Buena Vista-based rafting outfitters are using their raft trips and facilities as platforms for educating guests on local ecology and Leave No Trace principles.
Should you want to pursue this story, I’m happy to arrange interviews with GARNA’s Execute Director and the Owners of RMOC and Wilderness Aware Rafting.
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (RMOC) and GARNA
RMOC has teamed up with the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) to offer environmental education courses. GARNA conducts adventure trips through Browns Canyon National Monument in conjunction with RMOC guides and logistics. GARNA also has a number of bins dedicated to environmental education modules that include curriculum and equipment. Community programs can borrow these bins for conducting environmental education courses, including stream ecology and bug identification. Some of these bins are stored at RMOC and are available to the public.
This summer, GARNA is expanding work with RMOC and Front Range GOCO Generation Wild initiatives to expose communities that are underrepresented among the raft guide populations to rafting in Browns Canyon National Monument while also educating them about our valley’s natural resources.
This also ties into efforts of the Envision Recreation in Balance initiative that is seeking to mitigate the impacts of our burgeoning outdoor recreation growth on our public lands (13% per year in Chaffee County) while recognizing the positive economic impact that outdoor recreation has on the Arkansas River valley. GARNA’s role is to ensure we don’t create more barriers to access for underrepresented communities.
Wilderness Aware Adventures
See the impact we have on the environment with a special wildfire-focused rafting trip with Wilderness Aware Adventures.
In the fall of 2020, The Mullen Fire burned over 1750,000 acres of forest in Wyoming and Colorado, ultimately spreading into the North Platte Wilderness Area in Northern Colorado.
Now in a state of regeneration, the forest has taken on a rare appearance of growth and change, which may include new types of trees and shrubs taking hold, rare morel mushrooms springing up for a limited time, different species of animals making homes of dry, hollow bark, and fields of wildflowers possible only after a fire.
Wilderness Aware Rafting is offering Full-Day and Two-Day Rafting trips down the North Platte River, where guests will have the rare opportunity to see post-fire forest regeneration first hand and learn how the environment heals and transforms itself after such tragedies.