A Letter to Our Guests – Your Reservation and COVID 19

A Letter to Our Guests – Your Reservation and COVID 19

A Letter to Our Guests – Your River Reservation and COVID-19:

Our amazing customers and guides have been weighing heavy on our minds over the last couple of weeks, and we hope that you are all staying healthy and informed during these unprecedented times. We know that many of you have questions and concerns as you think ahead to your scheduled river trips, and we want to take a moment to let you know what our current plan is for the season ahead.

First of all, we want to tell you how incredibly grateful we are for the support that so many of you have shown over the past few weeks. Thank you for being kind, decent, and understanding as our response to COVID-19 has continued to develop. There is no doubt that these are incredibly trying times for all of us. Our small industry and business is no exception, and we will likely be put to a true test of strength over the next weeks, months and even years ahead. I think we can agree that the unknown of this circumstance is one of the hardest parts. We as a family and a company recognize that how we choose to react and respond to this situation will undoubtedly become part of our legacy as we move forward.

Starting today, we are placing a hold on any current reservations until April 21st. All invoices for 2020 trips will be modified, delaying final payment due dates for an additional 30 days. Final payments originally scheduled to be due 90 days prior to your trip date will now be due 60 days prior to your trip date. We hope this change relieves some of the anxiety over your trip, and any stress about making additional payments at this time. We will take the next 30 days to continue to monitor and further evolve our plans for the season based on information from the Centers of Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and our various outfitter associations. We have multiple ever-evolving contingency plans for the season ahead, and tentative plans in place to cope with the varying levels of severity of impact of the virus. We will roll out these plans as appropriate to this fluid situation. As your outfitters, we take pride in coordinating the details of your experience so that you don’t have to. Please trust in us to do the same right now. Rest assured that our days have been, and will continue to be, consumed with planning and strategizing for the wide array of unknowns.

One of our biggest concerns today is our amazing crew who make it possible to offer the wonderful river experiences that have touched the lives of many. These outstanding men and women have dedicated a huge part of their lives to introducing our guests to the wonders and magic of the river. Each person on our staff is an important part of our family, and we will be working hard to continue to employ and support our guide family through these uneasy times. We will be doing everything we can to make decisions that support both our guide family and customers. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and remember that they stand the chance of losing a large portion their livelihood in this public health emergency.

On a positive note, we feel lucky that we still have time before our river season starts. Our first trip on the Middle Fork is just under three months away and a lot can change in that time. If the amount our lives have changed in the last week alone is any indication, things could look much different, hopefully for the better, a month from now. When this is all over, we expect the river is exactly where you’ll want to find yourself. We look forward to washing away all the stress and isolation we are collectively experiencing in the cool waters of our favorite rivers. When that time comes, we will be ready for you.

With this year being our 98th year in operation as a family owned and operated business, we have been through a lot over the years: wars, the Great Depression, economic recessions, family-business transitions (hehe!). We have felt the impacts from a wide variety of both global and regional events over the last ten decades. While the world is undoubtedly a much different place today than it was when Prince Helfrich got started back in 1922, our reputation and our commitment to our wonderful customers and guides have stood the test of time. Today is no different. Many of you have become loyal friends, who have returned again and again to experience the river with our family. We greatly appreciate your support and friendship and are dedicated to making it through these tough times side by side.

We appreciate you giving us the next month to assess and make more informed decisions about river reservations for this season. At that time we hope to have a much better understanding of what the future holds, and have more information to make the decisions ahead. No one can make guarantees at this point. What we CAN guarantee is that we will do everything within our power to take care of you, communicate with you, and make things right moving forward. We are committed to protecting our Helfrich River Outfitters staff, and their families. We are committed to staying on top of this situation and learning all we can about potential solutions moving forward. We are committed to taking care of our customers and maintaining those relationships for many more years to come.

This will eventually pass, and we look forward to once again enjoying these amazing rivers together. In the mean time, please feel free to call or email me (Kelsey) directly with any questions or concern. My direct number is (208) 926-2141.

Updates for the river season ahead will be periodically posted on this River News Page periodically.

