Big News: New Trip on the Chetco River

by Molly Reagh

We got it! After two years of a long application and review process, we've finally received our permit to take guests down the Chetco River. Maybe you don't know how big of a deal this is - no outfitter has been permitted to run this river for 10 years!

Andy dropping a big rapid on the Chetco!

Andy dropping a big rapid on the Chetco!

At Northwest Rafting Company, we've made it a mission to tie together our passion for whitewater adventure with conservation, respect, and protection of the environments that provide us with such incredible experiences. We also aim to have great working relations with all the players that make-up the whitewater community. Being granted this permit has proven the trust we have gained within this community.

Scenic kayaking down the Chetco

Scenic kayaking down the Chetco

Alan Vandiver, who recently retired as district ranger of the Gold Beach Ranger District, made it his personal mission before he retired to get this permit granted:

"When I received the special use application, I considered the review and preliminary decision one of the most important of my career. I have kayaked the Chetco River from Taggarts Bar to the wilderness boundary, and I believe this stretch of river is one of the jewels of the National Wild and Scenic River system. This stretch of river is unsurpassed in its primitive nature. It has an extreme amount of natural resources highlighted by water quality, aquatic habitat, geologic features and biological diversity, just to name a few."

Emerald-green waters, lush flora

Emerald-green waters, lush flora

And we haven't only been working on the paperwork side of the permit - we've been physically out there doing trail-clean up from the 2002 Biscuit Fire to improve access for everyone. The work obviously paid off, and we are stoked beyond belief here at NWRC to be able to take a few guests out there with us.

Andy in the Upper Gorge

Andy in the Upper Gorge

This will be a river adventure of a lifetime. A trip for those of us who want to challenge ourselves, see some stunning wilderness, and encounter a solitude very few people have the privilege to experience. The runs may be bony at times, but the tight river canyon and emerald-green waters make everything worthwhile.

The long hike down to put-in

The long hike down to put-in

The trip starts with a four-mile hike down old mining roads through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness to put-in, where we'll pump up boats and camp our first night. After a simple breakfast the next morning, we'll be on our way! Day hikes, swimming holes, wildlife, geology, flora, fauna - all of it sure to amaze and inspire.

We'll probably only be doing one trip per year on the Chetco, with about 2 - 4 guests and 4 - 5 guides. We'll hope to break even, but as Zach said, "There are some things we do to pay the bills and there are some things we do because it's our passion. This is the passion side."

Originally Published: | Updated on



Molly Reagh

Molly moved to Hood River in 2013 to work for Northwest Rafting Co. Oregon's been treating her pretty well so far and she can't wait to see what awaits her downstream.

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