Spring temperatures are on the rise and the Colorado River beckons paddlers and rafters.
Get ready for boating season at the fourth annual local boat swap on Saturday, May 4, hosted by Eddyline Welding and Solgear.
The idea for the boat swap was born when the thrift store WabiSabi moved to a new building.
“WabiSabi used to have their outdoor gear swap and when they changed locations, that kind of went away,” said Mike DeHoff, owner of Eddyline Welding. “And we wanted to have some kind of boating specific event that gave people a chance to all get together.”
Sellers are encouraged to bring their outdoor gear to the open-air swap meet, and buyers can expect to find rafts, raft frames, canoes, kayaks, river and rafting equipment, oars, paddles, flotation devices, coolers, dry tops and swimsuits.
Sellers planning to bring large items such as rafts should email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve space. People can bring as much, or as little, river gear as they would like to offer.
“A lot of the commercial outfitters will often show up with some of their gear that they want to sell,” DeHoff said.
Selected items from Eddyline Welding and Solgear will also be for sale at a discount. Eddyline Welding specializes in river-related fabrication, welding and repairs, and Solgear makes fabric and soft equipment for boats such as drybags, rigging straps and camp kitchen gear. Mrs. B’s Eats food truck will be offering breakfast and lunch.
The boat swap hosts are asking sellers to give a portion of their proceeds to one or both of two local nonprofit organizations.
“Instead of charging people to sell their gear, we tell them they should donate 3% or more, if you’d like, to Grand County Search and Rescue or the Colorado Plateau River Guides,” DeHoff said.
Jim Webster is the commander for Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR). He said that most of the GCSAR operations are related to ATVs or mountain bike accidents, but he said his crew regularly hits the water.
“We get on the river every year to get people who are stranded, or get people who are in trouble or worse,” Webster said. “And we have a fleet of several boats that we have at our operations center.”
Webster said GCSAR receives funding from various sources, including county funds, reimbursements from the state, ATV licensing fees and transient room taxes. However, donations to the organization are no small part of their budget.
“People donate to search and rescue and we use the funding that we receive for things like equipment and repairs, and especially in training for our SAR members, which includes training on the river,” Webster said. He said that one of the boats in the GCSAR fleet, an SJX Jet boat, was purchased mostly with donated funds.
“Eddyline does a fundraiser every year,” Webster said. “It’s a great exchange of getting people to recycle boating gear among the boating community, and some of the funds that are raised go in a little kitty for search and rescue.”
Colorado Plateau River Guides is an organization of river runners in the region and they facilitate programs for river guides like skin cancer screenings and off-season training in river skills or interpretive guiding.
Members of Colorado Plateau River Guides will give a slideshow in the evening following the boat swap about historical rapids re-emerging in Cataract Canyon, a stretch of the Colorado River popular with boaters.
DeHoff explained that there used to be 52 rapids in Cataract Canyon, but when the Glen Canyon Dam was built to create Lake Powell, the canyon was flooded, and many of those rapids disappeared. Now, as prolonged drought has caused Lake Powell levels to drop, the character of the river in Cataract Canyon is again changing.
“We’re seeing rapids that haven’t been seen in decades come back out of the mud,” DeHoff said. “… Some local guys have kind of figured out they all have the same interest in watching this, and they’ve been compiling a bunch of material and they’re going to be putting on a little slide show as a fundraiser for Colorado Plateau River Guides.”
The suggested donation for the slide show is $5.
“It’s just a really good way to support Colorado Plateau River Guides or Grand County Search and Rescue,” DeHoff said. “…both those organizations could use a little monetary boost.”
Boat swap supports Grand County Search and Rescue and Colorado Plateau River Guides
When: Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m.
Where: 420 Kane Creek Rd.
Cost: $5 suggested donation
When: Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m
Where: Parking lot at Solgear and Eddyline Welding, 420 Kane Creek Rd.
Cost: Free to attend
Info: Email email@example.com or visit facebook.com/UpperBasinGuides
“It’s just a really good way to support Colorado Plateau River Guides or Grand County Search and Rescue.”