Thursday, June 7, 2007

Reflection: White Salmon Riverfest 2007

The day after the White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium, was originally planned to be a complete day off - go kayaking, relax, clean the house, etc. But, I found myself sitting at my computer, reflecting back on the day with such a strong emotion, that I wanted to share with you what this day meant for Jaco and I and how the days' events unfolded.

The symposium portion of our day was held at Hooba's Restaurant, which is located at the beautiful Golf course in Husum, WA. There was an estimated 60 people at the lecture portion of the event.

The presentations throughout the day ranged from issues concerning the Condit Dam, Yakama fishing rights on the White Salmon - which was a very emotional presentation by Carol -, the Geology and Hydrology of the White Salmon and many more inspirational and informative presentations by very professional speakers.

The day wrapped up around 4:00 p.m., but we still had "social" activities. We believe that networking with presenters and other "river" people is an important compenant to our river. So, Sue Baker led a Nature Walk up the trail to BZ falls - talking about invasive species and local plants. Tim Hardin led a Kayak Shed paddle on the Middle White Salmon, as Heather Herbeck led a paddle on the Lower White Salmon. It was great to see such a huge group participate in all the "after" activities.

We hurried down the river to meet up with the entire group at Wind River Cellars and await dinner, provided by Solstice in Bingen, WA. Following dinner, Andy Round shared with us his inspirational kayaking travels throughout the world.

Party, party, party! Okay, we didn't go crazy, but there was beer and wine throughout the evening to celebrate this river and bringing us all together to share our passion for the White Salmon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Here it comes . . . 2007 White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium

June 6th . . . that's right! The White Salmon Riverfest is coming up soon and it is going to be a fun-filled day, as well as a very educational experience.

Event Location: Hooba's Restuarant in Husum, WA
Dinner & Party Location: Wind River Cellars in Husum, WA

Pre-registration (before June 4th) $12.50 for the event, dinner & party
Day of the event $15.00 for the event, dinner & party
Dinner and party only $10.00

Take a look at the day's schedule:
8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration and breakfast
9:00 a.m. Opening and Welcome
9:15 a.m.
Condit Dam
9:30 a.m. Status of the White Salmon River, pending removal of the dam in 2008
10:00 a.m. BREAK
10:10 a.m. Fish Restoration on the free flowing White Salmon River
10:50 a.m. BREAK
11:00 a.m. Salmon & the future of salmon fishing on the White Salmon
12:00 p.m. Lunch - provided by Hooba's
1:00 p.m.
Wild & Scenic White Salmon
1:25 p.m. Geology 101 and the Geology of the White Salmon
1:50 p.m. BREAK
2:00 p.m.
Hydrology 101 and the Hydrology of the White Salmon
2:30 p.m. Global Warming
2:50 p.m. BREAK
3:00 p.m.
River Clean-up & Restoration
6:00 p.m. GUEST SPEAKERS & DINNER- Local guides and paddlers share slides, photos, video, experiences and passions about running river around the world and locally.
7:30 p.m. Final Raffle, Music & Party until Midnight at Wind River Cellars!

Evening music by Richard Tillinghast, a fellow river enthusiast.

Event sponsored by:

You can register by phone, mail or email, or if you have any questions, please contact us:

Heather Herbeck -

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The planning stages of the White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium June 6th, 2007

How much work is put into planning this spectacular event? I think first of all, you have to ask yourself how much this event means to not only you, but to others. Jaco and I hold a special place in our hearts for the White Salmon River. Not only does it provide for us financially - provides work for both of us- but its' beauty and its' character is like none other in this area. The White Salmon River runs year round and provides sustenance as well as recreation to many people.

February 1 thru 4, 2007 - Headwater's Institute Watershed Educators Workshop in Moab, Utah

Jaco and I both attended this training seminar. This was Jaco's second year and my first. We met many amazing people - young and old - who have been serving their own watershed for years. We met coordinators from Alaska, the Snake river, the Rogue river, the Rio Grande, the Kern, the American and many others. What I remember as being a 'touching moment' for me was when we were asked to describe our watershed. The coordinator from the Rio Grande asked us all to stand up, turn our chairs around and sit back down. I thought to myself, "Great, he's going to have us do a silly activity." He walked around our circle, placing the softest sand I have ever felt in everyone's hands. He then said, "Take a look at it, feel it . . . this is what my watershed means to me." I learned, at that moment, that people may have different "loves" about the White Salmon, but their "love" is of equal importance to everyone else. That was a very powerful moment during the training session.

Months of February/March

We are getting exceptional help from other outfitter's this year. Jaco and I encourage the support from the 9 other outfitters who share this precious river. Rita Cole and Hilary Nielson from River Drifters, Ryan Webb from River Riders, Chip Carroll - coordinator for the Headwater's Institute Seminar on the Kern, Katherine Luscher from River Networks and John Hart from the Kayak Shed have all jumped on board with both feet to help plan this event. The support and excitement for the 2007 event is contagious! Thanks you guys . . . !

