing negotiations on the relicensing of SMUD's (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) eleven dams in the Sierra Nevada have finally come to a satisfactory end. The Upper American River Project (UARP) and specifically the South Fork American River will be managed benefiting interests ranging from environmental, fishing, camping, hiking and boating. A 50 year agreement will show vast improvements along this river corridor. These negotiations have been ongoing for five long years and many key people were involved such as Bill Center; former El Dorado County Board of Supervisor and owner of the popular Camp Lotus campground; and Friends of the River, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving rivers and riparian lands. In all, 13 agencies were involved including government agencies and non-profit organizations. The agreement was reached just in time before a federal deadline that would have extended this long process even longer.

For rafters and kayakers, we can expect to see controlled releases that will give good boatable flows on the South Fork section from Chili Bar to Salmon Falls on the most popular whitewater river in the Western United States. Also, on the upper stretches, the Slab Creek and Silver Creek will have whitewater boating on dependable schedules, a favorite kayaker's run of unprecedented beauty.

W.E.T. River Trips and California outfitters on this section of the American River would like to thank the key people involved in helping to secure this agreement. The thousands of hours put into this process will be well-received by the whitewater public. Next step for next year is the approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Doolittle and Auburn Dam - California

Just read SacBee's Stuart Leavenworth's analysis of California's Flood control issues... especially as it relates to flood control in the valley and the Auburn Dam. Flood control issues are important to Sacramento and the outlying region. Old, crumbling levees have been given a boost by way of Tuesday's election in a bond approximating $4.1 billion. More importantly, key players such as soon-to-be, Speaker of the House, San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi and her friendship with Sacramento's representative, Doris Matsui will prove to be a strong positive influence in how controls will be implemented.

We still have Congressman Doolittle in the 4th District. His past proposals had him pushing for an Auburn Dam that would drown most of the North Fork American River, a very popular Class 4+ run just east of Sacramento. Also, on that hit list would be the Middle Fork American, one of the most popular whitewater runs in the Western United States. When Ms. Matsui's husband, was a congressman, the two opposing reps came to an important compromise for delivering monies to the infrastructure so that a dam could be avoided. What happen? Congressman Robert Matsui died. And the Auburn Dam reared its ugly head again.

With the Democrats winning both the House and the Senate, Doolittle may not have the influence to ram this one through... but beware, in 2008, there will be another election. And who knows which players will be pushed to the front.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

POMBO is gone!

Democrats have won the House. Post election results show that the Senate is still pending and as of this morning, races were too close to call. For environmentalists in California and in the nation, we are glad to report that Pombo has gone down in defeat. A close, very close race was only decided in the wee morning hours. He is the Chairman of the House Resource committee. GOP Pombo, an extremely powerful congressman who proposed the "selling of our national parks" to balance the national budget, was also tied to the Abranoff scandal.

Sierra Club and other groups labeled him an "eco-thug" who also led the movement to open the Alaska's Artic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, to allow coastal drilling, and to thwart the Endangered Species Act.

Check local stories about this race or go to Rachel Gordon's story at the San Francisco Chronicle for more information.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

 

VOTE! November 7, 2006 on Tuesday

Patagonia reminds us to vote November 7, 2006 and that's next Tuesday, people! There are so many environmental concerns during this election. Basically, there are members of Congress who have become very powerful and have created many problems with the Artic Refuge, Rivers, Ocean conservation, Logging, Mining and Drilling, and our Public Lands. Is that enough to get you off the couch and get into that voting booth?

In California, there are two very important elections that could seriously impact or possible stop any progressive ecological or environmental programs. Yes, we're talking about Congressman Doolittle and Pombo. Both have had very adversarial stances on the environment. I'm not trying to convince you to vote against the Republicans; look at how many Democrats are voting for Arnold! But, I am trying to convince you to care about this planet and its resources. Take a look at the voting records and the bills that have been presented by your representatives. Don't let your voice be silent.
iBetty Network

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

 

Wild and Scenic South Fork American River

Tyana, over at Friends of the River, is asking supporters of the new BLM (Bureau of Land Management) proposal for the Wild and Scenic (Recreational) designation for the South Fork American River to attend the bureau's public meeting today.

