Rivers are for all of us. Rivers have provided opportunities to create memories and the gear provided by outdoor industry manufacturers, suppliers and outfitters have provided the means to access, experience, and create moments of enjoyment with our rivers that create the memories we recall later.
Whether you memory was created on a river in the wild or in an urban setting, whether it was created solo or with others, whether it was on calm water or in rushing water, whether it was from on shore or on the water, each of us has a river story and the gear that helped make it possible to share. Will you share your story about a river memory and the outdoor gear you associate with it to help us celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic River Act.
Each experience we have with a river in our lives usually involves the use of some type of equipment. Originally the equipment used to cross and then travel along these waterways was made by the people who wanted to go somewhere, to explore or transport items.
Eventually, third parties provided the equipment needed. Manufacturers who sought out a better, faster cheaper way to make things in many cases created new ways to travel, cross, view or enjoy our rivers. Bill Parks and the Bill’s Bag, Bill Masters and the whitewater hard shell kayak, Jack Kloepher, and the Paco Pad, Mark Thatcher and the Teva all made river trips easier and possible in our busy worlds. Add to that list of names the outfitters who opened up the boundary waters, Georgie White in the Grand Canyon, George Wendt for the California Rivers and the Hatch Brothers on the Yampa and the Green opened these rivers with the new equipment for all to experience.
Without equipment ranging from simple hiking shoes, a travel chair, coolers, fishing pole, a backpack, tents, a self-bailing raft, and other watercraft, the opportunities would have been more significantly limited. Outdoor industry manufacturers over the years have provided equipment to allow us all to experience our rivers. These companies have provided innovation in design, materials and construction that should be recognized and celebrated in conjunction with the 50-year anniversary. What are the pieces of equipment that have facilitated your river experience?
Fifty years ago on October 2, 1968, with foresight, Congress passed and the President signed the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.
In the days of fur trappers and pioneers, free-flowing rivers were the lifeblood of commerce, transportation and fisheries across America. Today, they are critical yet often-overlooked sources of clean water, critical habitat, and rejuvenating recreation for Americans seeking a break from the frenetic world of technology and reconnection with the deep flow of time and nature. The original law (PL90-542) designated 8 sections of the Clearwater, Eleven Point, Feather, Rio Grande, Rogue, St. Croix, Salmon (Idaho), and Wolf rivers for inclusion.