Floating the river from Barton to Carver
Those in need of a ride after spending the day floating on the Clackamas River are in luck.
The Happy Valley-based Oregon River Rentals will offer shuttle service from Barton Park to Carver Park this summer.
"We knew there was a need (for a shuttle)," said Bryan Cottrell, who runs the operation with his wife Amber. "It was the next clear step for the business. Most kayakers and rafters go to the Clackamas, and people always ask how to get from the bottom to the top (of the river)."
Prior to adding the shuttle service, Bryan had recommended that people use Uber to return to where their
vehicle was parking. Now, he is happy to offer both equipment rentals and transportation.
Oregon River Rentals was born from what was initially a hobby. After purchasing an inflatable kayak at a yard sale, Bryan fell in love with the activity and hoped to purchase a better boat. He began renting the kayak out with the goal of raising funds for a new watercraft.
That was nine years ago.
Oregon River Rentals now has 40 rental offerings for customers, ranging from inflatable kayaks and rafts to floating tubes.
Bryan noted that inflatable kayaking and rafting is often a good place for beginners to get their feet wet.
"They're very forgiving and family friendly," he
To meet the needs of those playing on the Clackamas River, Oregon River Rentals will offer two 14-passenger shuttle vans along with the equipment rentals. This year, the shuttle will run Friday and Saturday from June 16 through Sept. 3, as well as Wednesday, July 4. From noon till dusk, the shuttle will run every half hour from Barton Park to Carver Park. The cost is $10 per person.
Typically, the rental season gets busy in mid June, after schools have released students for summer vacation. During weekends in July and August, all of the equipment is typically rented out.
Customers at Oregon River Rentals come from both local areas and out of town, though the majority live nearby.
Bryan said that Barton to Carver is "definitely the most popular area" of the river for his customers.
"It's close to everything, and you can have a relaxed float," he said.
He noted that the area is a particularly good spot for beginners.
"There aren't a lot of rapids. You can make mistakes and survive," he said. "When people come from out of town, I always recommend the Clackamas. There are a lot of diverse skill levels, and the Clackamas is perfect for that. There's lakes, whitewater and floating."
Both Bryan and Amber cite the customers they meet as the most rewarding part of the job.
"It's nice when they come back," Amber said.
"We have a lot of people who regularly come back," Bryan added. "It's nice to see a smile on their face \par when they come back. It's really satisfying to help people, and get people in the water."