Matt Volpert is the General Manager of Kern River Outfitters, a whitewater rafting company in Southern California operating on the Upper, Lower, and Forks of the Kern. He periodically escapes the Kern and guides trips for Rogue River Journeys. He grew up in Point Reyes, California, spent his summers in Salmon, Idaho, and graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara in 2010.
What is your connection to the Rogue River?
During the summer you’ll find me on the Kern River but I do make it up to Oregon for a Rogue trip or two almost every September and October.
You manage Kern River Outfitters – tell us about that operation
The Kern is the most southern river in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Its headwaters are in the Golden Trout Wilderness Area and it makes its way west toward Bakersfield. We run three sections of the Kern – the Upper, Lower, and Forks. The Kern is a busy river with great whitewater and also a lot of people. It’s always refreshing to come to Oregon to visit the Rogue where things are a bit more mellow and quiet.
How long have you been floating the Rogue?
I’ve worked on the Rogue for three seasons.
What are your favorite qualities of the Rogue River?
The mix of fun rapids, the scenery and the vast wild life.
Favorite spot on the Rogue?
Entering Mule Creek Canyon.
Is there a sense of community on the Rogue?
It seems that every company has a close connection to their start group. I’ve always enjoyed working alongside with ARTA and the other companies that RRJ launches with.
Has the Rogue River changed you? How has it shaped your life?
The Rogue River was my first river trip…..when I was 9 months old.
What is the personality of the Rogue River?
The Rogue is a great river for those looking for a nearby multi-day rafting trip that is completely road free, remote, has big swimming holes, fun rapids, warm water, and pretty much unparalleled wildlife.
What’s your favorite time of year to run the Rogue?
I love Fall trips on the Rogue. The river is a bit mellower as the Summer rush has passed, and they’re easy to plan: Most of my friends live within a half day drive, camping is spectacular, the fishing is good and fun and the logistics are simple.
From someone who has seen a lot of different rivers, what stands out about the Rogue?
A niche aspect of the Rogue that is available only on this river is that it caters so perfectly as a great introduction to ‘roughing it’ to non-campers. Building a lodge trip itinerary, and at just three or four days, you can show someone whom has never ventured further than a hotel that experiencing the outdoors is not only easy, but truly fun. The handful of friends that have never camped further than a Coleman Tent in their background regard ‘that lodge trip last summer’ as a vacation highlight of their decade.