ACA Swiftwater Rescue Experience

2 06 2017

live bait

If I had to identify with just one sport, it would be cycling. I’m an instructor for Bike Safety Education and Mountain Bike Adventure summer camps through the River House Outdoor Center. I raced extensively for seven years, two at the national level, and worked at bike shops for several years.  I have taught numerous bike skills clinics. When it comes to biking, I know my stuff.

That is not the case with river sports. While I have enjoyed some time rafting, canoeing, SUP’ing, or just hanging out and playing in the water, I’m a total beginner at all river and paddle sports. The truth is, the river scares me a little. I have never been very sure of what’s going on under that blue shimmer and white splashes, so I have remained hesitant to get completely obsessed with any river sport. I tried learning to kayak years ago, and just couldn’t get the roll down, so I gave up.

This will be my first summer working for the River House, and I plan to utilize all the opportunities available to me to expand my knowledge and add to my skills. Oregon offers so many awesome rivers, full fun activity and adventure, so I set for myself the goal to learn more skills and become proficient in a variety of river activities. A big first step was taking a Swiftwater Rescue certification class through American Canoe Association (ACA). I had to miss a few great mountain bike rides, but dedicating my weekend to personal growth and education was absolutely worth it!

Our instructor, Marciel Bieg, also a River House employee, started by laying the groundwork and philosophy—our priorities when doing a rescue. Number one, don’t become another victim! Just a few hours in the classroom covered all the basics. Then we learned to use throw ropes on dry land. By afternoon we were practicing rescue techniques in a rapid near the Autzen Footbridge.

On day two we learned a variety of anchor systems and mechanical advantage systems. My knowledge of rock climbing anchors really helped here, but even those with little experience learned to create safe anchors from a variety of materials. Then we piled on a bus and took to Row River to practice our skills.

We floated down a small rapid, practiced throw ropes and live bait rescue techniques. One of my favorite parts was trying to wade across the swift-moving river. It was a huge challenge, and I found myself floating downstream, never making it to the other side. We crossed with partners, and even rescued a “victim” as a group.

This experience helped me gain an enormous amount of confidence in the river. I am now able to advance my skills and knowledge of rafting and SUP’ing, knowing that I can handle whatever situation arises and help keep myself and the people around me safe.

This course is not just for professional guides. Literally ANYONE spending time in and around the river—it’s Eugene, so that’s pretty much everyone—would benefit from taking a Swiftwater Rescue course, or some kind of river safety education material our course.

I’m looking forward to an awesome summer full of mountain biking and river adventures!

-Misha Fuller

(The River House Instructor Development Fund makes money available for staff to use to better their skills through classes and training. In return the River House receives highly skilled staff and blog posts describing their experiences.)

crossing

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Who says Skating is an Urban Endeavor?

16 03 2017

NORTHBOUND | Skateboarding on Frozen Sand 4K from Turbin Film on Vimeo.

Skaters and artistic expression go together like peanut butter and jelly.  This new video from the frozen Norway coast continues to push what can be skated and how to beautifully film it.          “It’s cool to be somewhere where the eagles want to be.”

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How Small Things may help Overcome Fear

15 03 2017

snowshoeBird2

Sometimes what seems a simple activity to some, can be a challenge to others.  You may know, if you put sunflower seeds in your hand and hold very, very still, the birds will come when near alpine environments.  Habituating wildlife to humans is frowned upon, but in this instance, it was a challenge for overcoming fear.

Cary is a gentleman working to overcome fear and nervous about life after spending significant time in prison.  After a conversation about overcoming fears in daily life, he decided to try having a bird land on his hand even though he was really scared to do so.

Cary succeeded in his goal and has not stopped talking about it since.  This is a simple, but good reminder how healing nature can be, especially when you transfer the learning that happens outside into your daily regime.

Sponsor Inc. Mentor program helps match community volunteers with men and women just released from prison. The role of mentors is to guide and support these individuals into a successful reentry into our community, and they only ask for about 4-6 hours of your time each month.

