Down the Hatch: American River Trailfest 2008

Posted June 15, 2008 by Malina

Once again the American River Conservancy’s annual fundraising event was a smashing sucess.  The day began with talks, seminars, and demonstrations for river guides and community members.  Highlights included a talk by Mark Dubois, the legendary conservationist who chained himself to a rock to try and save the Stanislaus River in the early 1970s.  The failure of that effort led to the creation of Friends of the River, an organization that works to protect and preserve river canyons and riparian environments.  All-Outdoors actually started out on the Stanislaus when we were just a baby company getting into the commercial side of whitewater rafting, so Mark’s efforts are particularly meaningful to us.  Our guides also really loved Bill Center’s discussion of his long history in the Coloma-Lotus Valley and the American River rafting scene.  Whitewater rafter, company owner, conservationist, and politician, Bill has been a major part of our community for a long time.  Our two-day South Fork American rafting trips are based out of Bill’s venerable campground, Camp Lotus–you might see him sorting recycling, trimming brush, or answering phones.  His wife Robin’s paintings decorate the walls of their deli/store. 


I missed the educational part of the day–and the baby animals, including a BEAR, why was I stuck in the office?!–but the evening’s festivities were great.  Local brewery Jack Russel donated kegs, and foothill winerys like David Girard poured vino.  Cafe Mahjaic’s BBQ’d corn was literally submerged in butter and other eateries provided tri-tip, salads, and chicken.  The silent auction was followed by the annual belly-dance performance, and then we all raised some serious dust and danced the night away to Joe Craven.  He’ll be featured at the American River Music Festival, so if you missed Trailfest, you can still get involved in another Coloma-Lotus Valley community event this September.


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