~ Ireland tour ~ June 4-13, 2020 ~ cancelled
9 day tour of counties Cork, Kerry and Clare
Ireland by day, music in the pubs by night!
$2600 per person based on double occupancy
~ Main Stem of the Salmon River ~ August 14-19, 2020 ~ HAPPENING!6 days/5 nights rafting down what National Geographic calls one of the top 3 river trips in the world!
$2199 per person ~ http://www.idahorivers.com
the trip was sold out, but some folks have postponed til next year, so there’s room for 8 more…kindly read on…here’s an update from the Middle Fork River Expeditions MFRE) about going forward with this trip (as I plan to do), from James Ellsworth, founder and director of MFRE
Dear Aug 14-19 Main Salmon MFRE guests,
I hope this e-mail finds you and your loved ones in good health.
As many places and states are in the process of re-opening after the lock-down, many of us look forward to returning to life as we knew it before. The Salmon River is open. Our guides are eager to get back on the oars and we imagine you are also excited and ready for an adventure and may have questions.
Today I would like to provide you with important information with regard to how MFRE is responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and what kind of adjustments we are making to our trips to respond to it. In spite of our best efforts, we cannot give a 100% guarantee that you will not be affected by Covid-19 during our trips. You will need to decide for yourself if you are willing to accept this risk.
This entire e-mail will help you make an informed decision regarding your participation in this years river trips and will give you insight into what to expect on your trip. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to call me.
Let’s start with some good news. Studies have shown that the probability of contracting the Covid-19 virus outdoors is only (.03%). Given that we will be spending all of our time during the trip (except for the bus or plane ride) in the outdoors it seems that the chances of contracting the virus during the river trip are already very low. (See article here)
The following are the adjustments we have made to our protocols that primarily address the risk of infection through sanitation and social distancing measures.
We reserve the right to decline service to any guest and remove any guide from a trip under the following circumstances:
- If a guest or staff member has or will be traveling through an area identified by the CDC as warning Level 3 in the 14 days prior to a scheduled trip.
- If a guest or guide has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 within the 14 days prior to a scheduled trip.
- If a guest or staff member develops flu-like symptoms (a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or loss of taste and smell or any other symptoms associated with Covid -19) during the 14 days prior to a scheduled trip.
Of course, most of these measures require self-identification and we appreciate your total honesty and cooperation. If any of the above pertain to you please contact us immediately.
Precautions we ask you to take
We would like to ask you to help us achieve our goal to keep everyone healthy by participating in the following ways:
- Please take extra precautions 2 weeks prior to your trip to ensure you are healthy when you arrive
- Please follow the CDC guidelines during your travel to Idaho
- Please wear a mask when in public and remember not to touch your face
- Please wash your hands frequently and use a hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible
We also suggest that you speak with your healthcare provider to ask for recommendations regarding any possible supplements/medications they may suggest.
All guides will undergo a health screening prior to each trip, should anyone exhibited flu-like symptoms on the day of departure or any time during the 14 days leading up to the trip they will be removed from the schedule and tested for Covid-19 before returning to work.
- All MFRE Vehicles will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each trip.
- As always, all MFRE gear (sleeping bags, pillows, & splash gear) will be laundered before each trip.
- All additional items such as lifejackets, dry bags, coolers, helmets, etc will be cleaned and sanitized with the use of our newly purchased Hot Pressure Washer and a bleach solution.
- All Tents will be left out of rotation for 8 days before they will be are used again.
The bus and aircraft companies have informed me that they too will be sanitizing their fleet before every flight or drive. We have also confirmed that the Mountain Village will be sanitizing rooms in Stanley (Middle Fork) and the Stagecoach Inn in Salmon (Main Salmon) between each use.
On the bus:
- All guests will be required to wear a mask on the bus to the put–in point (2 hour drive) and from the take-out point (2-4 hours drive).
- Families/couples or groups traveling together will be seated together on the bus and in such a manner that optimizes social distancing from other trip members.
On the airplane (for Middle Fork trips only):
Low water conditions may require that we fly in 5 and 9-seater airplanes to the put-in point. In this case we will do our best to keep groups traveling together seated together. Please note that due to the size of the airplane and the weight distribution that will not always be possible. The flights are usually about 23 minutes long. All guests will be required to wear a mask. We will no longer take credit card information at the orientation in Stanley. You will need to pay for your $125 flight on the Sawtooth Flying Service website. We will inform you if you need this flight in the final bulletin sent ~2 weeks before your trip.
During the Trip
- All chairs, dry bags, sleeping pads will be sanitized before and after each use.
Kitchen and food preparation:
- All kitchen surfaces will be sanitized with Vital Oxide (which is an EPA approved disinfectant/sanitizer for Covid-19). This product is odorless and non-toxic.
- Guides will be wearing masks or face coverings and gloves during all food prep as well as food service.
- As always, dishes will be sanitized with a bleach solution during the dish washing process.
