28 September 2006

White Water Rafting in the Fall

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

Housing Project on New River Gorge

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

Life saved by White Water Rafting Guide

Some can only imagine what a brush with death must feel like- Kathryne Chang sure knows. She was white water rafting on the Deerfield River when her raft turned over.

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?