Just three hours from Vancouver, Lytton-based Kumsheen Rafting Resort is offering full and half-day trips, with a host of new safety protocols designed to keep adventurers safe in the COVID-19 era.
Braden Fandrich, Kumsheen’s director of operations, says Kumsheen’s top priority has always been the safety of their guests and staff and, although 2020 is presenting some unprecedented challenges, this season’s focus on safety is sharper than ever.
“We’ve completely revamped the resort to more than comply with provincial safety guidelines and orders,” says Fandrich in a press release. “We’ve implemented strict cleaning protocols and have worked out a way to get our biggest rafts on to the river in a way that easily complies with social distancing.”
Fandrich says since its inception in 1973, Kumsheen has always been a family-oriented resort and with the “new normal” of 2020, in which travellers are urged to stay in small family “pods,” the resort has based this year’s excursions on small groups enjoying the great outdoors on large open-air boats.
In fact, family groups are encouraged to book their own boat whenever possible. Kumsheen has developed an extensive — but flexible — action plan, including:
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for all staff.
- New check-in procedures to limit contact and ensure physical distancing.
- Extensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Continued disinfecting of all wetsuits, rain gear and life jackets.
- An all-in focus on client and staff safety, on the river and on COVID-19.
"We’ve spent months working as a team and as an industry to make this as safe for you and your family as possible,” Fandrich says. “Our staff, especially Meghan Burrage and Taija Wilson-Rymer, has worked incredibly hard, meticulously reviewing all of our operating procedures and modifying them to deal with social distancing and COVID-19 issues.”
Here’s a timeline of what’s taken place so far at the resort and what is expected to happen in the future.
- Opening of a limited number of tenting sites and self-contained RV sites.
- Opening of their famous canvas cabins and teepees, with as much time between occupancy as possible in the warm, dry Lytton heat, combined with strict cleaning protocols to reduce the risk as much as possible.
- Half-day power rafting trips through the legendary Thompson River’s Devil’s Gorge.
- The resort’s Cutting Board Restaurant will open for takeout service.
- Full-day power rafting trips begin.
- Full-day and half-day paddle rafting trips begin.
"We’ve worked with the British Columbia River Outfitters Association to establish protocols, which were submitted to the Provincial Health Officer and approved,” Fandrich explains. “We’ve worked out how to have maximum safety while having maximum fun.”
Fandrich says the golden rules for the 2020 rafting season include:
- Don’t go to the resort if you’re ill or have been exposed to someone who is sick, or if you’ve been out of Canada in the past 14 days.
- Observe physical distancing of two metres.
- Wash or disinfect your hands often and regularly.
- Bring a non-medical mask. A buff or neck tube is preferred and you’ll also be able to wear these on the raft. Be sure to have a bag or container to store your masks. Non-medical masks will be required when on our transport to and from the river.
- Bring your own food for lunches and snacks in June, but we’ll have bagged lunches available for full-day trips in July.
- Book a trip with your immediate family or those who are in your bubble.
- Store your personal belongings in your vehicle if you are not using the resort’s campgrounds or accommodations.
“We’ll offer refunds to anyone who feels sick on the day of the trip,” Fandrich says. “We’re in this together.”
For more information, visit kumsheen.com.