28 December 2006
Yep, you read the title right. Some state tourism offices seem to have their thinking caps on- and white water rafting outfitters are taking advantage of the program. West Virginia seems to have their Office of Tourism in line with those who are also interested in bringing business to the state: recreation and vacation providers.
West Virginia just handed out some $5 million in funds to various organizations throughout the state. Rafting companies were among those who got a handy portion. Among the rafting recipients were: ACE Adventure Center, Class VI, North America River Runners, Songer Whitewater, Riverman Whitewater, Rock n Roll Rafting and more. Together they received over $300,000 in marketing fund to use for 2007.
This is of the helpful MAPP program the state has. Approved "partners"- which is virtually anyone that has a vested interest in tourism- can get 50% or more of their direct marketing dollars reimbursed or matched through the state! I think the fundamental concept is that the state tourism office should work together with those who are also pushing for the same objectives. It has been running for some time now, and everyone seems to be doing just dandy.
Why don't more state do this? I don't know. Utah Office of Tourism just handed out what it thinks is a healthy portion to organizations in various area of the state. But they just allocate fund to local tourism offices. And the allocations are not based on any logical reasoning in trying to promote tourism, but rather which participants put together the best and most entertaining proposal on paper. Utah also tries to say they will contribute to organizations who want to promote tourism to the state... but with one hitch- you have to be non-profit. So you automatically eliminate all those businesses who are the most interested in getting visitors to come to Utah. Instead you get a bunch of local theater houses and art exhibitors with money, and locals don't even go to them.
Rafting companies should take note from West Virginia and petition for more unity between the state and the companies.
22 December 2006
The January Issue of Men' Journal has a year starting "Best News Trips" articled featured the top adventure vacations to take in 2007. Making the list of these adventure vacations was ROW Adventures' Idaho and Montana white water rafting trips. ROW also was featured for the Galapagos Island kayaking and camping trip.
Some of the other trips highlighted include kayaking on the Baja Coast, camel trek in Morocco, Hawaii trip (of course) and swimming with the whales and sharks in Australia.
Its not a surprise that whitewater rafting made it to the list of top things to do for 2007. The industry and popularity of rafting is beginning to pick up speed again. Since 9/11 many outdoor recreations and adventure tours have struggled to regain ground and tourists. But the last couple of years have been productive overall, and more people are enjoying the outdoors and the natural adventures mother nature has to offer.
14 December 2006
Mancations.com is the website created to list packages and activities that fit the mold for manly trips to do with your friends. NBC10 in Philadelphia and surrounding regions reported on mancations not too long ago, and it is catching wind. The Today Show just aired a segment dedicated specifically for Mancations. Topped on the Mancation list are golf vacations (of course), white water rafting, backpacking and more. This is in the wake of marketing research showing a rising trend in vacations by groups of men.
The marketing study shows the true feeling men have about vacationing:
* Over 60% of respondents who go on guys or girls trips are married.
* 41% of men -- compared with 22% of women -- said that they witnessed
something on their guy's trip that they preferred their spouse not know
* Despite the expected bravado image, 80% of men indicated they miss their
families when they go on these trips.
* More then half of all respondents said they would rather take a trip
with a bunch of friends versus attend a family reunion.
Lets be honest- who would really opt for a family reunion instead of a Mancation? That's what I thought. If you want to start planning a Mancation, visit the website or try whitewater rafting trips for a start. They are sure to get your adrenaline pumping!
07 December 2006
Matt Johnson of Appleton, WI is part of the Fox Cities Whitewater Park Committee, which has retained the engineering firm of Recreation Engineering and Planning Inc. of Boulder, Colo., to perform a feasibility study on constructing a whitewater park somewhere in the Fox Cities.
We will see how these whitewater parks continue to grow in popularity. Can they make enough money to keep running is the question.
10 November 2006
#1 Grand Canyon, AZ
#2 Alsek River, AK
#3 Selway River, ID
#4 Gauley River, WV
#5 Middle Fork Salmon, ID
#6 Tuolomne River, CA
#7 Upper Youghiogheny, MD
#8 Hulahula, AK
#9 Yampa River Canyon, CO/UT
#10 Arkansas River, CO
The upper Youghiogheny in MD would not be on my top ten. And maybe I would take the Kern River in California before the Tuolomne. yampa River Canyon in CO/UT should be replaced with Cataract Canyon. Now that I think about it, maybe i will come up with a great Top 10 Rafting list. I already established a great list for rivers to raft in the fall.
