OARS Founder George Wendt To Be Inducted Into River Runners Hall of Fame

ANGELS CAMP, Calif. — The John Wesley Powell River History Museum will induct a class of three influential river runners into the River Runners Hall of Fame during their annual benefit banquet in Green River, Utah on September 29. Gaylord Staveley, Kenny Ross and OARS founder George Wendt will be honored at the event.

OARS Vice President, Steve Markle released the following statement:

“This is a well-earned honor for a man who often didn’t get the recognition he deserved while he was still alive. Not only was George Wendt a pioneer of non-motorized rafting in the Western U.S., but we’re talking about a man who, as one of the original founders of Sobek, facilitated some of the greatest first descents of all time, including Chile’s Bio Bio and the Zambezi on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Fiji he co-founded one of the most unique river-based ecotourism companies in the world and helped establish the country’s first internationally-recognized conservation area. He gave tirelessly to conservation groups at home and abroad and donated river trips for hundreds of under-resourced youth, veterans, and countless others. But at the end of the day, George was just a humble, gentle man who took a genuine interest in everyone he met.

“From his first river trip on the Colorado River through Glen Canyon as a UCLA student in June 1962, George was captivated by the beauty of wild places, and felt tremendous loss when both Glen Canyon and California’s Stanislaus River were later drowned behind dams. George understood that places like these needed to be shared, preserved and protected for future generations and in establishing OARS, he made it his mission to deliver people into the wilderness and generate excitement for wild places. In 47 years at the helm of OARS, no other outfitter helped connect more people with rivers than George.”

“We look forward to celebrating and honoring George along with Gaylord and Kenny. And we are all dedicated to honoring George’s legacy by continuing to introduce people to the wild places he knew and loved—and working to protect them for future generations.”

Markle, along with George’s sons, Tyler and Clavey Wendt and their families, will attend the banquet.