Mighty Waterways 7

Colorado River Discovery Leads the Way in River Sustainability

The beauty of the Colorado River is undeniable. In fact, it was the river’s awe-inspiring wonder and the deep desire to protect it that inspired long-time rafting experts and friends Scott Seyler, John Vail and Mark Grisham to found Colorado River Discovery in 2006.

Today, Colorado River Discovery is a flourishing 65-team member business that takes 50,000+ visitors on rafting tours each year, while maintaining an ardent dedication to preserving the river. It is also very much a family affair, with Scott’s son Korey Seyler taking the helm as general manager, and Korey’s wife Shawn working for the company as well.

“We are all very passionate about the business,” says the younger Seyler. “Since 2006 we’ve been running trips on the Colorado River, and it’s been an absolute pleasure for all three of them as well as myself.”

A Rafting Adventure

To truly experience all the breathtaking beauty of the river, Colorado River Discovery’s famous one-day trips, which run from March to November, and half-day trips in the summer months, provide a rare glimpse of some of the less-traveled areas along this mighty waterway. Based in Page, Arizona, they operate a 15-mile stretch down from the towering Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry; with destination stops varying depending on what trip you take.

“What’s great about these trips is that they really open the river to the world. All different ages and ability levels are able to enjoy this beautiful resource and scenery,” says Korey.

Preserving the River

To ensure that the Colorado River maintains its natural beauty and continues to be a flourishing ecosystem, Colorado River Discovery has made it their mission to stay at the forefront of sustainability initiatives—with even the smallest of efforts making a large impact when it comes to protecting the river.

Take, for instance, their “Smart Green Systems Program,” which focuses on creative ways to recycle, reuse programs and education. They also operate a completely sustainable facility, encouraging guests to purchase reusable water bottles and use their water refill station, along with providing recyclable lunch bags.

“It’s really important for us to educate not only our staff, but also our guests on how to protect this river and to really see that it is a special place,” explains Seyler.

New Horizons: The Electric Raft

The team’s deep passion for the river has led them not only to be stewards of it, but also cutting-edge pioneers in sustainability efforts aimed at preserving it.

“It was their mission to really move forward and do everything they could to protect the resource they would be offering here. They made a commitment to stay on top of the technology and research,” shares Seyler.

That commitment has led them to create the first 100 percent electric raft to be launched on the Colorado River. The remarkably innovative raft is a true zero-emissions transportation device, which greatly reduces the impact on the river and the noise pollution caused by fuel motors. They even teamed up with the Bureau of Reclamations to build a charging station for the raft, drawing its power directly from the Glen Canyon Dam, and providing a completely renewable energy source through hydroelectric power.

The raft, which will make its maiden voyage in Spring 2016, is just the first step for Colorado River Discovery in creating a completely sustainable way to enjoy the river.

As Seyler puts it, “We really need to protect these beautiful lands; and it’s not just us, everyone needs to be stewards of these places. We need to see it as it is and leave it as it was.”