Vancouver, Wash. - A kayaking team is traveling 130 miles of the Columbia River from Portland to the Pacific Ocean this week, to help veterans experiencing rough waters. One of the paddlers, Portland resident Andy Maser, says the idea is to raise awareness and money for charities involved in designing innovative support programs for veterans with disabilities, such as outdoor recreation.
"Get disabled veterans returning from overseas tours outdoors, for both physical and emotional recovery and rehabilitation."
Restoring healthy rivers is important to boost such recreational opportunities, says Maser. And, while much of the focus on restoring Columbia River water quality has centered on fish and wildlife, another of his group's goals is to show how clean rivers also benefit people.
"We're using this recreational opportunity to show that these rivers are beautiful, valuable places, with many different potentials for use."
While much of the Columbia is scenic, Maser notes he has encountered polluted waters along industrial zones this week. The kayakers plan to arrive at Ft. Stevens, Washington, on Saturday. The kayakers are raising money for Disabled American Veterans, Team River Runner, and WeLoveCleanRivers.org.