For More info, contact:

Jen Jackson at Sponsors 541-505-5663

For an additional article about Sponsors from Outside Magazine see:

https://eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/is-nature-the-key-to-rehabilitating-prisoners/

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Is Nature the Key to Rehabilitating Prisoners?

5 12 2016

prisoners-nature-illo_h

Once released, the formerly incarcerated face a daunting set of challenges­—a job, a place to live, and, most urgently, breaking the cycle of bad friends and bad habits that can lead to more prison time. Now scientists and activists are asking whether nature may be essential to helping them build new lives.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2110396/great-escape

The linked article from Outside Magazine features our long time instructor Jen Jackson who also runs the mentorship program at Sponsors, an organization in Eugene that helps the formerly incarcerated relearn life beyond prison.

As a lover of the outdoors and the happiness it can bring to one’s life; I can only guess it could do wonders for others that are lost in the negatives that have gotten them in the correctional system.  The article highlights some successes and challenges in creating such a program; currently the only one in the nation.

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River run, wisely

27 10 2016

Be prepared, be realistic when rafting, paddling waterways, local guide advises

June 18, 2016

There are plenty of reasons why thousands of people are lured to water every summer.

It could be the sound of water flowing over rocks, the cool breeze that comes off the surface, the refreshing feel on a hot day or the wildlife such an outing attracts.

Whatever the reason, city of Eugene recreation programmer Aimee Goglia and her team of rafting guides know to expect it every year. That’s why they offer so many rafting opportunities — through city summer camps, school field trips and groups such as Nearby Nature and McKenzie River Trust.

Run out of the River House Outdoor Program on N. Adams Street in Eugene, the rafting program also coordinates trips with all the community centers. The River House program does not compete with private outfitters — groups wanting a tour guide and a raft trip are encouraged to call private rafting outfitters.

The rafting season can start as early as April and run through September. At the height of summer, Goglia and her staff of 20 guides are coordinating about five trips a week.

This summer, a rafting camp through the Wayne Morse Family Farm runs July 11 through July 15. Youths ages 6 to 8 will float the Willamette and older kids will float the McKenzie. Another camp based at the Sheldon Community Center will take kids ages 6 to 11 on the Mc-Kenzie River the week of August 1.

Program staff floats the Willamette and Mc-Kenzie rivers often enough to really know the rivers, appreciate their beauty and understand the inherent dangers. They are experts at teaching people the basics of floating these local waterways.

river run, wisely

Inflatable rafts dot the Willamette River west of the put-in spot at Aspen and D streets in Springfield. River guide Aimee Goglia led the outing for elementary-age students from Eugene and taught them water safety. (Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard)

 

 

Staying safe

Goglia says one of the most important safety tips is to pick an appropriate river for your skill level and to never go alone.

“People should know the river and the runs and be aware of their skill level in relationship to the river,” she says. “People should ask questions about the hazards in the river.”

A common, and potentially deadly hazard, is a “strainer” — a piece of debris in the river that allows water to flow through but would trap a person. A downed log or a shopping cart could be a strainer.

If a person fell out of their raft, she should swim aggressively away from hazards such as strainers and only stand up when moving water is calf-deep or shallower. A swimmer also should swim toward the boat closest to him.

Because falling out of a boat is always a possibility, Goglia recommends always wearing a properly-fitted life jacket.

She said she sees a lot of people overuse ropes and lines in their boats and loose lines can cause people to get entangled in them.

“More ropes in the water causes more chaos,” she says. “People can get tangled on them.”

Above all, Goglia tells boaters to “remain calm.” She says panicking will only lead to bad decisions.

Enviro ethic

Safety extends beyond humans. Goglia wants boaters to follow the leave-no-trace environmental ethic to protect wildlife and the environment as well.

“We are passing through critters’ homes,” she says. “People should pack everything out that they brought and take only pictures on their trip.”

Feeding the animals only hurts them in the end — people food is unhealthy for wildlife, helps them lose their natural fear of people and can cause them to conflict with people.