- As usual we will provide two conveniently located hand washing stations at every camp and we will encourage hand washing throughout the day.
- As always hand washing will be required before and after every meal, as well as after use of our toilet system.
- Hand washing will also be done before getting on or getting off the oar rafts at camp and lunch.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available during the day and at meal times.
- Appetizers will be served in bowls or plates.
- All meals will be served by a guide. Self service will not be permitted.
- Beverages from the beverage cooler such as Beer, Spindrift, Lacroix etc. will be distributed by a guide at camp.
- Drinking water will be available for self service using a foot pump system.
- Guests will be issued a freshly washed sleeping bag & pillow.
- Guests will be issued a tent for their sole use during the trip and will be asked to pack it into their freshly sanitized sleep kit dry bag along with the sleeping bag and pillow.
The existence of Covid-19 requires that we follow social distancing measures to the best of our ability. There will be times when social distancing is not possible for a short time on the river. For instance, when a guide needs to push his raft from the bank and they will wear a face-covering during these times.
In order to comply with social distancing we will not be bringing paddle rafts on the river this year as it would be difficult to practice social distancing on them. Instead we will bring more oar rafts and inflatable kayaks.
- Household units will ride in the same oar raft with the same guide for the entire trip unless, of course, they are taking a turn using one of the inflatable kayaks. There also might be one household unit in the bow and one in the stern of the oar raft.
Face coverings and masks:
Masks or face coverings like a bandana can be worn at their own discretion by any MFRE guest while at camp. On the rafts or inflatable kayaks we do not recommend using a mask as it would become a hazard. We do recommend a bandana or “ uff” around your neck at all times. It is easy to grab and pull up over your nose and mouth. An even better option is a Buff (www.buffusa.com) which does not slide as easily off your face.
Covid-19 Code of Conduct:
All guests and guides’ will respect other guests and guides position on their own personal sensitivities around Covid-19. If there is any behavior by a guest or guide that is blatantly aggressive or dangerous relative to Covid-19 or any other reason, they will be removed from the trip. We must all agree to respect other peoples’ needs and comfort levels.
At Camp: Camp chairs will be separated by 6 feet but households can sit together in groups/clusters.
Dress up night:
This year we will not have a costume bag for the dress up party night 4 of your river trip. We invite guests to please come prepared with an outfit for dress up night or a variety of outfits for your household group.
In case someone exhibits flu like symptoms during the trip.
- If a guide or guest develops flu-like symptoms during a MFRE trip, per CDC guidelines, we will socially distance the individual(s) from the rest of the group and encourage them to wear a surgical mask to help prevent the spread of their illness.
- MFRE carries an InReach Satellite texting device in case communication to the outside world becomes absolutely necessary. If evacuation is needed, the Middle Fork would primarily occur by an airplane and by Jet Boat on the Main Salmon. As always, in the event of a life-threatening situation evacuation by helicopter is possible.
In spite of all of our efforts, we cannot give a 100% guarantee that you will not be effected by Covid-19 during our trips. You will need to decide for yourself if you are willing to accept this additional risk. If you are an older individual or if you have a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, you may wish to consider re-scheduling for next summer without penalty.
New Cancellation Policy
In response to Covid-19 we have modified our cancelation/transfer policies to provide for some additional flexibility. We have waived the $150 Processing fee. We now offer guests a full $500/person refund of deposit or you can transfer your deposit from this year’s trip to a future trip in 2021 or 2022 as long as you do so by June 1st, 2020.
New MFRE Waiver
In response to our current situation we had to make changes to our waiver to include “exposure to airborne pathogens and viruses, including but not limited to contraction of COVID-19”. Please have each person in your group sign the waiver and return them along with your final payment.
Final Payment Due June 1st
Final payment is due by June 1st and is non-refundable unless MFRE needs to cancel the trip. Please send your final payment along with the waiver to MFRE, P.O. Box 17, Fairfax, CA 94978. If you would like to cancel, please let us know ASAP.
Trip Cancellation by MFRE
In the event that MFRE needs to cancel a trip for any reason you will receive a FULL refund of the payment made to MFRE unless you would like to apply it to a future trip, which we encourage. Please note that MFRE is not responsible for any other costs you may incur due to the cancellation of our trip e.g. airfares, hotel or shuttle reservations etc.
Please reach out with any questions you may have in response to the document above or any other questions.
We hope to provide everyone who joins us this summer a much needed reprieve from all the challenges we have been facing and that you find healing and relaxation in the beauty of nature and the river.
Yours for wilderness and wide open spaces,
James Ellsworth, owner and guide
Middle Fork River Expeditions
~ Ireland tour ~ September 9-18, 2020 ~ cancelled
9 day tour of counties Cork, Kerry, and Clare
Ireland by day, music in the pubs by night!
$2500 per person based on double occupancy
~ Scotland tour ~ May 31 – June 8, 2021 ~ please inquire for waiting list – Beyond the Tartan Tours
~ Ireland tour ~ July 6-15, 2021 ~ please inquire for waiting list