We love working with partners who share our passion for helping protect wild places around the world. One of the many natural wonders we are passionate about protecting is the Grand Canyon. We have partnered with numerous other organizations dedicated to helping protect the Grand Canyon and today we bring you a Q&A with our co-brand partners Grand Canyon Whitewater and Arizona River Runners (GCW/ARR) who work together as one to help protect what is said to be the crown jewel of our national parks.
KK: What is it about the Grand Canyon that makes it such a unique place worth protecting?
GCW/ARR: The Grand Canyon is an amazing place on so many different levels. From a geologic perspective, you can see rock layers of the Canyon that each contain a chapter of the Earth's history. From a human perspective, you can see structures and historical passageways that are a record of a cultural chapter from some 12,000 years ago to the present. The Grand Canyon is one of Earth's most powerful and inspiring landscapes; we offer people the opportunity to explore its wild beauty.
KK: What are some of Grand Canyon Whitewater/ Arizona River Runners’ key sustainability and stewardship initiatives?
GWW/ARR: Grand Canyon Whitewater/Arizona River Runners consider ourselves to be stakeholders with the ultimate responsibility of protecting the Grand Canyon. Our warehouse operations, river equipment, recycling programs and guide training are part of how we truly become stewards of the Canyon. Protecting riparian zones, trail stabilization and beach cleaning are parts of every trip.
KK: What can ordinary people do to learn more about the Grand Canyon and take action to help protect it?
GCW/ARR: Together we were some of the founding members of the Grand Canyon Fund, a non-profit organization with the goal of protecting the Canyon and educating the public on how they can help. We encourage all of our guests to donate $1 per day of their river trip to this organization which has collected and distributed over $1 million to date from various companies that operate in the Canyon. Even if people can’t explore the Canyon with us, we recommend they learn about the conservation issues currently facing it from organizations like American Rivers and the Grand Canyon Trust and then act by signing petitions to help address those issues that threaten the Grand Canyon.
KK: Do you have any stories of guides or clients going above and beyond to help protect the Grand?
GCW/ARR: It is amazing to think about but some 20,000 people per year see the Grand Canyon by raft. You would think with that amount of people in the backcountry that there would be trash on the beaches and in the water but that just isn't the case. Our river guides make a very concerted effort to educated guests about the Leave No Trace principles, even making a point about 'micro-trash.' Every little bit adds up and GCW/ARR makes every effort to keep the Grand Canyon beautiful and clean. It actually becomes a game to guides/guests If they do see a piece of floating trash in the river to maneuver the raft to it and pull it out!
KK: Why did you decide to partner with Klean Kanteen to help advance your stewardship initiatives?
GCW/ARR: In previous seasons, we would give our guests plastic mugs before the river trip started. Guests would sometimes lose them or break them during their river trip. We found that, inherently, these mugs did not meet the level of sustainability that GCW/ARR strives for. We reached out to Klean Kanteen to see if there was a better and more sustainable option. There was. We knew not only the quality of the Klean Kanteen product but also that our guests would take their mug home and use it for years. We like to encourage the #BringYourOwn lifestyle that the mugs help make possible.
What kind of feedback do you get about the Klean Kanteen products from clients?
Our guests have been very impressed with the quality of the vacuum insulated Klean Kanteen mugs, even to the point of saying that it keeps the coffee “too hot!”