WRO Response to COVID-19
Updated April 23rd, 2020

In times like these, the pillars of biology and common sense tell us that remote river canyons and other wilderness landscapes are some of the safest places to be, far removed from the crowds and shared public spaces of the urban world. However, we understand the obvious concerns surrounding the travel required to get to the starting points of many river trips, as well as concerns about traveling with a group of people coming from different areas of the country.

The health and well-being of our guests and guides is of utmost importance to Wilderness River Outfitters. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it continues to unfold, along with the rest of the outdoor industry and global community. Many of our river trips are still months away. Given the rapid rate of change in the situation here at home and abroad, we encourage guests with 2020 reservations to wait until 45 days prior to your trip departure before altering your summer plans. In the meantime, please join us in following WHO and CDC guidelines to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and your communities healthy.

For WRO, following these guidelines means reviewing and strengthening our already rigorous health and sanitation procedures in preparation for the upcoming season. We are also participating in creating an Idaho outfitter response to COVID-19, determining how to best ensure the safety of our community, guests and staff. Current protocols have always included the following: adhering to safe food handling recommendations, frequent disinfection of communal surfaces, easily accessible hand washing stations at every camp and lunch stop, and thorough cleaning of all gear and vehicles between trips. WRO takes pride in the pristine nature of the wilderness landscapes we operate in. As such, cleanliness is essential to our mission. 

We did decide that canceling our April Owyhee trips was the right thing to do given the current situation, and several May trips have been canceled. However, at this time, we do not anticipate canceling trips in June or the rest of the summer. If there is the decision to cancel future trips, anyone booked on those dates will be updated immediately. With that said, we understand the uncertainty of the current situation. WRO is committed to providing our guests with a fair policy that takes into account the unprecedented nature of COVID-19. We have drafted a rescheduling policy that is available 45 days prior to your trip. This includes transferring your reservation to 2021 (depending on the trends of the COVID-19 situation), or to a trip later this season when possible. If you wish to continue with the reservation you have for 2020, we encourage that at this time. In the event we are unable to run the trip we will work with you to reschedule at least 14 days prior to the launch departure either for later in the 2020 season or 2021 season with no change fee, or we can issue you a gift certificate to be used on any future WRO trip. If we are unable to run the trip, we can offer a refund in line with our regular cancellation policy, but ask that you consider how this will impact small businesses and our employees during this time. Please understand that rescheduling rather than cancelling your trip is extremely helpful.

Other revisions to our policies may continue as we respond appropriately to evolving health guidelines and travel advisories. You will be promptly updated of any notable changes affecting your reservation. Please be assured that the health and safety of our community, staff, and guests is our top priority. In the face of heightened risks over the upcoming summer months, we will consider measures such as prohibiting guides or guests from attending trips if they have recently traveled through locations designated above a certain CDC warning level.

While being prepared is essential, we’re hopeful that evidence suggests COVID-19 may de-escalate considerably by the time river season arrives. In the meantime, keep in mind the ever-increasing importance of wilderness. We think everyone should be taking advantage of our public lands this summer, enjoying the respite nature provides from the chaos of news media and social networks. Free-flowing rivers and wild landscapes are places where the noise quiets, everything slows, and we’re reminded of what it means to be human.  


Seth Tonsmeire
WRO President


Loki enjoying a day of practicing social distancing out on the Salmon River around town.