We are very close to finalizing the June 6th festivities. We will have that information available in the next couple of weeks. Next update in May.

Current Sponsors for the event include:

Heather Herbeck -

Monday, February 26, 2007

Meet the organizers for the White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium June 6th, 2007

Heather Herbeck

With her pink helmet and a penchant for running big waterfalls in a kayak, Heather Herbeck is a recognizable figure in the whitewater kayaking community. She is currently on the water full-time as a whitewater kayak instructor and raft guide!

Heather first moved from Minnesota to the Northwest with her husband in 2004. The two made the move in order to pursue their passion for kayaking, and are currently residing in BZ, living their dream as part of the area’s community of world-class whitewater kayakers. An ACA certified whitewater kayak instructor and a Rescue3 certified Whitewater Rescue Technician, Heather’s accomplishments in the whitewater world are impressive:

1st place in the women's expert extreme race - Oregon Cup 2005
3rd place finish in the 2004 Gorge Games - Head to Head
Team Paddler for AT Paddles, Sweet Helmets, Jackson Kayak, Level Six and Outdoor Play
2005 winner for the IR Big Gun Show Carnage Category
Female paddler in the extreme kayaking video "Liquid Insanity"
Female paddler in the kayaking video "Hotel Charley" - No Big Names 4 - 2006
Female paddler in the kayaking video "Hotel Charley" - River of Doubt - 2007
Currently filming for "Toxic Waters" - the second film by her husband, Nate. Due out Feb. 2008
Motivational Speaker, focusing on specific topics about the "Mental side of kayaking"

Heather consistently strives to push her own limits on the water, both mentally and physically. On her website (, her favorite quote states, “Life's journey is not to arrive at our grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting...’Holy *#@$ what a ride!’” However, she is also equally excited about working with beginning kayakers to introduce others to the sport that she enjoys so much. Her easy-going personality and sheer enthusiasm for paddling make her a favorite with both kayaking students and rafting guests. In particular, Heather is passionate about getting more women out on the water in a kayak. She states, “There’s nothing like building a women’s self-confidence on and off the water!” Her desire to share paddling also extends to a desire to introduce kids to the sport.

A female paddler in the often male-dominated arena of extreme kayaking, Heather claims that she works hard to “keep up with the guys” both mentally and physically while out on the water. What the rest of us see is a bunch of guys trying to keep up with Heather..

"My goal in organizing the White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium is to help people become aware that our river is a jewel. The White Salmon is beautiful, clean and runs through the backyards of many people. The White Salmon has sections that range from Class I through Class V, which makes it ideal for kayakers and rafters - beginners through advanced. Since this river is so special, I would like to see everyone - land owners, raft guides, kayakers - come together to educate themselves on how to keep the White Salmon alive for years to come!"
-Heather Herbeck-

Jaco Klinkenberg

While there are few people who can actually pronounce Jacomijn Klinkenberg's name correctly, Jaco (pronounced Yako) holds claim to being the inventor of the name Wet Planet Rafting and Kayaking. A native of the Netherlands, this Dutch paddler's route to becoming co-owner of Wet Planet has its beginnings in the European Alps.

Born and raised in Holland, Jaco spent much of her childhood in the outdoors. Jaco's parents were avid mountaineers, and regularly traveled to neighboring countries to spend time in the mountains. Traveling to the Swiss and French Alps, Jaco would climb the mountains in the summers that she would ski in the winter. As with most of the Dutch, her family are also avid travelers, allowing her to visit most of the countries and major cities in Europe. An accomplished skier and climber, Jaco first encountered whitewater paddling on a trip to the United States. On this trip she took her first kayak instruction at the New England Outdoor Center, and knew that she loved the feel of moving water in her kayak.

In Holland, Jaco spent 10 years in the advertising industry before beginning her career in outdoor recreation. Working for several of the world's top international advertising agencies, Jaco worked with international clients such as American Express, Texaco, Philip Morris, and Canon. This experience and training is evident in the professionalism, organization, and vision that Jaco brings to Wet Planet.

Jaco first met Todd Collins on a 12-day whitewater trip in Utah. At the time, Todd was already working with ideas for creating a new whitewater company. The two shared similar visions of what this company could be, and Jaco's marketing background and professional work experience provided pieces that made the vision a realistic possibility. It was on this trip that Jaco decided to leave her life in Amsterdam to pursue her passion for outdoor adventure and travel. Says Jaco, "I wanted a job where I could actually see the beauty of the world we live in."

Jaco and Todd joined forces again in Costa Rica, where the two worked for the same whitewater company. For two years, Jaco worked as operations manager for the Turrialba based company providing custom whitewater and travel trips to foreigners visiting the country. She handled everything from planning logistics for multiple week trips to designing content for the web site to guiding customers on scenic trips throughout Costa Rica. During this period Todd and Jaco started to plan for the creation of a new style of whitewater company, and it was on a jungle paddling trip that Jaco first spoke the name Wet Planet.

