We strive to enrich people's lives by providing outstanding adventure experiences. Our goal, since 1969, has been to help people of all ages enjoy "the best outdoor experience of their lives." We personally encourage and actively support awareness, deeper appreciation, and preservation of our rivers and natural ecosystems. Our trips are great adventures that emphasize heightened attentiveness to human impact on the environment.
Our roots lie deep in the Grand Canyon. O.A.R.S. was the first oar-powered outfitter permitted to run the Colorado through the Grand Canyon back in 1969. Over 40 years we've built our operations --- based upon delivering superior personal service, hiring only the best guides, and, and using the highest quality, impeccably maintained equipment --- to cover more rivers of the West than any other river company.
As the largest and most diverse river company in the West, running rivers throughout Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Wyoming, the Grand Canyon and internationally, O.A.R.S. is uniquely positioned to build a spectacular vacation or quick getaway that guests will treasure forever.
Here's how it began... George Wendt, president and founder of O.A.R.S. barely missed being one of the first 1000 people ever to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. That trip fostered a dream for him, that later came to fruition, forever changing the life of this former middle school science teacher.
In 1969, that dream came true; with his friend Ed Gooch, Wendt established Gooch-Wendt Expeditions, running professional trips on the Colorado River. Shortly thereafter, the company was selected as the first small-raft, oar-powered operator in the Grand Canyon, and was appropriately renamed O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists).
In 1972, Wendt and his wife Pam took over full operation of O.A.R.S. In 1974, they left their home in Los Angeles and moved to the small Sierra Nevada foothill town of Angels Camp in Calaveras County, just miles away from the free-flowing Stanislaus River. O.A.R.S. began to gain wide recognition as a full time river outfitter, running high quality trips on the Stanislaus, American, and Tuolumne rivers in California, and the Rogue River in Oregon, in addition to the Grand Canyon.
Although O.A.R.S. has grown its operations and reputation substantially over the last 40 years, becoming the largest and most diverse river company in the West, our ongoing mission has remained the same.