Vernal, Utah (Vocus) March 18, 2009
In the most unlikely time to start a business - 1929 - Bus Hatch turned his weekend hobby of running rivers into a way of life. As the saying goes, ''When the going gets tough, the tough get going.'' Hatch founded Hatch River Expeditions, America's original river running company during the worst worldwide economic downturn of the 20th century. The Hatch name has been synonymous with river running ever since.
Eighty years and more than 500,000 adventurers later, the company is still going strong, upholding its early traditions of quality and service. The first concession permit in Dinosaur National Monument, and ultimately the first river concession permit in the country, was issued to Hatch River Expeditions in 1953. The company continued to expand, and currently offers six unique whitewater rafting and fishing itineraries on the Green River through the Gates of Lodore, on the Yampa River and on the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park.
A recent conversation with Meg Hatch, previous owner of the company, revealed that as a city kid, she had never been on a river before her late husband, Don Hatch, one of Bus's sons, introduced her to the beauty, magic, mystery and restorative power of wild places. From her home in Vernal, Utah, Meg said, "River running created self-assuredness and it allowed me to interact with people I never would have met otherwise. I can't help but think about the economically trying times in 1929 when my father-in-law, Bus Hatch, first began operating commercial river trips. And though we are now experiencing a similar economic climate, then as now, a river trip continues to provide much-needed therapy that continues to resonate with people. People need the wonder, beauty and excitement of a river canyon to create balance in their lives."
The same time Bus Hatch started a new industry with his river running business, the country experienced a declining real estate market and a stock market crash. Unemployment subsequently rose to an all-time high. During this period of economic depression, families sought a sense of community and inspiration. They wanted to overcome helplessness and powerlessness. They wanted simple, inexpensive entertainment that made them feel good.
Then, as now, the value of a river trip is priceless. Consider the value of an all-inclusive adventure: whitewater rafting, camping under the stars, enjoying freshly-cooked camp meals, telling stories around a campfire and creating life-long memories with friends and loved ones. These are experiences that remain relevant regardless of the economic or political climate.
The HATCH family name has been synonymous with river running since 1929. With blessings from the National Park Service and the Hatch family, in 2007 Don Hatch River Expeditions became a part of the O.A.R.S. Family of Companies. It has been a seamless transition and one that offers generations of Hatch adventurers more opportunities on dozens of rivers throughout the West. Since 1969 the O.A.R.S. Family of Companies has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking, hiking and multi-sport adventures with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines of the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries worldwide including one-day and weekend escapes. For more information on the O.A.R.S. Family of Companies, including Grand Canyon Dories, Rivers Fiji, Rivers, Oceans & Mountains and Don Hatch River Trips, call 1-800-346-6277, email the company at info(at)oars.com or visit http://www.oars.com.