Get to Know This River Hero…

Get to Know This River Hero...

Meet river running pioneer and OARS Founder, George Wendt

George Wendt will be honored this week by Friends of the River with the prestigious Mark Dubois Award at the 2012 California River Awards.  The event honors those who have made outstanding contributions to river conservation, preservation and protection.

We might be a little biased, but that’s not the only thing that makes him a river hero in our eyes…

George, who is also co-founder of Sobek and recipient of the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, is a true pioneer in the adventure travel industry. His passion for running rivers was born in the 60s, when he became one of the first 1,100 people to descend the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. In the decades since, OARS has set the standard for first-class rafting, as well as environmentally and culturally responsible travel, on over 35 rivers and coastlines worldwide.

George has run first descents on some of the world’s most legendary rivers, fought to include California’s Tuolumne River in the National Wild and Scenic River System and helped to establish the Upper Navua Conservation Area in Fiji. He has also testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on River Preservation, and through OARS spearheads donations totaling more than $70,000 per year to dozens of conservation efforts. He has donated countless hours and river trips in support of youth, community and conservation causes and has helped introduce more than 500,000 people to the beauty of rivers and the natural world.

Don’t miss the video above to see how it all got started as George recounts some of his early rafting and conservation days.


Got another river hero you think we should know about?  We’d love to chat with them.  Tell us who it is below and why you think they’re a river hero.


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