River Guide + Owner

  • Born: RENO, NV
  • Lives: HOOD RIVER, OR

As a boy, Zach spent his summers working alongside his father at Boy Scout camps where he led overnight backpacking, mountain biking, and kayaking trips. This early experience of leadership and the outdoors evolved into a lifelong commitment to stewardship and excellence in the wilderness.

While studying Mechanical Engineering at UC-Davis (BS) and Stanford (MS), Zach led backpacking trips during the summers where he discovered kayaking which led to rafting and eventually to river guiding for ECHO River Trips, operated by industry legends Joe Daly and Dick Linford. Even after Zach started teaching, he continued working at ECHO during his summers off.

At that point whitewater and wilderness had so thoroughly captured his heart that Zach left academia to pursue a full-time career in the outdoor adventure travel industry. Spurred by Dick and Joe’s tutelage and his own tenacity, Zach quickly moved up through the ranks at ECHO, co-founding NWRC with Dick and Joe in 2009. In 2014 Zach partnered with his long-time friend and co-guide at ECHO Dan Martin to buy out Dick and Joe’s ownership stake in NWRC. In 2015 he assumed ownership of ECHO.

Although grand vistas and the rush of whitewater are thrilling, Zach is equally excited about the small, everyday details of running a world-class rafting operation. On rainy days you might find him sourcing new kitchen supplies. On a non-river day in the summer, he’ll likely be at the warehouse fixing and organizing gear. He’s also sometimes in D.C. visiting with the BLM and Forest Service or lobbying Congress to protect rivers and wilderness.

When not on the river or at the office, Zach enjoys running, mountain biking, kayaking skiing, walks on the beach with his wife, travel, and Game of Thrones.

Words to live by: "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." -Edward Abbey