Smart Green Systems

1 Person, 1 Day, 1% for the Planet

Click below to see ways to make small changes every day that make a difference!


Here at Colorado River Discovery we are acutely aware of the importance of running a green operation.  Each day our staff is charged with the task of educating our guests on the rich human and natural history of the Colorado River corridor through Glen Canyon.  A large portion of this education is focused on sustaining this magical portion of the Colorado River for future generations that will visit long after we are gone.  We have found over the years that the most efficient way to obtain the support and participation in any program within our business is through education.  Colorado River Discovery has provided opportunities for our staff and guests to learn about the value of our Smart Green Systems and allowed them to make their own decisions on the level of participation.  By not playing “Green Police”, we feel that all who participate in our Smart Green Systems feel like they have a vested interest in the sustainability of our planet while enjoying Colorado River rafting through Glen Canyon.  Colorado River Discovery through our Smart Green Systems, is committed to implementing programs and projects that will contribute to sustaining the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Using the Colorado River to educate us on sustainability

Smart Green Systems primary goal is to make our participants aware of the benefits of its practices so that each person feels a sense of strong involvement, no matter how large or small their contribution.  Colorado River Discovery has implemented these didactic tools throughout our business, highlighting simple methods to help with the sustainability of our planet.  Our educational materials are formulated to show the effects of none green practices on the environment in the Colorado River corridor,  which can all be translated to any area of the World.  We hope that our staff and guests can take the information provided through Smart Green Systems and apply it in their everyday lives.  We hope that the experiences that are produced by our Colorado River Rafting trip can help bolster their motivation to apply these practices, so that future generations can experience the same emotional connections with the Colorado River through Glen Canyon.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We’ve all heard it… we’ve all tried to do it… we have not always succeeded.  Smart Green Systems has taken a different approach to the Reduction, Reuse and Recycling of materials and energy in our business by choosing a variety of small practices to help each one of these areas of sustainability in our rafting operation.  We have put systems in place to reduce the use of material in our business, such as, offering Smart Green Systems carabineer mugs to our river rafting guest to use for drinking water while on the river trip.  This reduces the need for paper cups or water bottles and is a great souvenir to remember your rafting experience.  We have also taken the time to reuse materials throughout our Welcome Center like wood for displays in our store and our check-in counter for river trips.  We also keep our materials that are no longer functional, to use for parts to fix items throughout our operation.  Items that are included in this list are wood, life jackets, pontoons, rope, straps and coffee grounds for compost.

We realize that our guests and staff are going to have waste and the best way to combat waste is to recycle the products or come up with creative ways to reuse them.  Recycling opportunities are abundant while on our rafting trips and while at our welcome center.  We have made it our priority to make recycling easier than throwing items in the regular trash.  We have done this through education and correct placement of recycling receptacles throughout our operation.  Many of the products that we carry throughout our store are made from recycled materials.  Items like cups for coffee and other drinks in our café, clothing and uniforms, backpacks, and many more are included in this list.  Many simple things can be done to reduce, reuse and recycle in any operation.  Often times these practices are good for business in many different ways; it can save money, save time and of course… Save the Planet.

Reduction of fossil fuel use on a Colorado River Rafting trip

Colorado River Discovery is pleased that they have been able to share this portion of the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon National Recreation area with an average of 51, 500 guests per year since our inception in late 2006.  We are happy to accommodate everyone that would like to share this amazing rafting experience with everyone that is interested in experience this wonderful stretch of river.  Since the beginning of our concessions contract, we realized the importance of managing the impact on the environment while accommodating this many each year.  One of the first goals of reducing the impact was formulating a way to minimize the amount of fossil fuel consumption within our operation.  CRD again, made it our mission to reduce our fuel consumption by 20% from the previous operator by using simple techniques to accomplish this goal.  Colorado River Discovery has adopted three steps to meet our goals; proper training of equipment operation by our staff, exceptional upkeep and maintenance of our motors and development of new technologies to reduce noise and consumption of fossil fuels.

Each Colorado River Discovery raft is powered by one of the cleanest, most fuel efficient and quietest outboard motors available today, supplied by Honda Marine.   Our training techniques for these motors are nothing profound and extremely easy to follow.  We have focused on skills that will perfect throttle control by our guides; proper reading of the water which allows our guides to efficiently use the river’s current as propulsion and proper tilt/trim of our motors in order to get the most efficient propulsion.  These simple training techniques have fundamentally increased the efficiency of our fuel consumption and allows our rafting trips to run quietly down the Colorado River.

Colorado River Discovery employs a certified Honda Marine mechanic responsible for the upkeep and repair of our clean burning 4 stroke motors.  We have set a maintenance schedule to make sure that all our motors have the essential fluids and proper working mechanics to run efficiently.  CRD knows very well aware that a small mechanical problem can become a large problem if not tended to quickly and properly, and thus, we take pride in the conservation of our equipment throughout each season.

Colorado River Discovery has always tried to keep our finger on the pulse of emerging technologies that can possibly facilitate sustainability along the Colorado River corridor.  In the recent past, the Grand Canyon River Outfitters along with Colorado River Discovery have embark on our alternative motor technology program in the development and implementation of proven, environmentally-sensitive non-fossil fuel based motorboat propulsion systems with low noise and low or zero emission operating characteristics suitable for sustained commercial river operations.  These river outfitters have pledged substantial resources for the Colorado River alternative motor program.  The project initially included partnerships between the National Park Service, the Colorado River rafting industry, multiple academic institutions, as well as private industry.

Engineering schools from the University of Utah, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona have developed and rigorously field tested different prototypes to compare systems and technology.  In the future it is our hope that this program is able to render an emerging, cutting-edge technology that will be able to meet our sustainability goals.

Why Smart Green Systems refuses to be NORMAL!

It is our goal to manage Smart Green Systems in a way that we can always be at least one step ahead of national and state environmental legislation.  We refuse to be the normal kid in town!

We hope that over a period of time we can be looked at as staple of our community when it comes to sustainable practices.  CRD is always happy to hear from members of our community, as well as river guest, on ways that we can become more efficient in our sustainable practices.  We want you to bug us!  Send us an email… post on our facebook wall… give us a call, or even send us a good ole fashioned letter by snail mail.  if your ONE letter causes us to implement something that could save us 50 pieces of paper; that’s a win in our book.  We realize that collective minds are much more powerful than the minds of a few, so give us a shout, and help make us look cool!