Member Spotlight: OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River

A third generation family owned and operated business, OWL Rafting offers world class whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River. OWL Rafting is certified Silver with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism. Continue reading to learn more about their journey towards sustainability:

Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?

OWL Rafting is a third generation family owned and run business, in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. OWL strives to lead the outdoor adventure tourism industry in whitewater rafting adventures on the world famous Rocher Fendu section of the Ottawa River. At OWL we are so much more then just rafting! Each trip finishes with our signature BBQ on board our beautiful pontoon boats as we return back to our riverside resort, where guests can then enjoy the beachfront, 9 hole disc golf and live music on the weekends.

Why is sustainability important to you/your business?

Visitors to OWL Rafting come for an adventure but return for the beauty of the natural environment we share with them during their stay. The river has been our home for 40 years. And we have seen the changes over time and believe that sustainable tourism is essential to the future of the Ottawa River. The Algonquin people have lived here for millennia. We hold the responsibility to ensure it will continue to thrive for future generations. This watershed is home, our work, our community, and our playground.

Why did you join GreenStep Sustainable Tourism?

We felt that joining Sustainable Tourism was very important and has allowed us to stay focused on our initiatives. It allows us to share our goals and achievements with others to hopefully influence other businesses to join, so we can all continue to operate in these magical spaces we get to call home.

What sustainability related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travelers to know about?

Being part of the Whitewater paddling industry, the river is very near and dear to hearts, and thus the conservation of water is key. Since the beginning, OWL Rafting has been using low-flow and composting toilets, waterless urinals, and low flow shower heads. The water in our guest wash house is also pre heated by solar power. This project saves hundreds of thousands of litres of water every season. We are also in the food service industry, where we serve our guests both on resort and onboard our pontoon boats. We were finding that we were accumulating an uncomfortable amount of food waste each day. To curb the sheer volume of garbage that we were producing, we began raising pigs on site. Between our pigs and our compost system, we now have 0 food waste. **New in 2023 we now have 2 electric vehicle charging stations on site.

What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?

Although we now hold our Silver certification through GreenStep, we understand that we need to continue to strive to improve and advance our environmental impacts. We are looking at practices to limit our waste on a daily basis and particularly paying attention to our partners we choose to do business with, to ensure their values are in line with ours.

To learn more about OWL Rafting – visit: owlrafting.com