OARS Celebrates Pride Month, Launches Two New LGBTQ+ Adventure Offerings

Rafting on the South Fork of the American River with members of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center
Rafting on the South Fork of the American River with members of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center | Photo by Dylan Silver

Angels Camp, Calif. — OARS believes public lands should be safe, inclusive and fun for everyone, which is why the river outfitter is launching its 4th Annual Pride Month on the American River this June. To date, with the help of its guests, OARS has raised nearly $10,000 for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center through its month-long initiative. Additionally, OARS is launching two new LGBTQ+ adventure offerings on Idaho’s Main Salmon River and the Green River through Desolation Canyon in Utah.

“You save what you love, and you love what you know,” is an expression that George Wendt, the founder of OARS, was especially fond of. Wendt started OARS with the goal of taking people of all walks of life out on rivers, because he knew that the more personal something is to you, the harder you will fight to protect it—and everyone’s access to it.

“This is one more way we’re working to expand George’s vision, stay true to our purpose, and become stronger advocates for the LGBTQ+ community along the way,” said Steve Markle, vice president of sales and marketing for OARS. “The only time anybody should feel like an ‘outsider’ is when they are literally outside climbing a mountain, splashing through rapids, or sleeping under the stars. We’re committed to making that our reality—and that starts right here at home.”

Markle said that OARS is excited to expand these affinity spaces with multi-day rafting trips on the Main Salmon in Idaho and the Green River though Desolation Canyon in Utah. 

“Anytime you can bring historically marginalized groups together on the river to celebrate who they are in a natural setting is amazing. Rivers are great equalizers that don’t care about sexual orientation, gender or nationality; they treat everyone the same,” said Moab-based guide and OARS Canyonlands Operations Manager, John “JC” Covington, who worked with LGBTQ+ rights advocate and professional adventurer, Mikah Meyer, on his film Canyon Chorus. “The OARS affinity trips offer a space where you can fully be yourself, celebrate who you are and focus on the adventure. To me, that’s one of the most appealing aspects of guiding these trips.”

From booking a spot on a multi-day LGBTQ+ offering to enjoying a splashy day trip on the American, guests can take their pick on how to celebrate Pride this June—or all season long. 

As part of the month-long Pride initiative, when you join any South Fork of the American River rafting adventure in California with OARS Sunday through Friday during the month of June, OARS will donate $5 per person to the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. Additionally, when you purchase a ticket to Sacramento Pride weekend, you will also receive a special promo code to save $50 per person on any Sunday through Friday South Fork of the American River adventure for you and your crew.

The Sacramento LGBT Community Center’s mission is “to create a region where all LGBTQ+ people thrive; we support health and wellness, advocate for equity and justice, and work to uplift our diverse and culturally rich LGBTQ+ community.”

About OARS

In 1969, OARS became the first exclusively non-motorized rafting outfitter authorized by the National Park Service to run trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Today OARS caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries worldwide, including one-day and weekend escapes. Each year the company contributes to regional conservation organizations around the globe via voluntary donations and annual fundraising events, and in partnership with their guests, OARS has contributed more than $6 million in donations and fees toward the preservation of the environment and to various conservation initiatives since the company’s inception. For more information on OARS’ eco-friendly adventures, visit www.oars.com, email the company at [email protected] or call 1-800-346-6277.

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