Monday, January 22, 2007

W.E.T. River Trips 2007 American River

W.E.T. River Trips is pleased to announce the following news about our company. We have finalized several new programs for the 2007 Rafting Season. New start dates for the Middle Fork American have increased our company's capacity on this beautiful wilderness trip. Also, the South Fork American River permit was increased by giving us a carrying capacity that will help us satisfy our many loyal clients. Why? Why did we increase our usage on our rivers?

rafting and paddlingThe history of whitewater rafting started around the late 50's and early 60's. Yes, of course, there were many early rafters throughout the Southwest; especially in the Canyonlands where river lore predates the 50's and even the turn of the century. But, I digress... what we're talking about is the commercial rafting trips. In the late 70's, river rafting became very popular as the entire paddleboat scene unfolded. Earlier, rafters enjoyed river trips by allowing a professional guide to row down rivers using inflatable rafts and oars. Large 10-foot, wooden oars were used to navigate the boat through rapids and rocks. The rafts of old were boats with no drain holes or mechanisms to allow the water out. We called them "bucket boats." That meant that someone in the boat either had to start bailing out the raft with a "bail bucket" or the oarsman pulled over in a calm eddy to bail the water out himself! Talk about an epic journey when the water was high... you're bailing constantly as a passenger and a critical component.

W.E.T. River Trips started paddle boats back in the late '70's. Key employees, Steve & Tim took notice of canoeists back East and applied that technique to paddling on the South Fork American in August of 1978 and the Tuolumne in July of 1980. Then self-bailing rafts made their debut shortly after. What a difference it made in the execution of rafting trips. Time to take a breather between rapids, time to position yourself comfortably for the next rapid, time to allow your guests a brief reprieve from the constant dousing over one's head... self-bailers changed rafting forever. And it changed W.E.T. River Trips and the entire industry, too.

Growth was tremendous for some of the larger rafting companies while W.E.T. kept a low profile with very small and intimate trips. The small boutique rafting trips became a slowly dying entity as larger rafting companies swallowed up the smaller ones. W.E.T. created many programs as the big companies started mimicking and outright copying our concepts. So back to the why? Why are we trying to be bigger? We're not. Just more efficient as our client base has grown and we were tired of turning so many people away. We offer great California river trips at a good price point. We want everyone to be able to enjoy a river rafting adventure. Not just the affluent or privileged groups... so, how do we accomplish that? We had to have more carrying capacity to allow us to discount special trips for non-profits and youth groups.

Our owner is firstly an educator. An educator that has dedicated his life to students who might not have all the advantages in this affluent world that we live in. He has opened our doors to even more types of groups and we are excited about our 2007 rafting season coming up this spring. Now it's youth groups, corporate groups, teens and tons of families that enjoy our trips. For those of you who have rafted with us, you know what were talking about here. You are the ones who have helped us grow. You are the ones who have encouraged us to hang in there when the "big dogs" were barking and nipping at our heels.

W.E.T. River Trips thanks you and all the others who have been in our corner since the beginning. Special thanks goes to Bill and Robyn Center of Camp Lotus who have been champions for this river community and for us. We also want to thank all the Coloma/Lotus businesses who have supported us with their enthusiasm and goodwill such as the Sierra Nevada House, the Coloma Gas Station, the artists and creative people in that community, and, of course, the Coloma/Lotus Chamber of Commerce. We also want to give special thanks to the American River Conservancy who has helped to save the South Fork American's beautiful river corridor.

Have a great winter this year as blue skies seem to dominate the horizon. With our past wet winters, storage in the reservoirs are healthy. That means the South Fork and Middle Fork American should have good dependable flows for this season. Get out and play outdoors and "get off the couch!" We'll see you on the river starting in March 2007!
W.E.T. River Trips staff and guides

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