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Ways we can protect our rivers & contribute to river communities

Updated: May 25, 2022

More and more people are getting on the river and we couldn't be more excited to welcome new people into the river community! Whether you're new to the rafting community or an experienced river runner, here are some things to keep in mind as more of us get out and enjoy our rivers.

Protection: Leave No Trace

Rivers give us the ability to access places that otherwise couldn't be reached. That's why it's so important for us to take steps to protect them. Whether you're new to the river community (welcome!) or a long-time river runner, please join us in protecting our rivers so future generations can experience what we get to today. Here are some things you can do to minimize the impact your exploration has on the river and surrounding ecosystem.

  • Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate. The sunscreen you wear ends up in our waterways so do the right thing and opt for a brand that has stepped up to remove toxic ingredients from their products. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two chemicals that have been identified as the most harmful to rivers, lakes, and oceans. They're so toxic to aquatic life and water ecosystems that Hawaii has banned the use of products that contain these ingredients. Sooper Goop is a great go-to.

  • Use River-Safe Soaps. Bring natural eco-friendly soaps on camping trips and river trips. The majority of soaps have chemicals in them that are highly toxic to aquatic life. But today, many alternatives are free of phosphate, surfactants, triclosan and anti-bacterial ingredients. has a great list of eco-friendly soaps that will get you clean without harming rivers. You can also check out products from our partner Alpine Provisions.

  • Keep Trash Out of Rivers and Tie Things Down: It sucks when people leave trash at campsites and it shouldn't be up to you to clean up after their mess. But doing so keeps trash out of rivers. This is so important because trash in rivers is a leading cause of death in water wildlife and trash leaches toxins into our rivers that damage the health of river ecosystems. Please pick up trash even if it's not yours and tie things down so trash doesn't blow away.

  • Pick Up Discarded Fishing Line: Whether the fishing line you use is biodegradable or not, please pick up the fishing line you discard. Loose fishing line is a leading cause of marine life death because they get tangled in it and starve to death. So sad.

Community: Do Your Part

It's easy and welcomed to embrace the beauty, adventure, and excitement that comes with camping on the river. But don't forget to lend a hand. It takes time to understand the roles people play and the various duties involved in setting up a group camp. I wish I would have known some ways I help the crew without making things more chaotic. Here are some things you can fall back on If you find yourself in a similar boat.

  • Pickup and condense trash around camp. Carrying everything on rafts means there is a minimal amount of space for trash. Crushing cans and compacting trash is something that is often overlooked but is much appreciated. So is doing a final sweep before you head out to make sure your group doesn't leave anything behind.

  • Don't forget about group gear: Understand what rafts are carrying group gear and offer to help those rafters load and unload it from their boat before you set up your tent. This is especially helpful if your crew is running behind schedule and you&#x