Whitewater rafting series gives Boxer students a taste of raft guiding

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The Outdoor Pursuits program at Pacific University is getting students involved in a whitewater rafting series this spring. The trip is common to the program, which includes two in-class sessions and three whitewater rafting trips.

The Clackamas River and the North Umpqua River rivers are where students learn rafting techniques. River choices are dependent on the flow and the water level during the spring. For this spring session, the series has 11 students and staff sign up who are excited to learn the tricks and trade of rafting.

Assistant Director of Outdoor Pursuits Sam Morrison is the leader of the whitewater rafting series. “River rafting is a very inclusive activity that almost everyone can enjoy at some level,” he said. “Rafting also leaves time for cooking and eating great food with new friends and time to learn about the natural history of the area.”

   To learn about the history of the river, the series is fortunate to have Pacific students Zoe Kelly and Dre Hanks to help Morrison through the adventure. With two classroom sessions, students learn hydrology, dynamic of the river, proper guide strokes, and how to use the necessary gear. Kelly and Hanks also teach participants how to navigate online resources like the United States Geological Survey and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration program.

On the three river trips students will learn how to guide paddles from the back of the raft, how to us oars and raft frames, how to rig rafts, and how to cook delicious riverside food.

At the end of the whitewater series, Morrison wants to give students a taste of raft guiding and potentially prepare them for paid raft guiding in the summer months. “The goal is to show students the magic of floating rivers and to connect them with incredible natural places in Oregon,” he said.


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