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Wildlands Network River Rafting Trip – You’re Invited!
August 10 - August 13$1175
You’re invited! Join Wildlands Network, Jon Huertas from NBC’s This is Us, and Holiday River Expeditions on a 4-day/3-night rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Ruby/Horsethief and Westwater Canyons on August 10-13, 2017.
This river adventure down the Colorado River through Ruby/Horsethief and Westwater Canyons offers a variety of river experiences from scenic flat-water sections to seriously fun whitewater. With numerous side hikes, miner’s cabins, sacred sites and ghost stories, Westwater is sure to leave folks in love with the Wild West.
Our voyage will begin 250 miles downstream of the Colorado River’s 10,000-foot elevation headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park. From there, the river soon enters the 123,400-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, a rugged landscape of sandstone canyons, natural arches and alcoves carved into the northwestern flank of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The Uncompahgre is a crucial linkage within the continental Western Wildway, an international wildlife passage Wildlands Network is dedicated to protecting. The National Conservation Area, as its title suggests, is managed for conservation purposes by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands system. Wildlife include bald and golden eagles, a variety of hawks and shorebirds, and the ubiquitous coyote. An attentive – or just lucky – observer might catch a glimpse of a desert bighorn sheep. Other more elusive denizens, such as the mountain lion, inhabit the more remote regions and reveal their cautious wanderings with signature tracks and other signs obvious only to the most dedicated visitor.
Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, the most protected wildland within the Conservation Area, comprises the left bank of most of our 24- mile float through Horsethief and Ruby Canyons. This 75,500-acre wilderness contains seven major canyons, some reaching a depth of almost 1,000 feet, that flow into the Colorado River. Geological features grace the wilderness, including towering red rock cliffs, spires, windows, and giant alcoves, and Rattlesnake Canyon embraces the second largest concentration of natural arches in the country, second only to Utah’s Arches National Park.
Westwater Canyon, described by early river runners as a miniature version, of the Grand Canyon, is replete with colorful high cliffs and somber dark rocks of a rapid-filled inner canyon. While comparisons with other canyons and whitewater abound, it is unique in its charm, geology, history, and legend are its own and on par with any glorious region in the American West.
Dee and Sue Holladay, founders of Holiday River Expeditions, were among the first to seek protection of this remarkable land. In 1971, they introduced Westwater to Utah’s Senator Frank Moss, who gave thought to preserving it as an outlier unit of Canyonlands National Park. Their efforts resulted in his introducing Wild River legislation to protect the canyon’s shoreline and water flow. While that legislative baton was passed to subsequently less environmentally oriented congressmen, Dee and other conservationists committed to ensuring the preservation of Westwater’s ecological, scenic, and for many, spiritual values. Their relentless labors resulted in the designation of Westwater Wilderness Study Area, an interim status that assures those values do not dissipate before congress or some future president do their duty and protect this American treasure.
Greg Costello, Wildlands Network’s Executive Director, has an extensive background in biology and environmental law and is responsible for the organization’s strategic direction and overall health.
Jon Huertas is Wildlands Network’s Celebrity Ambassador and brings his passion for apex predators, the need for large core habitat protection, and the importance of landscape connectivity to a vast fan base – a tremendous asset for Wildlands Network’s vision and mission. A musician and actor, Jon joined the cast of This is Us this year, NBC’s most talked about series.
Lauren Wood has been guiding for Holiday River Expeditions since 2009 and has been a river runner her entire life. She helps run the Holiday office and spends her free time as Director of the Green River Action Project, an affiliate program with Waterkeeper Alliance and Utah-based Living Rivers.
Kim Crumbo currently serves as Western Conservation Director for Wildlands Network in wilderness and national monument designations, and recovery of the Mexican wolf and other keystone species. He served 20 years with the National Park Service in the Grand Canyon as river ranger and later as wilderness coordinator. He also worked as a river guide for 10 years and, before his experience on rivers and in wilderness activism, he spent four years with the Navy’s SEAL Team One.
Wildlands Network’s Outreach Director, Tracey Butcher, has a strong background in conservation biology, development and ecotourism. She’s responsible for Major Gifts for Wildlands Network and their budding ecotourism program.