Thats it then. I am going to come up with multiple Top Ten lists for rafting adventures. Then we will see who the rafting experts are... (j/k- I just think it will be fun)
06 November 2006
According to a recent article in the bangordailynews.com, Millincocket, Maine is going to be one of the top 10 travel hot spots for 2007. White water rafting is a popular activity in the area, with trips going doen the Penebscot River daily during summer months. Reviews from travelers who made Millincocket a destination this year all agree that it is a great destination for those who love the outdoors.
Matt Polstein of the New England Outdoor Center knows that the information and Trip Advisor website are important resources for travelers. More and more visitors are wanting outdoor trips when they visit the area. The New England Outdoor Center saw increases on business across the board. Lodging increased 50 - 100 percent over the summer months, and rafting trips saw an increase of 12% overall.
The New England Outdoor Center offers rafting trips, vacation lodging, canoe and kayak school, moose tours, nature tours, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and much more. It is a great destination and resource for anyone looking to visit the area. Obviously, Trip Advisor (an Expedia subsudiary) thinks the area is hot, and will only grow in the coming years.
26 October 2006
Trip Advisor recently released its annual Trip Advisor Travel Trends. According to them, the trends for adventure vacations such as white water rafting are up. Here is what Trip Advisors shows for 2007 trends:
"Pining for Pine Trees: Forty-three percent of travelers are likely to
go hiking, up from 24 percent one year ago, and 39 percent intend to
partake in adventure activities (such as parasailing and whitewater
rafting), up from 29 percent last year. More women than men plan to
participate in outdoor activities in 2007 according to the survey."
So according to Trip Advisor, 39% of travelers expect to take on an adventure trip. I would venture to say that a majority of thos "adventure travelers" have white water rafing up top of their list. I also look forward to the upcoming America Outdoors convention in Salt Lake City. Theyusually have great marketing research of the outdoor travel industry as well. Hope to see you all there!
The interesting part is that the project is set to be on a large peice of riverbank property. The property location "is crucial to the project," says Greg Dore, the promoter.
I will keep everyone updated on the progress of these new white water parks as they continue to grow. I now have heard of three parks in the works to get approval and funding. We shall see what the outcome holds.
19 October 2006
I was also able to raft the New River, which was not quite as intense, but very scenic and beautiful. It is a good mixture of scenery and adventure. I liked both rivers, and it was fun to get out on the rivers one last time for the season.
The next stop on the trip was down to North Carolina. After visiting some outfitters in North Carolina, my group made our way over to the new National White Water Center in Charlotte. I blogged about the center over the summer, and I am glad to have finally seen it. The center itself is beautiful. Very nice and professional. They re still doing work on the main conference center, but it will be a nice finishing touch to a quality park.
The question that sprang to mind is the effectiveness of integrating the park with the real "outside" sport of kayaking and rafting. My observations about the whole thing is this:
-most white water rafting outfitters see the park as a good thing. I personally talked with many of the largest outfitters in the East Coast, and they like the idea and think it has potential to draw new crowds to the sport.
-the park provides a good option for first-time rafters who are perhaps scared of "real" rafting. Its a great ice-breaker.
-the park has a great opportunity to partner with outside rafting outfitters as a referral for trips.
-the park is a great option for groups and business settings, integrating a nice facility with the adventure on-site as well.
The only real problem right now is that the white water rafting center has not taken advantage of any key partnerships (Red Bull is a sponsor, but not quite what they need). If they can effectively integrate with outside outfitters and cross pollinate the traffic coming in, it could gain the recognition it deserves. Hopefully Rafting America will be able to provide the park with a quality partnership that could work both ways as well.
28 September 2006
Think the white water rafting season is far over? Think again. Although most companies wrap-up around this time, some white water companies are still running strong. It just depends on the river and region.
Many rivers in the US are managed by controlled run-off(which I posted on earlier). Therefore, as the summer months wind down, many lakes and reseviors will release large amounts of water to make way for the coming winter and extra water they will receive. In order to maximize the effeciency of the releases, white water rafting outfitters come together and work with the local agencies to have specific "release dates" for the water. Then, white water rafting trips can be planned around these dates.
So what rivers and locations can you still find good rafting trips on? Here is a good list that I cam up with:
#1- Gualey River, WV- One of the most popular releases and rivers. I am actually going out this year to ride the release with some of the members from Rafting America. They actually do a festival for the "Gauley Season" well known around the world to whitewater enthusiats.
#2- Dead River, ME- This river only has 10 large release dates in the whole year. One is in late fall (October-ish). World class rapids and great rides.
