WRO Response to COVID-19
Updated March 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 unfolds, along with the rest of the outdoor industry and global community. Most of our river trips are still months away. Given the rapid rate of change in the situation here at home and abroad, we encourage all guests with 2020 reservations to wait before altering their 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. Those protocols have always included the following: adhering to safe food handling procedures, 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 have decided it’s the right decision to cancel our April Owyhee trips given the current situation, however at this time we do not anticipate canceling future trips starting late May, June or the rest of the summer. If there is the decision to cancel future trips, anyone booked on those dates will obviously be updated immediately. We continue to highly recommend purchasing traveler’s insurance, which will protect your losses on certain non-refundable trip costs in the event of an unexpected cancellation. Every policy is different and there are many levels of coverage available. Virtually all will cover cancellation due to illness, and many cover quarantine in the same manner. If you are concerned about airline travel, look into companies that offer policy upgrades like “cancel for any reason” (such as Travel Guard or Travelex), and consider alternative modes of transportation. Many airlines have altered change fees and cancellations due to the current situation.
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 are working on drafting a rescheduling policy that may become available should the current situation continue into the summer rafting season.
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 extending into the 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. In such cases, we could provide a full refund in line with our current cancellation policy.
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.