Your adventure base camp for over 40 years!

We want to share our love of rivers and other wild places with you, and in the process to further the appreciation and preservation of these resources!

I did not want to miss the opportunity to compliment you and your staff on your well-run program. We could see that you were not the only outfitter in town but we felt safe in your hands. Your guides were knowledgeable and responsible (plus funny and charming!) and your equipment was in good condition. If anyone ever asks me for an outfitter in your area, I will definitely recommend you.

Mary R.

Mother Lode is now beginning its fifth decade.  We cordially invite you to join us this season for another great year of outdoor adventure, fun and learning. Whatever your choice of program or activity, rest assured that we remain committed to doing everything possible to make your experience enjoyable, memorable and of the highest quality. Our guides, facilitators and educators all have one goal – to exceed your expectations and achieve 100% satisfaction.

Early Beginnings

In 1971, Apollo astronaut Alan Shepard, took one of humanity’s first glimpses of the Earth from the Moon and was so profoundly moved, he wept. “It is, in fact, very fragile” he later wrote about the experience. “This thin, thin atmosphere, the thinnest shell of air hugging the world- it can be blown away so easily! A meteor, a cataclysmic release, man’s own outpouring of poison…” Since men left the Moon, humankind has more than doubled its numbers and vastly multiplied our ecological impact. As a result, our planet is rapidly changing. Of the nine determinants of human sustainability, seven are approaching or have already exceeded their critical tipping points. The health of our planet, the future of our species, and the survival of all life on Earth is now the foremost issue of our time…

Our Purpose

The purpose of our company has always been to promote the conservation of rivers. We at Mother Lode share a love of rivers, and the most powerful reason is our direct experience of them. Rivers have become our teachers. They have humbled us, transformed us, and in the process we have become deeply connected to them. Whitewater rafting requires focus, precise teamwork, enhanced powers of observation, and making wise choices in challenging situations. Like Alan Shepard viewing Earth from space, once you see rivers clearly, you cannot imagine allowing the destruction of such a vital resource. It is in our natures to want to protect these special places through acts of stewardship.  Experience, Connection, Observation, and Stewardship: this is the process of ECOS, and we believe it is a vital part of what it means to be human.

Our Commitment

Clearly, modern scientists were not the first to understand the importance of rivers. For thousands of years Native Americans have referred to rivers as “the veins of the Earth” and have deeply revered them. This description aptly captures how rivers are interconnected with, and essential to, the health of the broader systems on which we all depend. Riparian ecosystems are among Earth’s most productive and vital, and since everyone at the River Center shares a profound sense of connection to rivers, each of our programs is designed to share and mutually explore the significance of rivers with you. We are pleased to report that over the past four decades over 250,000 Mother Lode participants have not only experienced rivers, they have also been moved to help protect them. Over 20,000 have written letters in successful efforts to help save 13 of California’s rivers from destruction by dams. Through our support and participation in the activities of the American River Conservancy, we have also helped conserve 15,000 acres of riparian environment on the South Fork American and Consumes Rivers. Perhaps most important of all, over the last decade over 4,000 students have participated each year in our Outdoor Education programs, and as this number grows, so too does the future awareness of the value of rivers. Nevertheless, the threats to rivers and other natural ecosystems continue to increase.  The struggles to protect our fragile planet are just beginning.

Our Programs

The programs described above are all designed to be hands-on, educational, and equally important, engaging and fun. Each represents a challenge that is river based. Our programs are organized into four basic categories: whitewater rafting, challenge ropes, outdoor education and conservation/sustainable practices.  Each program begins with “challenge by choice” and ends with accomplishments of various kinds. The essence of challenge is that it pushes individual and group comfort zones. It is vital that participants understand the nature of the physical and mental risks they take, and choose to participate willingly in an atmosphere of support and safety. Our company has the finest safety record in our industry, and safety is always our first priority. It is also essential that our activities are fun…we love to have fun!