Although Jaco is currently most visible at Wet Planet managing schedules, logistics, reservations and day-to-day operations around the Wet Planet headquarters, she is also responsible for much of the behind the scenes work with marketing and strategic planning. While she may not spend much time in the back of a Wet Planet raft, she does also bring a high level of whitewater expertise and adventure travel experience to the company. She is a certified whitewater raft and kayak instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, a certified ACA whitewater kayak instructor, a trained Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Educator. She has traveled extensively throughout Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Central America. She speaks five languages and pours a mean espresso.

"I see this unique and wonderful river, and so many individuals who care for it: whitewater rafters and kayakers, as well as people and interest groups involved with the White Salmon. There is a fascinating history on this river and in its' valley, and now things are happening that will change its future. For the better or worse, everyone has their own opinion and interest concerning these changes. With the White Salmon Riverfest and Guide Symposium, I want to create an opportunity for people to share knowledge and passion and to learn from each other and other professionals in their field of interest to the White Salmon River. In addition, I would like this event to take place in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, where people feel safe and respected, and where they will all have a good time in a way that builds bridges among a diverse community.
At Wet Planet, we see a great opportunity to share our gained knowledge with thousands of guests each year, while exploring the river with our guests each day. We feel fortunate to be one of few permitted outfitters on this river and are grateful for this opportunity to give something back to this beautiful river and its community."
-Jaco Klinkenberg-

Next to come: "What actually goes in to planning the White Salmon Riverfest and Guide Symposium?" Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks . . . I hope you are enjoying this journey with us!

Heather Herbeck -
Jaco Klinkenberg -

Friday, February 23, 2007

White Salmon Riverfest & Symposium - a Headwater's Institute event

It is important, for everyone, to understand what role the Headwater's Institute plays in our White Salmon Riverfest & Symposium. But first, I'd like to share with you what the Headwater's Institute stands for.

The Headwater's Institute was formed by a small group of river enthusiasts to provide education that inspires individuals and communities to care for and connect with their watershed. HWI is a non-profit organization and consists of volunteers who organize events locally and nation-wide. HWI is supported and endorsed by American Whitewater, American Rivers, River Network and many more.

What is a watershed? We all live in a watershed. It surrounds the entire landscape between moutain ridgelines and the coastlines that surround our continents. Watersheds contain multiple layers of life which are all fundamentally connected by the water that flows through their creeks, rivers, estuaries, and wetlands.

HWI was created to assist and enhance annual educational seminars for guides and educators to teach, learn and share their common passion for rivers, coasts, lakes and their watersheds. This is where HWI comes into play on our very own White Salmon River.

By teaming up with HWI, we are given a structure which helps us put together a well-designed Watershed Education Seminar on the White Salmon River.

With HWI's support and guidance, we can join others in uniting our rivers nationwide. For example, HWI seminars are held on the American River in California, the Denali River in Alaska, the Snake and the Rio Grande, just to name a few. With HWI giving us support and structure we all have a common goal: To provide natural history, conservation, and interpretive trainings for all. These seminars encourage and promote a deeper public understanding of the importance of healthy rivers and their watershed ecosystems from ridgeline to coastline.

To learn more about the Headwater's Institute, please visit

Last year we organized the First Annual White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium, with a turn of over 70 people (raft guides, kayakers and others). It was a very successful event and has built great momentum for the future.

So, mark your calendar for June 6th, 2007 for our 2nd Annual White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium.

Stay tuned for the next posting: "So who's organizing the event anyhow?" Meet Jaco Klinkenberg and Heather Herbeck. . . get to know a little bit more about them. Coming soon!

Heather Herbeck -
Jaco Klinkenberg -

Thursday, February 22, 2007

White Salmon Riverfest . . . It's on again!

The 2nd annual White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium is scheduled for June 6th, 2007. This is an event for the community - which is made up of home/land owners, raft guides, kayakers, businesses, and/or anyone else who loves, respects and is passionate about river conservation.

Last year's event was very successful. We had a number of presentations, ranging from updates on the Condit Dam removal, the White Salmon River and its' hydrology, identifying native plants and trees of the White Salmon and many more.

After a day of presentations, we headed down to the White Salmon River. Our nature hike, took us on a trail to the Class V waterfall, BZ Falls. Here, Val Shaull, shared with us his passion and his love for the river.

From here, the festivities began . . . great food, fellowship and a HUGE Raffle at Wind River Cellars. The band played well into the night as people laughed, shared stories and experiences and celebrated the river.

I can sum up this event in one sentence: The White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium is an event to educate ourselves, unite our community and celebrate our river.

So, put it on your calendars . . . June 6, 2007! More details to come. Information will be updated regularly.

Heather Herbeck -
Jaco Klinkenberg -