#2- Ocoee River, TN-Another well known river with constant river flow and challenging rapids. Release dates continue throughout the whole month of October.
#3- American River, CA- The South Fork and the Middle Fork usually run through October. California weather is still mild at this time of year.
#4- Deerfield River, MA- The Zoar Gap is a trip that runs into October. Late season discounts during the week are available.
#5- Chattooga River, NC- Although it slows down a bit during the fall, water releases keep good peaks throughout the season.
#6- Snake River, ID- Famous for Hell's Canyon, the Snake River has plenty to offer for historic scenery and great rapids. Usually trips run till the end of September, but depending on the season, may go in October.
#7- Lehigh River Gorge, PA- The Legigh RIver has new water release dates the extended the season into October. Great family trips and day float trips are still available.
For those really interested in a great whitewater vacation, international trips are always an option! The Fataleufu River in Chile runs during the whole winter season (our winter season) and is a great escape and vacation. Trips in China, South America, Australia, and Europe are always options as well!
22 September 2006
Looks like a new project ot put upscale housing in the New River Gorge is going through. Most white water rafting outfitters seem to support the new development, although it was a heated debate in the region.
According to an article in The Register Herald, "Fayette County Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously to uphold zoning officer Tim Richardson’s approval of the Phase 1 subdivision plat for Roaring River, the larger of two planned housing developments overlooking the gorge."
So, it may bring a boost to local tourism and white water rafting, I just wonder how the homes will look over the gorge. Although, for those who have been on the American River in California, you would see homes along the river front at varioius places along the river. I am sure other places have riverside homes that do not detract from the experience. We shall see what it produces!
07 September 2006
Chang fought to stay with a group who also fell in, but the current pulled her under, wedging her in an underwater rock crevice.
"Next thing I know," she said, "I was on my back, looking up at the sky."
She was lucky that a couple of guides form Zoar outdoor were rafting down the river and got her out of the water. Whitewater rafting trips have the potential to be hazardous, but usually safe guides and alert employees keep things under control.
Most states have different requirements and expectations when it comes to white water rafting training and safety. CNN ran a report recently about safety issues as it relates to deaths on the river.
The question is, should your company provide it's own certification and safety training, or rely on state mandates to give you your guidelines?
24 August 2006
Colorado actually is host to the famous Arkansas River and the Colorado River, among others in the state. So how much money does this equate to for teh river runners. So far, the estimates lie around $135 million for white water rafting outfitters across the state. Many outfitters will continue to run the rivers through September until the weather cools down and business slows. But until then, everyone is mostly excited about the increase and they hope this trend continues into next year.
14 August 2006
A new twist has been added to the same old work-out routine. TruFitness, a gym/fitness club in Roseville, CA has added a new option for members looking for fun ways to get in shape. The fitness club boats "offers al fresco workouts" as an option for its members. You can learn to kayak, join marathons or triathalons, go crosscountry skiing and more. The club offers these activities at a discounted rate as a special option to its customers. They are considering adding white water rafting as one of the new venues coming up.
This is a very interesting concept for fitness club owners. The potential is huge for both fitness club owners and outdoor adventure providers as well. If you think about it, you have a whole membership base of people that are interested in an active lifestyle and would like to get in shape. Those visiting the gym are most likely people who also like outdoor activities. So if you offer a deal on participating in adventure sports outside of the gym, you are fulfilling the "workout" portion of their agenda as well as their "hobby" portion of life.
Great idea... good potential for whitewater rafters to partner with fitness clubs in the area.
09 August 2006
An article by the Hungry Horse News stated that "Glacier Wilderness Guides bought 10 satellite phones at the beginning of the season - in the event of an emergency. Using the phones was a test program this year, explained Guides co-owner Cris Coughlin. The company's staff would take the phones with them and then make calls from different places."
Looks like anyone in the rafting industry should pay special attention to Glacier Wilderness Guides. Satellite phones are used occasionally, but should be part of the safety equipment all rafting outfitters carry on the trips. Costly? perhaps. Worth it? Just ask the Boy Scout from India or the guide from Glacier Wilderness Guides.
08 August 2006
The sweepstakes for the rafting trip is the website www.buschwhitewater.com. Hopefully the promotion work well and people assist in the cause to protect rivers throughout the nation. Every member of Rafting America realizes the importance of river protection and working closely with governmental agencies to ensure this protection. Water flows, licenses and much more are vital factors in the white water rafting industry.
