This past weekend river legend and dear Holiday River Expeditions friend Herm Hoops was inducted into the John Wesley Powell River Runner History Museum Hall of Fame. Cheerleaders for Herm’s induction had been pushing for this for years but Herm, a sitting member of the selection committee for the museum, successfully filibustered a nomination for himself back in 2018. However humble he may be, 2019 found Herm’s name at the top of the pile, along with long-time river legend Moki Mac Ellingson. The Holiday River team showed up in force.
This award has been a long time coming, due to his uncommonly diligent and consistent presence in the river running community. As Cody Perry, Director of The Salad Days a short film made about Hoops’ impact on rivers, said eloquently this past Saturday, “Once you’re running rivers out West, it doesn’t take long before you hear the name Herm Hoops”.
Laden with a mountain of evidence all of Herm’s life has been spent in service to rivers, from interpretation as a Ranger in Dinosaur National Monument, to the meticulous collation of the history of rubber boating in collaboration with the University of Utah Special Collections Department, to his incredibly well read & frequently updated e-mail list informing followers of each and every major threat to western rivers, to pretty much every interaction with the guy. Herm stands as an example of how to effectively and passionately transmute love of a place into active advocacy for it.
Herm chose to spend his 15 minutes of fame at the ceremony reminding us of that duty we all have to these rivers we love. “A good river runner knows a degree about law, management and regulations and they are proactive in protecting the rivers and leave more than they take.” While Herm’s days of river running have likely come-and gone, he has turned his life towards the eyes of the future, to young minds who will sink their skills and hearts into protecting these canyons. He reminded us to “Mentor those faces of tomorrow, share with them, harbor and help enrich their dreams.” As the ‘old guard’ of the golden age of rafting is slowly leaving this earth, it’s on the next generation to take up the helm and fiercely protect these places we all love so deeply.
Thanks Herm from the bottom of our Holiday hearts; we will be thinking of you on the river.
By Lauren Wood :
I have been a river runner my entire life. It was learning from the Holiday boatwomen and men of the 1990′s that led me to find my own oars. I have been a guide for Holiday River Expeditions since 2009. In my spare time I work as the Green Riverkeeper Affiliate with Living Rivers & sit on the Board of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club. A life well spent organizing communities to protect the rivers and lands I love. I find that the lessons from the river inform my climate justice work and truly all aspects of my life.