Written comments to the BLM will be accepted until December 13, 2006.
Meeting time: 6:30PM
Location: El Dorado County Fairgrounds (Corker Bldg) in Placerville, California

For more information, contact Friends of the River
915 - 20th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-508-3011

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Monday, October 16, 2006

 

Navigational Rights

Sara Lin of the Los Angeles Times has written an interesting story about navigational rights on waterways. Titled "Is Lake for Homeowners Only, or Everyone?" Angler Mark Balanos, was trying to fish in Canyon Lake this past August and was threatened with arrest by sheriff deputies after private security guards had told him that he was trespassing onto private lands. He left and now he is suing the homeowners association and the local water district since the reservoir is a publiciy owned waterway that should be opened to the general public. His attorney has cited the recent Carbon Beach situation in Malibu where beachgoers were sent away by private security guards that patrol the private homeowner's beach front properties.

No one owns the water, but in order to arrive and play on that water, one must touchdown onto private lands. And that's where the whole ball of wax begins. In California, navigational rights have already been decided several times and usually court decisions have decided on the side of the public; ie, easement rights to the ocean and river navigational rights. If you can get to the water without trespassing, then you have a right to be there. Or so the public thinks.

In the early 80's there was a rafting outfitter who started commercial rafting on the Merced River. The US Forest Service was and is the governing agency for permits on this whitewater rafting stretch. Without the US Forest Service permission, this outfitter decided to use only private lands to launch and take-out. In other words, no trespassing ever occured onto any US Forest Service lands. So why did the US government haul this rafting company into court and sue them successfully? Some say, that the rafting company had everything stacked against them. I mean, your'e trying to fight a lawsuit against the United States government. That's a pretty deep pocket of money, attorneys and researchers. The fight also left open the entire permitting system. If the court decided against the government; think of the Pandora's Box that would have opened. Every Tom, Dick and Harry could start a rafting company without insurance, without permits, without any restrictions or government interference. Sounds good? Not really. The permit system has helped legitimize our industry. It has also helped convince the general public that government agencies overseeing the health and benefit of the public could assure them of some degree of whitewater rafting safety.

Mr. Bolanos was also quoted as referring to white water rafting,""From what I'd read, from groups that do water rafting, all waters in California are supposed to be free to float on," he said.

"I didn't understand what made this place the exception."

That early 80's decision will be reviewed in this case. Or, will the courts decide in Mr. Bolanos' favor that he indeed had the right to navigate that lake.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

 

American River Salmon Festival

The 10th Annual American River Salmon Festival starts tomorrow at Lake Natomas and the Nimbus Hatchery. Just east of downtown Sacramento, the event dates are October 14 and 15th. Each day, several events from 10am to 4pm will highlight several family-orientated programs to delight all salmon lovers. Barbecue, history, biology, live music, videos, guided rafting trips, Native American lore and more will offer a packed day of fun for anyone who enjoys the river and Salmon.

Over 400 volunteers and 100 sponsors have put this event together to help educate and foster partnerships with different agencies in California. The purpose of the event is to promote awareness, education, and appreciation of the American River Salmon.

The Salmon is a revered fish in the history of the American River. This fish has had more impact on the cultural and historical events in California than any other fish in the state.

There will be a special incentive for riding light rail. Take Regional Transit to the Light Rail Station at Hazel Ave and Folsom Blvd and receive a free shuttle to and back from the Festival. Come out for the Salmon Festival this weekend for a fun-filled river day!

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Monday, October 09, 2006

 

Whitewater Symposium: Oct 13 - 16th

Dan Crandall of Current Adventures is the host for the upcoming Whitewater Symposium being held in Lotus/Coloma, California on October 13 - 16th, 2006. Several workshops are being held highlighting the paddling sport industry. Keynote speaker, Ron Hilbert will also be sharing his wealth of knowledge on internet marketing and development. Risa Shimoda will be a workshop speaker on "Whitewater Parks in your Community." Several videos and programs will be offered in subjects ranging from Swift Water Rescue, Leadership decision-making, Boat design and manufacturing, and a panel discussion on future developments for the Whitewater Industry.

