Friends of the River began in 1973 as a group of concerned citizens banded together to save the Stanislaus River.
Today, the Rafting Program is supported by 300+ river guides who are active volunteers for Friends of the River. The Rafting Program strives to enhance public awareness about rivers and water resources. We complement our on river outreach with off river policy advocacy, lobbying, and education. Each year, FOR advocates for the protection, restoration and sustainable use of approximately 75 rivers and streams throughout California. Read about the Rafting Program's 2009 season by clicking here.
Each volunteer lead Member Outing raft trip includes conversations about current issues facing California rivers and inspire participants to write a letter to the key political decision maker(s). In 2006, almost a thousand letters generated on the river culminated into grassroots pressure convincing the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to sign an agreement in principle for the relicensing of its Upper American River Project establishing many good tenants of sustainable water use including adequate water flow for wildlife and recreation for over 100 miles of river.
By providing people a first-hand experience with the rivers we seek to protect, we give the river an opportunity to leave a lasting impression that words could never convey.
One great way to be a river activist is to become a river guide
The Friends of the River Rafting Program sponsors guide training. Basic training teaches you how to be a competent and safe Class III Whitewater Paddle Guide while teaching you to be an effective advocate and activist as well. On shore classes include seminars on conservation issues, river hydraulics, safety and rescue information, trip organization, and much more. Our training program is performed at cost in order to be as affordable as possible. In return, the Rafting Program asks that you make a volunteer commitment to the Program. To learn more about guide training and download an application, click here.
The need to save rivers
Watersheds and rivers are our primary source of clean water for drinking, growing food, and manufacturing goods. Rivers are an important part of our picturesque natural landscape; things of great beauty and purpose that we need to protect for future generations.
Free flowing rivers use natural systems to effectively transport sediment and nutrients, provide riparian and aquatic habitat, renew topsoil in flood plains, and supply the aquifer and eventually complete nature's water cycle by flowing into the sea.
California’s rivers, streams, and their watersheds are increasingly diverted, dammed, and drained. It is important that each of us, especially youth that would not otherwise have the chance, experience and learn the profound ways rivers feed our lives and how we can in turn keep rivers alive. Check out our current issues and take action today, by clicking here.
Join a community, Inspire citizen action
On & Off the River. If you would like to learn more about volunteer oppurtunities "off-river" in our office or in the community, click here.