Please also stay in touch with us through our Helfrich Outfitter Facebook page for both important river news and fun photos and updates from the river: https://www.facebook.com/HelfrichOutfitters

Thank you for your patience and support.

Best Fishes,

Kelsey, Ken and the Helfrich River Outfitters Family

“The song of the river ends not at her banks, but in the hearts of those who have loved her” – Buffalo Joe

Your Middle Fork Trip and COVID 19

Your Middle Fork Trip and COVID 19

Helfrich River Outfitters places the highest priority on the health and safety of our guests and staff.  In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other state and federal health agencies. We are establishing additional protocols and safety guidelines developed by global and local public health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous.

We have always taken great pride in maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in wilderness environments. We are diligent about the wellbeing and safety of our guests and guides both on and off the water.  We practice safe food handling techniques, sanitize common camping and food areas, and provide multiple, convenient hand wash stations at camp.  If a river location is common to multiple visitors, we provide stations there as well. Gear we provide for your personal use, i.e. tents, sleeping pads and sleeping bags, are sanitized between each trip.  During this period of heightened COVID-19 awareness, we will remind guests and our staff of all updated recommended procedures that reduce vulnerability.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River flows through the center of the largest wilderness in the continental United States, providing a unique and isolated place to spend your vacation away from the general public.  We plan to provide you with an opportunity to escape society and enjoy a stress free week on the river.

As COVID-19 awareness expands, we will make adjustments that address heightened concerns. We do not anticipate having to cancel any Middle Fork trips. We believe it is in challenging times like these that the experience of a river trip is a welcome reprieve from the day to day negative news. Whether you are planning a river trip now or in the future, our crew is looking forward to sharing and exploring the Middle Fork of the Salmon with you.

 

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend protecting your investment in your vacation by purchasing travel insurance for all river trip reservations. Our goal is to provide each of our guests with a safe and successful river experience. For this reason Helfrich Outfitters highly recommends that all of our guests purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of their trip. It is important to remember that trips operated in the wilderness always run a higher risk of cancellation due to natural events such as wildfires, water levels, road closures or other conditions beyond our control that can make the area uninhabitable or inaccessible. Travel insurance will protect your investment if we were to be faced with one of these unfortunate scenarios. Trip insurance can also provide you with benefits including emergency evacuation, lost luggage coverage and cancellation due to a personal, family or medical emergency.  Certain policies even provide “cancel for any reason” coverage if you simply decide to not attend the trip.  Policies typically run about 3-5% of the trip cost and quotes are based on client age, trip cost, state of origin, etc.

For more information on the recommended plans or to enroll, view the details By Clicking Here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference our Location Number: 12-0050 and company, Helfrich River Outfitters.  Our office staff can also help you with purchasing policies by request.

HRO Cancellation Policy

We understand that things can happen and sometimes it is necessary to cancel your upcoming river trip. If you decide to cancel your reservation, you will need to notify the HRO office in writing and receive confirmation from an HRO staff member that your cancellation has been processed.  Due to our commitment to our guides, contractors and vendors, all deposits, payments, and final payments are non-refundable.  If you cancel, we do not give refunds or credit for future trips.
Partial payment refund available only if the reservation is rebooked within 30 days of your cancellation with an alternate group or individual for same river trip and date. If we are able to find a replacement, you will be issued a refund and a $500 per person cancellation fee will be charged.  It is always best if you can find an alternate person or group to take your reservation. Replacement guests you provide within 30 days of your cancellation will be welcome with no cancellation fee.

Our cancellation policy is firm and we cannot make exceptions. We operate under federal regulations, which restrict the number of guests per trip and the number of trips per season.  We are unable to make exceptions to our cancellation policy for personal, societal or family emergencies. Trips in the outdoors run a higher risk of being impacted due to natural causes. No refunds will be given if your trip must be cancelled due to natural events including but not limited to wildfire and extreme water levels.  For these reasons, we highly recommend that guests purchase trip insurance to protect their investment. Trip insurance also offers many additional benefits including medical evacuation coverage.  If you have any questions regarding our cancellation policy please feel free to contact the Helfrich River Outfitters office and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to help you.

Best Fishes,

The Helfrich Family