01 August 2006
We are not talking about debree that can be avoided. This was a massive jam that left over 300 rafters stranded during the week. As you can see by the picture, it looks like a giant beaver made its home on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
Some rafters opted to hike around the area and put in again downstream, while others hiked to the Pistol Creek airstrip to be flown out. That wouldhave made a very exciting trip (depending on how you look at it I guess). Here is one article from a family that experienced the whole ordeal.
But no worries. Crews work by hand with chainsaws and shwatever else they could to get it clear. The Middle Fork is still up-and-running with great white water rafting trips available. You can get Salmon River trip information at Rafting America.
27 July 2006
This year’s American Whitewater Deerfield River Festival is shaping up to be one of the best ever. The annual Deerfield River Festival celebrates whitewater kayaking, canoeing and rafting in western Massachusetts. This year will bring new activities both on and off the river to the weekend celebration.
Check out what we have going on this year:
“Save Our Rivers”
Each year American Whitewater gathers up all sorts of goodies to host the annual Deerfield American Whitewater membership drive. Folks that join or renew their AW membership get hooked up with magazines, dvds, stickers, food, drinks, and a chance to win one of three free kayaks from Dagger Kayaks, Jackson Kayaks, and Wavesport Kayak.
On Water Activities
Saturday afternoon will be full of activities on the Dryway section of the Deerfield starting with a “boatercross” event through Dragon’s Tooth and Labyrinth. Following the “boatercross” there will be a freestyle competition in Dragon’s Tooth. Judges will be rating you on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how creative and fun your run looks. Each event only costs $5 to participate. Registrations will take place at the Dryway Put-In from 10 – 11:45.
Every year at the Deerfield Festival it seems that there are more and more kids running around, playing games, and crawling into boats. This year we have a bunch of activities for the little ones, including a wiffle ball game, rubber ducky race, and pie eating contest. The kids’ activities will all take place in the festival field starting around 4:00.
Grownup Kid (Adult) Activities
We have a few hidden things up our sleeves for this year’s festival but here is just a taste of what is in store:
“Are you gonna eat that?” Pie Eating Contest
Water Balloon Launching contest with your favorite paddling friends as targets
Music from “The Symptoms”
Raft Guide “Superguide” Challenge
Silent Auction with all the latest whitewater gear and goodies
Contact Zoar Outdoor for more details.
26 July 2006
We all love the Girl Scout cookies, and we all think its cute to see the girls selling the cookies every year whit their smiley faces. But Girl Scouts is continually becoming a more "adventure" focused organization, not really what the perception typically presents.
In the white water rafting industry, specialty groups offer good niche markets to target. The Girl Scouts is no exception. I recetly just read an article talking about the adventure oppportunities for Girl Scouts, and their "requests to an increased emphasis on strenuous, outdoor, physical activities." Have interests changes or are they just trying to catch up to the Boy Scouts? Seems as though interests have really changed. According to the article, the Girl Scouts have increased interest in whitewater rafting. "Stewart, who has been in her post since 1998, said Scouts were white-water rafting 10 years ago. It's just that nowadays, they're doing it more."
Good opportunity for niche marketing, hitting a target market with growing interest. You can see the new face of teh Girl Scouts and their adventure travel plans at www.studio2b.org and www.gogirlsonly.org
20 July 2006
Depending on the river, sometimes you can opt to float down on a tube or small inflatable. Either way, river rafting is one of the funest ways to enjoy summer activity. Metro West Daily News reporter Tim Jones mentioned a couple of white water rafting trips they had gone on with some professional outfitters. The New England Outdoor Center and Zoar Outdoor, both of which are Rafting America members, were mentioned as excellent outfitters to raft with. Tim points out the same viewpoint that I have- rafting alone can be fun, but make sure you know what you are getting into.
18 July 2006
The NY Times published an article outlining this very topic on July 16, 2006 in the Travel section of the paper. The author Michelle Higgins points out that white water rafting is now better than usual in these areas thanks to the heavy downpour. Pocono Whitewater, a Rafting America member, is one company in the article that has experienced better business. Usually Pocono Whitewater can only runs trips every other weekend during these summer months. But thanks to the heavy rains, they have increased their business.
Just one of the many examples of how a rainy day can mean more fun in the sun.
