Sustainability is engrained in the core of what we do here at Wet Planet. We’ve made supporting the community and protecting the environment a core value within our operation. We’re working constantly to better our efforts to minimize our footprint by sourcing locally in the Columbia Gorge community. That is so easy, with the bounty it has to offer visitors, to folks that live here, but also for businesses that operate here and always look for ways to support and work together. Let’s take a walk through an average day at Wet Planet to show you what we mean!
The story of Wet Planet’s local sourcing starts even before you book your trip. You may see a t-shirt or our brochure at a local restaurant or B&B we partner with. That t-shirt you like is designed by a local graphic designer, Eliza Carver, and printed by a local printer, Columbia Graphics. Eliza’s brochure gets you excited so you decide to call and book a trip with Leah.
When your group arrives, you check in at our base with Kristy. Meanwhile, your group’s guides, whom you’re about to meet, are behind the scenes making sure the gear and rafts are prepped and ready to go. Once you’re checked in, Sheri makes you a cappuccino or coffee from 10-Speed Coffee Roasters in Hood River, and you might ask for a bagel from White Salmon Bakery or a cookie baked with Columbia Gorge Gluten Free Bakery cookie dough. Additional local companies in the café include Columbia Gorge Organic Juices and Good Medicine Tea.
You realize you forgot your water bottle for the day and decide to buy one. Miir is a new brand in our retail shop this year. A Washington-based company, they promise that a percentage of every product sale funds a trackable giving project, mostly designated for clean water and healthy living programs abroad.
Next, it’s time to suit up. You may notice that your wetsuit, booties, and some other gear isn’t brand new. You’re right, it’s not. Wetsuits are neoprene (rubber) and most are made from petroleum, so when our wetsuits get tears and holes we repair them instead of replacing them. They work just as well, we just keep them around here longer rather than putting them in a landfill — Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Now, you hit the river.
Your guide, John is on the board of Friends of the White Salmon River, a non-profit organization protecting the White Salmon River and its watershed. He shares a bit about the ecology of the river and tells you that he spoke yesterday at the 13th annual White Salmon River Festival. Started by Wet Planet in 2006, the festival is hosted annually to bring the community together in celebration of the invaluable social, recreational, agricultural and economic natural resource that so many of us love and call home.
The trip stops for lunch. Vince in our Café & Grill serves food and drinks daily, but he and his staff also make the meals for our full-day trips and kayak school. We’re proud of the food we serve because we use as many local ingredients as we can. Local food partners include Wild Columbia Salmon, Stonework Farm, Jean Marie’s Garden, White Salmon Baking Co., Blue Skies Bakery, Columbia Gorge Gluten Free, Mt. Shadow Natural Meats, Columbia Gorge Organics, Everybody’s Brewing, Backwoods Brewing, COR Cellars, Syncline Winery, Aniche Winery – and our list of sourcing locally in the Columbia Gorge keeps growing. We are like a Farmer’s Market here at Wet Planet! We use reusable cups, plates, and silverware, and we compost leftover food scraps with Dirt Hugger.
You return from your rafting trip and your friend wants to buy a t-shirt. New this year, we’re using shirts from econscious, an apparel company using organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes. We also have baseball caps from Recaps in White Salmon, each one-of-a-kind hat is crafted from old clothes, hand-carved block prints and reclaimed yarn.
On your way out, you see 30 kids arriving on a Mt. Adams Institute bus. In exchange for offering a discount to this non-profit and Forest Service partner program, we ask that they coordinate an additional community service project that will benefit or educate on our local environment. We enjoy using innovative ways to help improve and strengthen our community.
We know there’s always room for improvement when sourcing locally and operating sustainably. Whether we’re sourcing locally in the Columbia River Gorge Community, reusing and repairing our gear, or recycling our refuse, we strive for constant improvement and we’ve done so every day for 16 years.