Heather Kowalewski 2017-02-24T17:53:36+00:00

Project Description

Heather Kowalewski

Office Manager, Community & Outreach

How Long have you Been on the River? On the White Salmon River specifically?

Rivers and creeks have been a part of my life since childhood. I now fondly look back and recognize the significant impact my family’s yearly paddle trips had on me. Being raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, the Piney Creek and Buffalo River were regular spring and summer outings. These canoe trips will always have a special place in my heart, and my partner Derek and I love to go back East to visit these beautiful places. I moved to WA to attend graduate school and of course Derek, being the river-loving guide he is, found the White Salmon. I have been visiting him here for three years, just spent my first full year in the Gorge, and am looking forward to many years to come!

How did you get into raft guiding?

In 2005 Derek and I decided to try out guide training with the Nantahala Outdoor Center based in Bryson City, NC. We both had the awesome Arkansas creek experiences, and had started playing around in kayaking, but our Class II-III exposure had not necessarily taught us what river life was all about. I began to realize the diversity of rivers and the beauty of reading water, and of course discovered whole new communities based around this amazing element. We were hooked, and spent the following summer working on the French Broad River and Pigeon River in NC and TN. After that I decided my passion for the river was not best satisfied through guiding. I love to get out whenever possible, and love to guide for my friends occasionally but prefer to support others getting on the water in different ways!.

Do you have any Hobbies & Interests you would like to share?

I love everything! I enjoy so many different things that I’m not necessarily a consistent player in any, but my favorite interests include community organizing, environmental education, dancing, singing (mostly to myself!), food, hiking to the river, movies, and just playing and exploring. I also try to maintain a consistent sitting meditation practice in my life because it brings such a balance.

Why do you Enjoy Rafting & What keeps you Coming Back?

Rivers truly speak to my core. Whenever I feel out of whack I can guarantee that a walk down to the river will sooth my soul. The life lessons found in water are endless, both in practical ways and as a metaphor. And I absolutely love seeing people get out on the water, especially beginners. Being on the water is a new way to look at the world around you and to connect with folks, and I am honored to help make this experience available to people. Getting out in the natural world reminds us we as people are a part of nature and we have a lot to learn from the elements!

Any accomplishments, on or off the River?

I just finished my Master of Environmental Studies degree through The Evergreen State College! I am excited to see how the skills and knowledge I gained can be applied in the rafting industry, particularly concepts and practices around creating inclusive, empowering spaces.

Pick one of the company’s core values and explain what it means to you:

Accessibility to me means recognizing that there are inherent boundaries present in our society that make it harder for some individuals and groups to participate. If we take time to be aware of this imbalance, we can start to create avenues to overcome these barriers. Applying this to the river, I feel there is often a barrier to participate due to financial limitations, particularly for families. One way All Adventures intends to help overcome this barrier is through a scholarship fund – people who support this idea and who have a little extra money can donate, and those who want the rafting experience but may need a little extra support can apply for a partial or full scholarship. To me this increases accessibility and equality in outdoor recreation, and supports the idea that the river can be an awesome experience for everyone.

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