Goglia also hopes boaters take a look at the shoreline before stopping. In some cases, killdeer or Canada geese are nesting and the presence of people could disrupt the nest.

Another common activity to avoid on the shoreline: urinating — it’s no joke.

On the Willamette and McKenzie rivers, the volume of water is so large that peeing in the river is preferable to on the shore. “It has more of an impact if people pee on shore,” she says.

Where to go

Goglia has an array of great float trips on the tip of her tongue, and she encourages people to call the River House for help when planning a trip.

For beginners looking for local, short day trips with Class I or II river stretches (that is, an easy, calm section with occasional rapids that are easy to maneuver around), Goglia recommends these:

Up the McKenzie River, put in at Helfrich and take out at Leaburg Dam or at the EWEB boat landing.

Also on the Mc-Kenzie, put in at Armitage County Park and take out on the Willamette River at Marshall Landing on the left, southeast of Junction City. There is also a river right take-out outside Coburg at Cross Roads Lane, the road where Agrarian Ales is located.

On the Willamette River, put in at Island Park in Springfield and take out at River House in Eugene (which does not have a boat ramp) or across the river at Valley River Center. For a shorter run, take out at Alton Baker Park.

On the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, put in at Pengra Access Boat Ramp west of Dexter Lake and take out at Clearwater Park in Springfield.

On the Willamette, put in at Aspen Street/Alton Baker Park and take out at Whitley Landing County Park, in north Eugene.

Dancing on the river

Many of Goglia’s raft guides are younger people who have done raft trips through the city’s summer camp program or through their local elementary school. Goglia loves to see kids connect with the water in the same way she has.

“I love rowing,” Goglia says. “There is a beautiful flow. It is such a dance on the river. When done right, you are finessing rather than muscling your way through a rapid.”

More Out and About articles »


Plan a trip

Following are a few resources to help plan a river outing:

McKenzie River Guides: A comprehensive listing of river guides and outfitters for the McKenzie River; mckenzieguides.com.

Oregon Paddle Sports: 520 Commercial St., offers classes and rentals for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and rafting. Also connects with rafting guides; oregonpaddlesports.com.

River House Outdoor Program: 301 N. Adams St. For information about river and float trips, call 541-682-5329; eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com. Also, Aimee Goglia leads private whitewater rowing lessons at $40 for a minimum of three hours. Call 541-682-6358 for an appointment or email aimee.n.goglia@ci.eugene.or.us

The University of Oregon Outdoor Program: 1225 E. 18th Ave. Rental equipment available for members and nonmembers. Summer hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; outdoorprogram.uoregon.edu.

The Willamette Water Trail Guide: This is an excellent resource for planning a river trip, Goglia says, including equipment must-haves; willamettewatertrail.org/about-the-water-trail.

Life Jackets

Sponsored by the Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the Eugene Emerald Valley Rotary Club, the sixth annual Life Jacket Exchange Event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Springfield Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway St. Here’s how it works: Bring outgrown or unused life jackets to Cabela’s and exchange it for a properly fitted child’s life jacket. Experts on hand will check for proper fit. Call 541-682-4179 for information.


Full article can be found at: http://registerguard.com/rg/life/weekend/34415389-289/river-run-wisely.html.csp

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The Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running

6 10 2016

by 

Whether you’re stuck in a running rut, bored by your neighborhood routes or just plain hate the treadmill, it might be time to leave the road behind and head to the trails. And you won’t be alone: More than 5.8 million runners around the country have already discovered an all-natural running high in the great outdoors. According to a recent Sports and Industry Fitness Association survey, trail running in the U.S. increased by more than eight percent from 2011 to 2012. But fresh air and tranquility are only a few of the reasons people are running away from the busy streets and into the wild woods.

