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Eco-Rafting Comes to the American River in Northern California

Eco Rafting provides local tourism with river rafting guides doubling as environmental educators, sharing their knowledge of biology, botany and recreation studies.

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Taking Transportation in New Directions with Sustainable River Travel

Eco-Rafting Saturday or Sunday on the South Fork American Chili Bar Run!

The Chili Bar Run on the South Fork American River has always been one of California’s favorite river experiences with over 10 miles of the river’s most challenging rapids, including Racehorse Bend, Triple Threat and Troublemaker.

A hearty lunch is served near historic Sutter’s Mill where gold was discovered in 1848.

Celebrate earth-friendly rafting with this great trip. No matter which river you choose to run, Mother Lode offers great experiences, great prices and the smallest carbon footprint in the industry,

Biodiesel Bus and Organic Gardening Green Local Eco-Travel

Mother Lode River Center is proud to introduce the Eco-Bus, the first 100% waste vegetable oil (WVO) powered bus on the South Fork. The owner of this California eco-tourism destination, Scott Underwood, is beyond remarkable. A retired emergency room surgeon, he has pumped much of his time and resources into this company, teaching people about sustainable tourism, and saving rivers. A rare gem in today's world!

To book this Eco-Rafting Special call Mother Lode River Center at 1-800-427-2387 and ask for the Eco-Trip.

With rising gas prices a concern, summer vacation plans increasingly include the quest for options that are soft not only on the pocketbook, but on the environment.

As Earth Day 2008 demonstrated, a generation that has taken “going green” to heart is seeing a real shift. Sustainability is hip, carbon offsets are all the rage, yet there are some "quiet companies" that have had it together all along.

Mother Lode River Center, located on a bucolic stretch of the South Fork of the American River in Coloma, California, is one of those sustainable resources in California.

Over the years, their guides have helped guests to appreciate the value of free-flowing rivers. “When people have an opportunity to directly experience the issues of saving not only rivers, but watersheds, habitat and history, they come to understand the real alternatives”, says owner Scott Underwood, who estimates that their guests have written over 20,000 letters advocating for saving a dozen rivers from being dammed.

Mother Lode’s success at saving rivers has made them a model of sustainability in their business practices. It’s a mission they take seriously, as they strive to be a model not only for their guests, but for their community.

The twelve acre oak-shaded camp on the river bank is partially powered by photovoltaic cells, the hot water is heated by solar panels and in 2008 Mother Lode introduced the "Eco-Bus", the first river shuttle in California powered by 100% Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO).

An organic vegetable garden is taking shape with the help of members of the Garden Valley "Grange on Green" group. The increasingly popular concept of permaculture, which combines organic farming techniques with green landscape architecture and eco farming techniques, brings Mother Lode another step closer to its goal of sustainability. By educating themselves, their customers and outdoor education students, they plan to demonstrate how locally grown produce helps to reduce their carbon footprint.

In addition to half- and full-day rafting trips on the South, Middle and North Forks of the American River, Mother Lode River Center offers Outdoor Education and Ropes Challenge Courses for children, teens and adults. River guides, who double as environmental educators, have degrees in biology, botany and recreation studies. In quiet moments on the river, rafters spot wildlife and learn about natural history and early inhabitants.

Underwood and his devoted staff delight in imparting their knowledge in a personable, fun loving way, making "Vitamin Green" an easy pill to take. Mother Lode’s high volume of repeat business attests to their popularity with guests seeking authenticity as well as adventure.

For information about programs and prices, visit or call 800 42-RAFTS.

Mother Lode River Center’s mission is to share their love of rivers and other wild places, and in the process to further their appreciation and preservation.

May 2008

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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