This week’s fires in Southwest Oregon forced the cancellation of white water rafting tours on the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River. But some tour operators still have boats in the water, shuttling crews and equipment to and from the fires.
The steep and rugged terrain of the Rogue River Canyon makes for pretty sightseeing for tourists, but it’s also making access difficult for firefighters. At the request of fire managers, tour operators are launching as many as 10 boats a day to various locations along the fire’s perimeter.
Hugh Hague is the owner of Noah’s Wilderness Adventures in Ashland. He says he doesn’t know how long the trips will continue. But he says the sooner they end the better.
“We want to do absolutely anything that we can do to help these firefighters, but we also run businesses and everyday that that river is not accessible to the public is financially kind of scary,” said Hague.
While operators are getting paid for these trips, August is peak season for tourists. Hague estimates that collectively the industry is losing about $100,000 each day.