Whitewater Rafting Trips Get Big Shot in the Arm

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New Whitewater Rafting Dam Releases Draw Thousands to Lehigh River Trips in Pennsylvania

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It's a new day for whitewater rafting enthusiasts on dozens of popular whitewater rivers around the country, thanks to the introduction of scheduled whitewater rafting dam releases provided by agencies like the US Army Corps of Engineers. And nowhere has the impact of new whitewater dam releases been more dramatic than at the Lehigh River Gorge in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.

In the past few years, rafting trips on the Lehigh River have nearly doubled thanks to a series of new summertime whitewater rafting releases from the Francis Walter Dam. "This is a really big deal," says Whitewater Challengers president and co-founder Ken Powley. "With these new summertime whitewater rafting releases, we've got great water and great weather at the same time. There aren't a lot of mountain whitewater rivers that can boast this perfect combination."

The Lehigh River has become an incredibly popular destination for family vacations, and a great alternative to that summertime trip to the beach. Since 1974, Whitewater Challengers' one and a half million guests have enjoyed more than 12 million miles of guided whitewater rafting trips (a distance equal to traveling from the earth to the moon ... and back again ... more than 19 times!). "We're proud of our years of experience," says Powley, "but we're even more proud of the impeccable safety record we've maintained over all those millions of miles of Lehigh River rafting. It's a big part of the reason that even families, youth groups and first timers feel comfortable taking these guided whitewater rafting trips."

"This is 'soft' adventure," Powley explains. "It combines the feel of the wild and the great outdoors, coupled with the assurance that in the end, there are pros along with you who can help out if needed. There's even an easier section of the river where kids as young as five can go along. What we love about rafting the Lehigh is that it's a barrel of fun that just about anybody can enjoy. For the real whitewater die-hards, there's always our high-adventure trips on the Upper Hudson River Gorge and the Black River Canyon, in upstate New York. Those rafting trips can still be enjoyed by first-timers, but they're definitely for folks with a higher "adventure quotient."

About WhitewaterChallengers.com:
You can take your own "Adventure Quotient Quiz" at whitewaterchallengers.com, where you can also ask for a free adventure vacations catalog, get information and recommendations about specific rafting trips, learn more about environmentally-friendly "go-green" vacations, or reserve your own family whitewater rafting trip online. For an extended adventure vacation in the Poconos, ask about packages that include biking, hiking and kayaking trips, overnight camping and meals. Or check out the Play 'n Stay packages that include your choice of outdoor adventures during the day, and the luxury of a heated hotel swimming pool, sauna, gourmet restaurant and posh accommodations at night.

"This is a close-to-home day-trip or vacation getaway that features fresh air, clear sparkling mountain water, friendly guides, and the thrill of discovering something that the whole family can team-up to do together," says Powley. "It's not the bugs, the sand and the salt you get at the beach," he adds, "but for that, we have no regrets!"

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Ken Powley
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