What started off as a hobby project in 2017 has now been spun into a much larger (and more fun) undertaking. 

Hi! I’m Matt, and I own Kern River Outfitters, a whitewater rafting company located in Southern California. In 2017, it dawned on me that despite the Kern river having an excellent reputation for amazing whitewater, no one had properly mapped it. Sure, there was some information out there, but nothing comprehensive, and plenty of the online data was no longer current. So I decided to tackle it. I tagged along on a commercial trip and using my GPS, dropped pins at every location worth mentioning. After the trip, I sat down at my desk and penciled out the project’s timeline. I estimated that from start to finish I could knock it out in two weeks. I was off by three years. Despite having a degree in this very subject (Geography, UCSB) I vastly underestimated the amount of time that data collection, mapping and publishing would take and the Kern river project was finally completed in 2020. Regardless, I had found the experience rewarding, and almost as important, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive: Tons of people were using the website and guidebook.

Here I am, standing and probably lost, on the Main Salmon in September, 2020.

I learned plenty from that first undertaking and I now want to go bigger: More rivers, more runs, more information to allow the average Joe rafter to look up a river and head out there. If you want to lend a hand, please drop us a line. (There’s more than just myself working on this now.) If you were one of the original users of the first iteration from that Kern guidebook – thank you. And if you’re a new user here for the very first time – welcome, and I hope you find the information here valuable.

Matt Volpert

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