A History of Whitewater Rafting in the West

raft with professionalsHave you ever thought about what people did before today’s advanced transportation? Well long ago, whitewater rafting was one of the first forms of transportation. Rafts and canoes were used by Native Americans while navigating through North America’s vast waterways. This made it possible to transport people and supplies as well as hunt for food. 

In 1811 the Overland Astorians were recorded as the first to navigate Wyoming’s Wild Snake River. In 1842, Lieutenant John Fremont began to explore the Platte River. He invented a modern day rubber raft with Horace H. Day. The intention was to survey the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. This raft consisted of four rubber cloth tubes with a wrap-around floor.  

The earliest rafts were once built out of logs, reeds and planks which were all fastened together to form a floating vessel. As technology evolved, a life raft was developed by the military. It was not until the 20th century that commercial rafting trips were available.  

In the 1960s, rafting was officially established and several whitewater rafting companies were running tours in the heart of the Grand Canyon. Just ten years later, rafting was included in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, and again in the 1992 Barcelona Games and 1996 Atlanta Games.  

Companies that focused mainly on whitewater rafting between the 1960s and 1970s started to gain popularity and mostly in the western states. Once the 1980s came around, tons of major rivers around the world were being explored by private rafting companies. The International Federation of Rafting was established in 1997 and by 1999, they held the first competitive championship.  

8-14-09 Browns  021Whitewater rafting companies 
continue to expand and keep making an impact on today’s adrenaline-packed adventures. If you are one that enjoys the outdoors and love great thrill then rafting is a sport to pick up. If independent rafting is down your alley and are in need of rentals, check out Colorado River Rentals!  Do not wait any longer, come check it out and get that gear booked for your next rafting trip this summer!