A full listing of the presenters with their biographies can be found on the Whitewater Symposium site. The credentials of these participants is enough to highlight this important event.


For more information contact: Dan Crandall or register online.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

 

Raft Building and Race!

In Massachusetts, Veterans Middle School recently had a raft building contest for their 8th grade students. This competition was forcused on team-building and outreach for the community-at-large. For several weeks, the teams practiced building their own raft designs and finally tested them in the water at Riverhead Beach. Some rafts would not float and some fell apart causing the teams to go back to the drawing board and re-engineer their designs.

On Tuesday, two teams were left competing. Team Blue and Team Green were the only teams left with their engineered rafts. They paddled from point A to point B and back again successfully.

Project Adventure, founded in 1971 was a co-sponsor to this event along with Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools. Project Adventure grants are available to schools and other entities. These grants provide tools to bring "effective experiential programs" to schools and corporations. Behavior management is also offered for at-risk youth; a similar program that W.E.T. River Trips has provided for some of our teen rafting programs.

What a glorious way to educate young minds! Encouraging our youth to work together on a difficult project with a specific goal in mind helps to allow these young kids to better prepare themselves for their future. And to incorporate an outdoor aspect, helps these same youth to "get off the couch" and develop their bodies for an active lifestyle. See if your school can develop something similar!

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

 

South Fork American River

Just came off of my millionth trip on the good ol' SoFo river. Small group of high-end clients that drove from Southern California to Northern California in one day by way of Highway 1. Now that's a beautiful drive up the coast. The ocean on your left, surfers paddling from the beach and glorious weather highlights this drive on this world-famous highway.

The group came and met their college-aged son in the valley and then drove through Sacramento to the South Fork American river. The foothills are just starting to cool into a hint of fall. The flow was 1,700 cfs and hardly anyone was on the river today. The people just loved it and were surprised that this was the river that everyone says is sooo easy. It's not. Not really. Class 3 to 3+ rapids and some say that the Chili Bar section is Class 3 to 4... that's a river that requires technical expertise. Kayakers love this section because it is challenging to navigate and surf the rapids through this area.

The beginning of the run has a surfing section that is well-known in the paddling community. The Chili Bar Hole is home to the annual kayak rodeo and the spectators love watching the kayaker antics at this recycling hole. Even the rafters like to surf this rapid!

Well, we're back to square one again... hardly anyone out here except for private boaters, kayakers and an occassional commercial rafting companies. We love the fall... river is beautiful at this time of year!

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

Middle Fork American is Back!

We have received notification from California State Parks that the Middle Fork American will have boatable flows this weekend! Fire is 100% contained, access road is open and PG&E has repaired the power lines to operate the dam.

Last night the flow was ramped up as we watched the flow chart show 1,100 cfs on the river. Yeah!... it's about time.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

 

More Ralston Fire News!

100% containment has been achieved on the Ralston Fire. Over 8,423 acres were burnt, 10.5 million dollars was spent by the US Forest Service and California rafting companies lost monies in refunds to clients that they could not take rafting due to road closures on the Middle Fork American. A huge economic impact for the feds, state and local level...

And over on the South Fork American, not a nary of warning was given this past Sunday, as outfitters geared up for a normal Sunday of rafting. Hundreds of rafters lined up on shore as we watched the flow trickle downstream into nothing. No water, no warning. Water managers for this reservoir did not communicate not a single word to anyone. Not even the governing agencies on this river knew what was up. What a sorry state for a bunch of agencies that oversee our industry...

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

Vote for the Environment!

Couple of news items...
Ralston Fire is at 65% containment and CDF is estimating total containment by September 17th! Rafters may be able to see the Middle Fork American before the season ends... we'll see how the road access shapes up in the next week...

