Whitewater rafting is widely known as a recreational activity for summer adventures. Thrill seekers flock to high adventure trips like the Colorado River or the Black River for adrenaline rushing rapids. Families are taking their young children on milder rafting trips on the Lehigh River where they experience a touch of class 1-3 rapids. On the other hand, you can embark on a complete beginners float trip at locations like the Delaware River. Other then how much fun it is…most people don’t know some of this interesting facts about rafting.
The first rafts were not made of rubber but of any material that could float. They were used often to transport people and goods on rivers all around the globe. Overtime as society became more advanced and new technology became available. Leading to the popularity of whitewater rafting as a recreational activity.
Here are few unknown facts about rafting leading up to whitewater rafting as we know it today…
1. Rubber river rafts were invented a century before commercial trips were undertaken
Believed to have been invented in the early 1840s, the rubber raft was initially used for transportation of people and goods. The first raft made by Lt. John Fremont and Horace H. Day. The intention was to survey the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Commercially guided recreational rafting trips did not become popular until the 1980s. Whitewater Challengers was the first outfitter on the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, opening for business in 1975.
2. John D. Rockefeller unsuccessfully introduced float trips at a resort he built in 1956
Private companies grew the rafting business. One of the most affluent business families in America, the Rockefellers, introduced rafting float trips to one of their resorts at the Grand Teton National Park in 1956. There was little interest in this activity at the time. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that more exclusive whitewater rafting companies were formed. This is when interest in this sport began to gain momentum.
3. Rafting was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich
Debuting in the Olympic Games in 1972 increased the popularity of whitewater rafting. The sport was also included in the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games. In 1996, the Ocoee River in Tennessee Valley played host to the whitewater events of the Summer Olympic Games.
The popularity of whitewater rafting kept building momentum in the 1980s. It remains a family favorite for a summer time adventure. These facts about whitewater rafting contributed to our ability to offer a guided rafting trips to thousands of happy guests.
Rather then just learning some facts about rafting, get out there and experience whitewater rafting for yourself. Book your next adventure with Whitewater Challengers for an action packed rafting trip in PA or NY. Book online or call us today at 800-443-8554.