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Endurance runner Ian Sharman, during the Western States 100 ultra marathon. Photo courtesy of ultrarunning.com

But endurance runner Ian Sharman, a trail running expert, certified NASM personal trainer and USATF coach, says trail running is also about adventure. “I first got started with trail running in 2004 when I saw Marathon of the Sands, a documentary about racing in the Sahara Desert,” says Sharman, who wasn’t even a runner at the time. “I called up a friend, convinced him to train with me, and 18 months after seeing the film I ran the Marathon des Sables.” Sharman has since completed more than 180 marathons and ultramarathons, most recently winning the grueling 2013 Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run.

How to Get Started

If you’re ready for an adventure of your own, follow Sharman’s lead as he shares some of the best tips beginners should know before hitting the trails. We’ll cover everything from gear to etiquette to conquering those hills — and how to stay safe every step of the way.

1. Blaze a Trail

You don’t have to trek into a deep, dark forest to begin. “Trail running includes anything that is off-road and away from paved surfaces,” Sharman says. “It could be as simple as a bike path or just running in the grass, dirt or sand.” Beginners can get started on flat terrain, perhaps with a cross-country run in the grass of a park. “Since you’ll still be around other people, you don’t have to worry about getting lost,” he says. From there, consider joining a local trail running group or find popular trails in your area. While it may seem intimidating at first, trail running “is a very welcoming, friendly community and something anyone who enjoys the act of running itself can do,” Sharman says.

2. Grab the Right Gear

While you’re probably not going to reach mud run levels of filthiness, you’re still likely to get pretty dirty in a more rugged environment, so wear clothing you don’t mind getting messy or ripped. As for shoes, whatever running sneakers you normally lace up are generally fine — again, as long as you don’t mind them getting dirty or wet. Many people think trail-specific footwear, much like a hiking shoe, offers runners more stability. But the act of trail running, with all its bouncing around, actually strengthens your ankles all on its own. “Specialized shoes do become important in trail running when you need more grip on trails that are muddy and slippery, or more cushioning for rougher, sharper terrain,” he says.

And just like any adventure, it’s best to come prepared with some basic essentials. These include water (usually in the form of a sleek handheld bottle or a hydration pack), bug spray and a headlamp if you plan to run when it’s dark outside.

3. Put Safety First

If you do progress out of the local park and go more remote, think of trail running with the same precautions you would use for hiking, Sharman advises. Tell someone where you’re going and bring a map and cell phone (in the off chance you get lost). It’s also a good idea to run with a friend if possible and do a little research on what wildlife might be lurking in the area.

Sharman also suggests leaving headphones at home so you’re able to stay tuned in to your surroundings and mindful of other runners (plus, research says a strong connection to nature does the mind and body good!). As for keeping your eyes peeled, proper road running form generally means keeping your gaze tall, not down at your feet. But with trail running, you’ll need to be more conscious about where you’re stepping. As you run, look a few yards ahead of you on the trail to watch for trail markers — and so you don’t trip on tree roots or land head first in a muddy puddle.

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McKenzie River Trail, a popular destination for trail running. Photo courtesy of singletrack.com

4. Take It Slow (Or Even Walk!)

On smaller trails, it’s proper etiquette to be courteous to walkers and hikers. So don’t blow right by them just because you’re faster; maintain a safe distance between other runners and let faster runners go ahead of you.

“In road running and racing, it’s about competition and times, but trail running is a bit more relaxed and for fun,” says Sharman (the same guy who holds the record for fastest U.S. time in a 100-mile trail race, mind you). If you’re obsessive about crunching your Garmin’s numbers, recognize that trail running is more about effort level than splits and pace per mile.

Runners will usually be much slower on trails than they are on roads, due to the challenges of the natural terrain and its unforeseen obstacles that force you to slow down. In a recent race, Sharman says he switched from a 20 min/mile to 5 min/mile when he was faced with a massive hill. Unlike road racing, walking is not frowned upon or considered “giving up” and is seen as one of the most important ways of getting to the finish line. “Walking is a very valid part of trail running, especially the longer it gets or the tougher the terrain is,” says Sharman. “Many people, including myself, say they ‘run 100 miles,’ but very few people literally ‘run’ every step.”