Patagonia, the retailer that produces sustainable clothing and gear for climbers, rafters, paddlers, surfers and just plain ol' outdoor enthusiasts, has set up their stores to distribute Voter Registration packets for new voters in this upcoming election. They will also have League of Conservation Voter info for those who would like to review the voting records of the politicians that are currently up for re-election.

All of you who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, keep in mind the power you hold in your sweet hand... get out of the kayak for one day and get yourself into the voting booth. The power is in your hands!
W.E.T. River Trips

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

The Ralston Fire Sept 2006

California is currently up to its neck in wild fires. The Ralston Fire is still out of control near the Middle Fork American River. Containment is only at 35% and 6,780 acres have burned as of September 12th and continues to be a difficult one to contain. CDF, California Department of Forestry and its 1,361 firefighters are battling steep terrain, inaccessible areas and winds whipping up areas making this a battle against nature.

Mosquito Ridge Road access is currently closed and rafting outfitters have had to reschedule or modify their Middle Fork trips to accommodate this latest blow from Mother Nature.
Information from California State Parks, Yubanet and W.E.T. River Trips

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

 

Klamath River is Open

This note came into our office recently from Special Use Administrator Gay Baxter from the US Forest Service on the Klamath River:

The helicopter has been removed and the Klamath River is open for business
as usual. A thorough search has been conducted, but it is still possible
that some debris is underwater or has traveled down stream. We ask for
your assistance should you locate any debris. Please bring small pieces to
the Happy Camp Ranger District Office. If you see any thing submerged
please report a description of the item and location to the Happy Camp
Ranger District Office. The phone number is 530-493-2243.

Happy Camp Ranger District
Klamath National Forest

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Middle Fork American Release Schedule '06

Info just in from California State Parks Auburn Recreation Area... information from PG&E and PCWA as to the release schedule for the shut-down of the Middle Fork American river flows or Hydro-project maintenance... It is to begin on Monday, October 2, 2006. Flows will resume the first week of November, though no one can predict how reliable those flows will be or how long. Those of you who missed the spring and summer flows can still grab a trip in September. Call your favorite outfitter for this beautiful wilderness trip before the season ends!
Post by W.E.T. River Trips, a California rafting outfitter since 1978

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

New Rafting News!

Welcome to W.E.T. River Trips and rafting information and news. This past few months have seen a variety of blogs and news outlets reporting on rivers, rafting and general commercial activity in California. We invite you to contribute any news about your rivers in our glorious state as we help to promote all outfitters in California.

The most popular rivers in California include the major system called the American River. This system is a collection of tributaries, forks and rivers in various degrees of whitewater and gentle floats. The most popular is the South fork American River; a class 3 to 3+ river in normal flows. Equally popular with less traffic is the wilderness trip on the Middle Fork American; a class 3 to 4+ whitwater trip with the infamous Tunnel Chute rapid. And in the spring, the North Fork American is the technical section demanding experienced, aggressive paddlers; a class 4 to 4+.

Over in the Yosemite area, spring runs on the Merced River rage on this Class 4 to 4+ run. Aggressive paddlers are needed here. Two sections highlight this river with awesome rapids during high flows. As flows calm down, the river becomes a great class 3 to 3+ run. Equally popular is the Tuolumne River. Usually done in a two day trip, this wilderness river has awesome class 4 to 4+ rapids with beautiful side-hikes. During the high flows in the spring, this river rivals any river in the state for technically demanding rapids.

Up north, in the far reaches of California, lies gems that only the serious rafter will attempt. Due to the remote nature, wilderness trips dot each and every river from the mighty class 2 to 3 Klamath River in the summer to the class 5 California Salmon in the spring. Upper Klamath, a companion to other class 4 runs in the state is a great run during the hot summer months.

And finally, the Southern portion of the state is gifted by the beautiful Kings River and very urban Kern River. Both are close enough to the major population centers of Los Angeles. If you are an addicted rafter, all these rivers should be experienced during your lifetime!

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