05 July 2006
In an artcile byt he Associated Press in Yahoo news, the top 10 report is as listed:
(The list reflects popularity primarily based on individual visits)
2. Ocoee River, Tennessee.
3. Nantahala River, North Carolina.
4. New River, West Virginia.
5. Deschutes River, Oregon.
6. Pigeon River, Tennessee.
7. Snake River, Wyoming.
8. Colorado River, Colorado.
9. American River, South Fork, California
10. Kennebec River, Maine.
There you have it. The official Top 10 list. Rafting America partners already operate on all of these rivers. So if you want a good white water rafting trip, just go to Rafting America.
30 June 2006
Recently, an article was published talking about this very issue in Colorado and the Arkansas River. Joe Greiner, owner of Wilderness Aware Rafting and member of Rafting America commented on the river flow program.
"Without it outfitters would have to cancel trips during the busiest time of the tourist season... The difference between being a viable industry and one that’s just limping along."
Support for these types of programs is also welcomed from the public and anyone involved in recreation managment. Lets keep those river levels up so we can enjoy mother nature!
29 June 2006
Located just 10 min from downtown Charlotte, it offers a white water rafting challeng for all skill levels. You can kayak, raft or even canoe down the various parts of the center. It covers 307 acres along the Catawba River. Here is an artists rendering of the center.
Looks pretty sweet!
27 June 2006
The Bakersfield Californian, a California newspaper, just printed an article titled "Rafting Rush! Get soaked on Kern River". Highlighted in the article was a long-time river guide Roland Stevenson for Rafting America member Whitewater Voyage. Stevenson guided the journalists down the river for a very exciting trip.
As Stevenson puts it, “guides dream about the high-water years, and this is definitely one of them.”
The Kern river highlighted here was mentioned in an earlier post talking about the apparent dangers of some rivers, if you raft without a guide. The Kern river is for sure one of the fastest-falling rivers in America. I say that makes it even more attractive :) In any sense though, make sure to take full advantage of this great whitewater season.
21 June 2006
"One the tripAlong the way, we enjoyed getting soaked by the rapids, which are just hairy enough to be exhilarating and just tame enough to be family friendly. We also spotted a plethora of wildlife, including Canada geese, mallard ducks, common mergansers, turkey vultures and various songbirds."
The Morning Call article points out that the Leigh River has changed incredibly during the last 50 years. The River is now is a new testament of the wonders of mother nature. Protected by envirnmental regulations, wildlife has flurished and created a wonderful location for vacations and trips.
Rafting America partner Pocono Whitewater takes newarly 40,000 visitors down the river each year. The increase in water releases has boosted business recently, allowing for more water trips during the warmer summer months.
Sounds like a good trip to take families on- a good combination of scenery, wildlife and whitewater fun.
The LA Times just recently posted an article discussing the dangers of whitewater rafting down the Kern River in California. The West Coast regions of the U.S. have seen a significant snowpack from the long and late winter. The Kern River in California is especially seeing high water levels and flucuations in river activity. Anytime you have extreme fluctuations in the river it poses as a threat to private rafters.
So is the Kern River really dangerous?
Rafting America member Bill McGuiness, owner of Whitewater Voyages, was quoted in the LA Times article stating: "The people who get in trouble are the ones who treat a river as if it were a long, skinny lake."
Well put, Bill. The fact is that river rafting is no more dangerous now than before. If you have experienced guides with greats skills and river knowledge, a whitewater trip can be fun and exciting.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Bill. "This is a very exciting time to go out."
20 June 2006
Tim took a beginner kayak class last year with Zoar as well, and he "loved it." He decided to return again this year and continue his Kayak lessons with Zoar Outdoor. Tim outlines his fun experience and talks about hte "roll-lessons" he got from the experienced guides at Zoar.
Tim's article can bee seen in both the and the Concord Monitor, NH. and the
Albany Times Union, NY
Outside of rafting trips, Zoar Outdoor also offers outdoor adventures in kayaking, canoeing, biking and rock climbing. Zoar Outdoor can be found directly at www.zoaroutdoor.com or through Rafting America at http://raftingamerica.com/partner.php?company=zoar
15 June 2006
Rafting America just finished launching a new website with an updated look. It is very exciting to browse through the new website and find rafting outfitters in throughout the nation. Rafting America has also had some internal changes in order to better promote the website and services offered to the public.
Our goal at Rafting America is to provide interested consumers with all the information they need for planning a rafting trip anywhere in America. We have 15 outfitters across the nation and even a few international outfitters. These companies provide superior trips with high standards to ensure a safe and fun trip on the river. We are a group of rafters who love the sport and are dedicated to serving others.
To find out more about the new site launch and organization of Rafting America, you can read the press release here.
Please visit our website www.raftingamerica.com to find out more about our wonderful services.