The whole thrust of "The Thrill That Can Kill" seems to be to sensationalize and mislead. Tales of mishaps are unduly emphasized, and repeated. The very positive (and safe) side of river floating is slighted.
Charlie Walbridge is quoted: "If someone can't accept risks, he'd be better off going to Disneyland." You might as well say, "He'd be better off not getting out of bed in the morning." Does Disneyland claim to be risk-free? You might check out its liability insurance premiums.
Discouraging normally prudent people from enjoying the wonder and beauty of our rivers does a disservice to the recreation-seeking public, the skilled and dedicated outfitters and guides who make rivers widely available, and to the very cause of saving and protecting the wild rivers themselves.
The idea that most people who float wild rivers are doing it for daredevil thrills is way off the mark. The sense of exhilaration in a rapid is fine, but it is the savoring of nature at its own pace, the enjoyment of wild scenery from the only really natural trails there are, the knowledge that your visit has had the least possible impact on the scene--these are among the reasons why a float trip is the finest outing in the world.
MARTIN LITTON, president
Great River Journeys