Life at home has never been greener, as we take advantage of tax incentives for lowering energy usage, get around in hybrid vehicles, purchase products made out of recycled materials, and consider lessening our everyday footprint on the environment. We consider riding a bike to work instead of driving, urge others not to print out our emails, and take a re-usable (BPA free) water bottle to work or the gym. But how often do we set out to take a green vacation?
One of the best places to head on an environmentally friendly trip is one of the most spectacular outdoor destinations in the world – the Grand Canyon. Those fortunate enough to work in this revered place truly understand the concept of protecting the incredible natural beauty and delicate balance of the Canyon. Colorado River outfitters, Arizona River Runners, have long been practicing the principles of environmental stewardship and take their responsibility seriously. Arizona River Runners has been leading rafting excursions on the Colorado River since 1970, hosting guests on life changing 3 to 13 day trips that embody becoming “one with nature.”
Arizona River Runners promotes the “Leave No Trace” principles on their Colorado River trips, ensuring that the Grand Canyon will be unchanged by their presence. These practices include “packing in/packing out” (and yes, that means everything); leaving rocks, plants and other natural objects as they were found; staying on trails and proper campsite selection to minimize environmental impact; specified washing and campfire procedures; and respecting wildlife.
Arizona River Runners also supports and participates in the Grand Canyon Conservation Fund, which was established in 1988 and managed by a group of Grand Canyon National Park’s licensed river outfitters. Each year, roughly eighty percent of all professionally outfitted river trip passengers donate $1 per day of their river trip to the Grand Canyon Conservation Fund. Funds are awarded as grants to non-profit conservation groups and to provide outdoor experiences to those facing physical or socioeconomic challenges.
Arizona River Runners guides are also active participants in the Alternative Motorboat Project, an initiative endorsed by the National Park Service and started by river guides to develop and implement proven, environmentally-sensitive non-fossil fuel based motorboat propulsion systems with low noise and low or zero emission operating characteristics suitable for sustained commercial river operations. While this improved boat is being developed, Arizona River Runners is dedicated to on-going updating of low or no-maintenance equipment used on rafts, and currently uses state of the art, low emission, and 4-stroke outboard motor technology to minimize any disruption to the environment.
While taking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon and unplugging from the stress of everyday life, Arizona River Runners’ guests are fed hearty meals featuring locally grown produce and ingredients from natural food suppliers, as well as natural hormone-free and steroid-free meats and seafood. Guides proactively recycle everything used on Grand Canyon rafting trips as well, so environmentally conscious guests never have to worry that they are taking a vacation from their home recycling practices.
In short, if you are committed to the environment, consider getting out and experiencing the best that nature has to offer whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon. Escape the everyday and get up close to the beauty that will truly inspire you to go green for good.