Preserving our environment, being an active part of our community, and sharing the beautiful bounty of Columbia River Gorge by getting people out whitewater rafting and kayaking is what we do here at Wet Planet. Year in and year out, we work with many educational organizations to provide the life-changing experience of whitewater to our community’s underserved, who might otherwise be unable to get on the river. In the month of July and throughout the summer we’re hosting hundreds of kids and adults in partnership with local organizations like Yakama Nation Fisheries, Mt. Adams Institute, VetsWork, Forest Youth Success, Cascade Mountain School, Adventure Treks and Rivers for all.
A Mt. Adams Institute program, VetsWork, offers career development programs for military veterans interested in wildfire landscape management, wildland firefighting, natural resources management, and public lands careers. VetsWork participants are placed at local, state, and federal land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service where they provide project support while learning about various career paths.
Cascade Mountain School, also a Mt. Adams Institute program, is a residential science, technology, engineering, and math program for students and is dedicated to cultivating individual responsibility and personal growth; fostering the creation of community and understanding of the natural world; and excelling in scientific inquiry, systems thinking, and sustainability studies.
Forest Youth Success employs Skamania County youth. During the program workers and mentors develop positive life skills that increase future employability. Forest Youth Success also teaches the fundamentals of land management, ecology, and responsibility. Crews spend the summer working alongside resource management professionals, assisting them in achieving infrastructure and ecosystem management objectives.
Rivers for All increases river access among local, under-served populations through free and low-cost, river-focused adventures, like rafting and kayaking, that deepen the connection to local watersheds and build leadership in our communities.
Yakama Nation Fisheries is a program that employs scientific expertise in concert with traditional ecological knowledge to develop innovative projects restoring culturally important fish runs in the Columbia River and its tributaries.
Wet Planet enjoys using innovative ways to help improve and strengthen our community and one way we do that is partnering with organizations like these. We urge groups to coordinate with the Yakama Nation Fisheries to provide community service projects in our local ecosystem and watershed. To contribute to the community in a personal way, Wet Planet has organized the annual White Salmon River Festival and Symposium since 2006. The festival celebrates the White Salmon River and all it brings to the community by bringing everyone together by providing fun, informational and educational events, while also giving back to the community with service projects and free and affordable community river events. Proceeds from the festival go to local non-profit organizations like Friends of the White Salmon River, SHARE the White Salmon River and Rivers for All.
The scope of these partnerships goes far beyond rafting and kayaking trips or a conservation project. Days in the wilderness and on the river teach planning, patience, and perseverance. Nature can make you feel big and small simultaneously, you can focus on what’s immediately in front of you while being aware of the vastness beyond your vicinity, and it develops connections with the river, its ecosystem, and our environment that last a lifetime.
Interested in introducing your son or daughter to the river? In addition to daily rafting trips on the White Salmon River, Wet Planet offers Kids’ Summer Kayak Camps, family-oriented Multiday Main Salmon River Rafting Idaho trips and more.
Author Mikey Goyette works on Wet Planet’s Marketing team. When he’s not in the office, you can find him in his kayak on the river, or on the river bank playing Spike Ball.