The Environment

Respect for the environment and its interconnection with every living thing: that’s what makes your trip with Holiday special. This respect isn’t an afterthought for our company, but rather the foundation of it. These rivers have given us everything: from enjoyment and adventure to a deep sense of peace and belonging, and the very sustenance of life both in ecosystems and our bodies. Water is life. Say it again! Water IS life.

That’s why we use oars on our rafts, and never motors. It seems to us that rushing to get there is exactly what you took a vacation to get away from. We have spent well over 50 years cultivating a unique culture at Holiday River Expeditions, that is founded upon deep respect: for the Land, for the River, and for you, our Guests. Our guides are selected for their respect for the environment and contributions to preserving the rivers and trails we love.

Because we are all connected, our approach to working on behalf of the environment is multifaceted. In hopes of inspiring action, we provide interpretation about the natural world on all of our trips. We continually hone our efficient design at our headquarters to work smarter. And finally, we work regularly with partner organizations to focus on systems-wide change.

No Motors Since 1966


Part of our commitment to the environment and our guests is how we approach going down the river; it’s not so much getting from point A to point B that matters, but rather the way you get there. The way we run our trips is tailored both for our guests’ enjoyment and for the preservation of wild places. There is a mindfulness to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of everything that gets done around camp and on river. Moreover, there is an ethos behind never using a gasoline motor to access these delicate ecosystems, picking up every last bit of trash, or creating elegant designs to reduce wasted time, energy, or resources. We believe our efforts and attention to detail will create an unforgettably intimate experience for your friends and family in the natural world.

Oars Only

Our Mission Statement


Holiday River Expeditions’ goal is to preserve our nation’s wild lands. By providing our guests with an enjoyable wilderness experience with an opportunity to learn about the natural world, Holiday trips develop their awareness and encourage the preservation of wild places.

Holiday will accomplish this through:

  • Diligent Training
  • Meaningful Interpretation
  • Innovative Equipment and Facilities
  • Responsible Stewardship of the Land
  • Environmentally Sound Business Practice
Yampa Retro River Mathers Camp Boats

Organizations We Support


Whether by being leading visionaries of these organizations, or simply helping them raise much-needed cash by stewarding their supporters down the river, Holiday has embedded in our foundation a moral commitment to protecting the planet we all live on and the rivers we love to run. From the large, national organizations to unpaid grassroots networks, here is a list of some of the organizations we believe in:

  • Living Rivers
  • Green River Action Network
  • Utah Rivers Council
  • Sierra Club (Utah Chapter)
  • HEAL Utah
  • Waterkeeper Alliance
  • Wasatch/Canyon Country Rising Tide
  • Great Old Broads for Wilderness
  • Glen Canyon Institute
  • Grand Canyon Trust
  • Uplift Climate Network
  • Wildlands Network
  • Cloud Ridge Naturalists
  • Audubon Society
  • Nature Conservancy
Maze Harvest Scene Canyonlands Petroglyphs

“The Doing of the Thing”


We understand that real change happens systemically (after all, we are like a river, very much interconnected). Although Holiday’s staff spends a fair amount of time working towards structural change and solving the root causes of issues that impact our natural world and our global climate, we cannot “talk the talk” in our advocacy without also “walking the walk”. As famous river runner Buzz Holmstrom once said, it is in the “doing of the thing.” In our day-to-day practices and behaviors, we endeavor to model an ethical lifestyle, one at peace with the natural world we enjoy so much. Here are some of the things we do on the daily!

  • Recycle on all our trips and at our office, even though our operational headquarters are in towns without recycling facilities.
  • Conserve water at our operational headquarters, including using graywater tanks.
  • Conserve electricity at our operational headquarters.
  • Generate electricity with self-designed and self-installed solar arrays on our Green River headquarters building.
  • No-idling practices with our vans.
  • Work to source food from ethical/sustainable distributors.
The Doing of the Thing Triple Rig

Leave No Trace


We are visitors to pristine wildernesses of unimaginable beauty; therefore, we go above and beyond to make sure we leave little impact. Our founder, Dee Holladay, was responsible for developing many of the Leave No Trace principles now required by land management agencies in modern river and land use permits. Consequently, we take our adherence to these principles very seriously. From using fire blankets and portable fire pits, to picking up every last bit of micro-trash, our guides will make sure that the beaches we visit look as untouched as they did before we arrived—sometimes even better. Holiday even helped innovate the packing out of solid human waste!

In everything we do, we try to “leave only footprints, and take only pictures.”

Leave No Trace Cans