Before joining the Idaho Conservation League’s staff, I was a commercial river guide for almost 20 years. I fell in love with running rivers because it calms my mind and I get to share what I treasure with others. 

Whether for 2 hours or 2 weeks, floating on a river, especially one that’s designated Wild and Scenic and deep in the heart of Wilderness, allows me to escape the daily worries I carry: working full time while helping take care of my little girl, worrying about the health of family and friends who live faraway, etc… 

This past year has been tough for everyone so a multi-day river trip is the perfect chance to let these worries fall by the wayside and recharge. No cell phone. No Internet. No TV. Daily deadlines and commitments placed on hold. Completely cut off from the news. 

Besides an escape from the modern world, a float trip is an opportunity to be reminded of the beauty of the natural world: how large it is, how small one feels among the tall trees, the rugged mountains, the clear and swift river. 

I’ve run rivers all across the country and the Salmon is one of my favorites. The river corridor flows through some of the wildest spaces in the lower 48. It was surveyed for railroads and highways. Fortunately, those ideas were scrapped, and this land now enjoys the highest form of landscape protection available in the United States, a designation by Congress as Wilderness. 

The main Salmon River is in the heart of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. This river also was designated as Wild and Scenic in 1980. This is the land of ospreys, eagles, bears, wolves, deep canyons, high mountains and clear water. It was once a thoroughfare for millions of salmon.

If you’ve never taken a long river trip, you might not know that there are some things you can reasonably expect: guides who do their best to keep you safe, tasty meals, wet and rocky rapids, beautiful vistas, wildlife, the groover. As a former guide, I can attest that the guides on this trip will be phenomenal. They collectively have decades of experience. They’ll be the first ones up and the last ones to bed, and they’ll make running the river seem effortless. They’ll share stories and teach natural history. They’ll prepare fabulous meals. And if all that isn’t enough, they’ll be fun (see video below).


Going into a trip like this, your fellow guests are mostly an unknown. They can range in age from teenagers to seniors. It could be their first multi-day camping or river trip, or it could be their umpteenth. But one thing is for certain that will make this trip more special than most; this particular group will come together with a shared belief in the importance of conserving our wildest places.

If you’re interested in this incredible wilderness experience, please consider joining ICL’s Executive Director Justin Hayes, fellow travelers who care about Idaho’s wild places, and guides from Confluence River Expeditions to spend a week (June 28 to July 2) in the rapids that span this wild corridor. 

Become an ICL Member!

Idaho is a phenomenal state for Wilderness and for Wild and Scenic Rivers, with room for more of both! Make sure you are in the know about how to best chime in on new wilderness and wild and scenic designations by becoming an ICL member. You’ll support our work to protect these amazing landscapes and streams, and we’ll keep you updated on ongoing wilderness proposals and more! 

Another benefit of being a member? You’ll get first dibs on next summer’s river trips! 🙂  Sign up below if you’d like to be contacted about this year’s main Salmon trip. Spots are going fast!