5. Find Your High

Trail running may still sound challenging to beginners, but Sharman stresses that time away from the streets — and eventually up in the mountains — should be fun. “Once I’ve done a big climb, I just love the feeling of hammering it downhill,” he says. “It feels like playing and I don’t always feel like I’m playing when I’m just logging miles on the road.”

When you’re on the trails, try to capture those special moments that get you most excited. It could be as simple as taking in a mighty view. Sharman has run all over in the world in scenic locations including the Himalayas, European Alps and of course, the Sahara Desert. But he says one of his favorite things about trail running is its unique vantage point to unearth the beauty of your own backyard.

“Around San Francisco where I live, I run a lot in Marin County,” he says. “I could be running along a trail and as I crest the hill, catch a glimpse of the very top of the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s the kind of magic you don’t always get in road racing.”

For more trail running tips, follow Ian Sharman on Twitter at @sharmanian. And to find a trail near you, visit the directories from the American Trail Running Association and Trails.com.


Full article can be found at: http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/beginners-guide-trail-running/

 

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Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Life Jacket

30 08 2016

Jan Reisen | June 09, 2016

While some dog breeds are natural swimmers, like retrievers and spaniels, others are less suited to the water. Either way, if you and your pet plan to spend time in or on the water, a dog life jacket is a wise investment. Even good swimmers can tire, have trouble staying buoyant, and struggle to keep their heads above water. Some breeds, such as Bulldogs, have body types less suited to swimming and will need help staying afloat. If your dog accompanies you on a boat, a personal flotation device (PFD) is essential. If he falls overboard, he’ll struggle in rough water, a strong current, or large waves. A dog life jacket makes it easier for him to stay above water and easier for you to retrieve him and get him back on board.

Choosing a Life Jacket For Your Dog

There are no standards or certifications for canine life jackets or life vests, but here are some features to look for:

  • A handle will make it easier for you to grab hold of your dog if he’s floundering. It also makes it easier to teach your dog to swim; you can guide him in the water until he feels confident swimming on his own.
  • The life jacket or vest should have a D-ring so you can attach a leash.
  • Decide whether your dog need a life jacket or a vest. Dog life jackets cover more of the dog and provide both buoyancy and visibility. They’re recommended for boating and any time your dog may be in open or rough water. If your dog swims primarily in a pool, a life vest is lighter, covers less area, and and is easier for swimming.
  • Although dog life jackets come in all sorts of fun colors and prints, bright colors will make it easier to spot him in the water.

Even if you think your dog is an Olympic swimmer, any dog can be overcome with fatigue, struggle in the waves, become disoriented in the water, or just need a little extra buoyancy. A life jacket will keep him safe, help him feel confident in the water and help you bring him back on board or back to shore in an emergency.

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Chica, a River House staff member’s dog, attending the Family Stand-Up Paddleboarding class. Photo by Kelly Beal Photography.

 

Types of Life Jackets to Consider

Be sure to check sizing guides to get the right fit for your dog.

Outward Hound Ripstop Life Jackets
This life jacket has easy-grab handles, high-viz colors, quick release buckles and multiple reflective stripes.

K-9 Float Coat from Ruffwear
A telescoping neck closure is adjustable for different size dogs.The jacket also features a strong handle for lifting a dog out of the water, reflective trim and closed cell foam panels.

PAWS Aboard Neoprene Pet Life Jackets
A breathable mesh underbelly helps drain water quickly to keep your dog drier and cooler when he comes out of the water.

He&Ha Pet Quality Dog Life Jacket Adjustable Dog Life Vest Preserver
This vest style flotation device has a convenient top grab handle, a D-ring to attach a leash, vibrant safety colors and mesh holes for ventilation.

Paddleboarding_(32)

Bravo, a River House staff member’s dog, attending the Family Stand-Up Paddleboarding class. Photo by Kelly Beal Photography.

 


Full article can be found at: http://www.akc.org/content/dog-care/articles/why-your-dog-needs-a-dog-life-jacket/

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