Fraser River Raft Expeditions in Yale is the latest inductee into the Fraser River Hall of Fame.
Owners Susan and Darwin Baerg are receiving recognition from the Fraser River Discovery Society for their contributions to the river through advocacy, education and volunteerism.
“It’s exciting,” said Susan Baerg of the honour. “(Protecting the river) should be a priority for everyone. It’s important to understand what’s going on as far as the issues that it’s facing. People take it for granted, but it’s an important river historically and geographically.”
The Baerg’s have been interpreting the history, culture and natural beauty of the Fraser River basin through wilderness whitewater expeditions for over 25 years. Along the way, they’ve remained committed to sustainable practice and minimizing their ecological footprint.
The couple used to dig outhouses at their regular camping spots along the river, but now use a portable toilet that gets dumped into the company’s septic system at the end of the trip. Compostables, recyclables and garbage are also collected and brought back to base to be dealt with.
Off the river, the Baerg’s support several environmental organizations including the Hope Mountain Centre, Salmon are Sacred, and the Rivershed Society. In addition, they provide raft guiding for the whitewater portion of the Sustainable Leadership Program, a three-week educational trip that focuses on salmon, stewardship and sustainability.
“Their involvement has not just been for themselves, but for everybody,” said Cindy Sale with the Fraser River Discovery Centre. “They worry about making sure that when they do things, they’re preserving what’s valuable.”
A celebration barbecue is planned at Hell’s Gate Airtram on Sept. 10. Round-trip transportation between Hope and Hell’s Gate will be provided. Tickets are $70.
The Fraser River Hall of Fame inductee gala takes place on Oct. 20.
For more information, visit www.fraserraft.com.