New Owners of Seventh Mtn Rafting Hope to Make Business More 'Local' | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

New Owners of Seventh Mtn Rafting Hope to Make Business More 'Local'

Local owners bring back family-friendly, non-corporate vibe

Previous General Manager of Seventh Mtn rafting, Andrew Soriano and his wife, Carlene, purchased the Seventh Mountain Rafting Company in 2023, partnering with Soriano's stepfather Troy Gallagher. Seven days a week, the company offers whitewater rafting adventures with class 3 rapids on the Big Eddy section of the Deschutes River. Guests can also take flatwater tours on a kayak or paddle board. The Source Weekly chatted with Soriano about the purchase.

click to enlarge New Owners of Seventh Mtn Rafting Hope to Make Business More 'Local'
Seventh Mtn Rafting

Source Weekly: What prompted you to purchase the rafting company?

Andrew Soriano: I used to work for Wyndham, which is the company that purchased Seventh Mountain back in 2013. I ran Seventh Mountain as the GM [general manager] there for about seven years and then left to start my own businesses.

Wyndham was looking to sell...they wanted to find a good operator, so they called me and we said, "Yes, we'd love to buy it." We wanted to make it kind of great again and go through everything and just do it with a more local feel rather than the corporate feel, and it was a good fit.

SW: Have there been any changes within the company since you bought it?

AS: The biggest change, I would think, is just not being a large corporation. It was one of those things where, as we got into it, we really wanted to be more family-owned, you know, not so corporate, where we could actually get to know the people that work for us.

We just want it to be family friendly, and we wanted to be able to make it more local and just keep whatever money is made by it, that it just goes back into this community. We did a new river fee. Essentially, it lets us pay our guides to be able to do cleanups and stuff on the river.

SW: How does the river fee work?

Carlene Soriano: It's our conservation and cleanliness fee. We have guides that make sure there's no debris or fallen trees, branches, anything like that in the water that could obstruct our guest experience, and we all will personally get out there and try and help clean up. It's also just cleaning up trash. So, we're just putting a lot of effort into just any piece of environment that we touch around there. We want to leave it better than, you know, when we came so that's been a big focus for us as well.

SW: How many trips would you say occur during the season?

AS: We'll take roughly about 1,000 people on our flatwater tour, is the goal for this season. That's like standup paddleboards, kayaking, that kind of thing... the other permit that we have is, of course, Big Eddy, and so that trip will take probably around anywhere from 7,500 people up to as many as 9,000.

Seventh Mtn Rafting
Seventhmtnrafting.com

Julianna LaFollette

Julianna earned her Masters in Journalism at NYU in 2024. She loves writing local stories about interesting people and events. When she’s not reporting, you can find her cooking, participating in outdoor activities or attempting to keep up with her 90 pound dog, Finn.
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