Sustainable travel is as much about protecting the Earth as it is about supporting local communities. At ROW, we take a genuine interest in the people and culture of the places where we travel. We support the communities in many ways, whether it’s hiring local guides, sharing special local businesses with our guests, or helping preserve the area’s environment. Some examples:
- Most of our office staff, Northwest river guides, and River Dance Lodge staff is local to Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana.
- We donate over $15,000 a year in goods and services to various charities in northern Idaho, eastern Washington, and western Montana.
- Since 2008 we have been operating an annual "Raft for the Cure" which raises funds for our local chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In 2009 we started an annual "Raft to Remember" as a benefit trip for the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
- ROW Founder Peter Grubb served 14 years on the Board of Idaho Rivers United; 13 years on the Board of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association; and three years on the Board of Spokane’s Center for Justice, which is home to the Spokane RiverKeeper.
- We sponsor a couple of our local Wild & Scenic Rivers film festivals, other conservation group charity events and, stay active and informed on various conservation issues.
Our trips (and in fact our lives) depend on natural environments that are healthy and sustainable. Thus, one of our core values is respecting and protecting the Earth. We practice this at all levels at ROW, from our office to our field operations, where we try to minimize our footprint through wise energy use, repurposing, recycling, reducing and reusing.
As well, in the field, and in our offices, we source as much of our supplies, equipment and food as locally as possible.
Many of our trips involve minimal motorized travel, and are designed in order to explore a small geographic area well, rather than rushing to cover a larger area. The fact that many of our adventures are mostly human-powered (hiking, rafting, cycling, kayaking), helps in this regard.
We are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of stewardship for the environment, and the local people and cultures, in the areas where we operate. On all of our trips involving camping, we practice "Leave No Trace" techniques, and we have been since our beginning in 1979.
We truly believe that by sharing the fascinating and inspiring places we visit with our guests, we have a huge opportunity, and responsibility to help create more advocates for preserving these places. In order to do our best in this regard, we conduct our own in-house training program focused on natural and cultural history interpretation. This is designed to help our guides share their knowledge in a more meaningful and relevant way to increase the likelihood that our guests will be inspired to become involved. We also provide an easy path for guest support through our River Preservation Pass Through Program.
We are actively involved with, and financially support, carefully chosen conservation groups that are involved in the areas we travel. We encourage you to visit their websites to learn more about the issues they are working on, including the concern over the extinction of Idaho’s salmon. We appreciate all that our guests do to support both these organizations, and any other conservation organizations they choose. We are all in this together to protect our beautiful planet and leave it fit for generations to come!