COVID-19 Update: Rafting in 2020!July 1st, 2020 Gregg Armstrong
To the All-Outdoors extended rafting family (those we know and those we have yet to meet):
Getting ready for this season has already been a wild ride, and we sincerely thank you for sticking with us. We’ve been working with our state and local agencies to decide when and how we can resume rafting. Unfortunately, we were unable to raft during the spring and early summer because of COVID-19 and the related restrictions. We have some good news on that front, though. We now have the green light to run trips again!
The following are season updates on what our trips look like this year and what we expect out of our guests:
When And Where We’re Rafting In 2020
We are currently running trips on the South Fork American River (including the Tom Sawyer Float Trips) and the Middle Fork American River. Both rivers have plenty of water this year and will run into the fall.
The sad news is that we won’t have a season on the Tuolumne River or Cherry Creek this year. For a variety of reasons, we simply aren’t able to put on a remote operation in that area. We’re as bummed as you are to not be out there, but at the same time we’re excited for the trips we are able to run elsewhere.
What A Rafting Trip Looks Like In 2020
Private Rafts With Fewer People.
Following state and county guidelines, we are NOT mixing groups of guests unless they are from the same household or within the same “social bubble”. What does that mean? It means you bring your own group* and get your own private raft(s). Each “private” raft on a trip will not mix with other “private” rafts on the same trip. To minimize the risk of COVID spread, we have also lowered the number of guests we are taking per raft. With all these changes, rafting this year feels more like a private, intimate experience than ever!
* Please note, private rafts require a minimum number of paid spaces per reservation. (All Middle Fork itineraries: 4 spaces; all South Fork itineraries: 4 spaces midweek / 6 spaces weekend departures.)
What You Can Expect On Your Trip
To help reduce the transmission of COVID-19, we are taking guidance from our state and local agencies. While we can’t eliminate the possibility of any guest contracting COVID during a trip, we have made several adjustments to lower the chances of spread. Here are some things you can expect this season:
- Prior to the trip, all participants must fill out a Health Declaration Form stating that in the 14 days before your trip you have neither experienced COVID-19 symptoms nor been exposed to anyone testing positive for COVID-19.
- For all trips in which lunch is provided, each participant must also fill out a Lunch Order Form. Unlike in previous years, we are packing individual lunches before the trip, so we need to take orders ahead of time.
- When you get to the river, there is a short screening process consisting of a few questions about how you are feeling to ensure you are symptom free.
- We are doing a couple things during the shuttle to reduce the chances of spreading COVID. First, we are taking fewer people in each vehicle so we can space out groups. Secondly, we have everyone apply hand sanitizer just before getting on the bus, and we require everyone to wear a face covering during the ride.
- We’ve made some changes during meals and at our facilities to keep things clean and keep people from staying too close together. Be ready for instructions on that during your trip.
What We Need From You
Keeping COVID down is a team effort. We hope you, our guests, will help us limit the risk of spreading the virus. Here’s how:
- We can’t take symptomatic people. So if you start experiencing symptoms in the days leading up to your trip you need to give us a call and we’ll help you reschedule.
- Bring hand sanitizer for personal use at times when we don’t have it available.
- Bring a face covering you can wear around your neck during the trip and use when necessary (at our facility, on shore, on board our shuttle vehicles, or when asked by guides). Scarves and Buff-style sleeves that hang around the neck work nicely. Masks that are flimsy or that loop around the ears are liable to fall off and therefore are not acceptable. If anyone forgets to bring an appropriate face covering, we have them available for purchase.
- Bring a water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated on a rafting trip, and during this time we don’t want people drinking from the same container. If you forget to bring a water bottle, we have those for purchase as well.
- If you come down with symptoms or test positive anytime in the 14 days following your trip, you must let us know. It’s important for us to share that information with local government agencies and other guests who were on the trip.
What If You Can’t Go Or We Can’t Go
We realize that COVID has made all our plans a little less certain. There’s a chance that you could be exposed to someone with the virus before your trip or even get it yourself and not be able to go. If there’s a spike in cases, the State could shut rafting down again. So let’s be in it together. When you book, you’re getting a rafting trip — no matter what. Ideally that will be just the trip you want on the day you want. But if that trip can’t go we’ll both agree to do it another time. If you can’t make it for any reason, we’ll give you your trip at a later date, either this year or in any future year. If we can’t run it for any reason, COVID or otherwise, you’ll agree to go another time.
For full details, see our updated Cancellation Policy.
Again, thank you so much for being patient and taking things one step at a time with us. We don’t know what the future will hold, but we are committed to running healthy and extremely fun rafting trips.
For more information on state and local regulations regarding whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities, you can visit the following resources:
- The State of California COVID 19 Industry Guidance: Campgrounds, RV Parks, and Outdoor Recreation.
- A Message from the El Dorado County Public Health Officer.