TAPS Togethers: New River Gorge National Park Whitewater Rafting Day

add to outlook calendar add to gmail calendar August 10, 2024
New River Gorge National Park, Lansing, West Virginia
Registration Open from July 8, 2024 to August 9, 2024

All survivors, ages 12 and older, grieving the loss of a loved one who served in the U.S. Armed Forces are warmly invited to join fellow survivors for a Whitewater Rafting Day! We will explore the wildernesses of our earth and our emotions alongside fellow survivors in New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. Nature and grief can both often feel vast and un-navigable, but we know that having good guides makes all the difference. So, regardless of where you are in your grief journey or where you are with your outdoor skills, we invite you to join TAPS facilitators and professional outdoor guides as we learn new ways to look at, and move through, some of the world's most inspiring landscapes.


Whitewater rafting on New River

New River West Virginia



In partnership with the National Park Trust, TAPS has prepared a day of connection, healing and adventure for mind, body, and soul. Join fellow survivors in the magical Appalachian Mountains as we explore this National Park by land and river. We will form unique bonds stemming from our shared experiences of loss and grief as we connect with the dynamic landscapes, flora and fauna of the New River Gorge National Park during this experience.

We will spend Saturday exploring New River Gorge National Park, starting at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center. We will explore the park from a variety of perspectives and have an opportunity to connect with survivors in the region. TAPS will provide lunch and snacks throughout your day.

All programs will be done in collaboration with our partners at National Park Trust and the National Parks Service. Please visit the National Park Trust or the National Parks Service websites to learn more about them.



Saturday, August 10: Plan to arrive by 9:45 a.m. local time at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center. TAPS, National Park Trust and National Parks Service staff will be there to greet you. We will spend the morning exploring the park by foot and learning alongside one another. Then, after lunch, we will whitewater raft the New River. After our whitewater experience, we will wash up, share our see you laters and either travel home or stay on your own. Lunch, snacks and water will be provided today.

Optional On Your Own Overnight:  For those that are interested in extending their experience overnight, we recommend booking with Adventures on the Gorge, where we will have our whitewater experience or at a National Parks Service Campground. If you’d like support in finding locations to spend your overnight, TAPS can help you locate them.



This event is rated as a moderate/medium-intensity adventure. We'll be active and everyone will have an opportunity to challenge themselves. Activities will involve physical exertion and the ability to do so at varying elevations. Our entire experience will be outside.



All trip fees from arrival to departure are covered by TAPS thanks to our generous donors.

Trip fees not noted above are your pre/post TAPS Together transportation costs, meals outside of events, guide gratuities and gear not provided.



While TAPS will not be facilitating an overnight stay, we encourage you to stay in New River Gorge National Park at your leisure. We recommend booking with Adventures on the Gorge or staying at a campground in New River Gorge National Park!



Participants will cover the cost of transportation to and from the Canyon Rim Visitors Center, as well as any lodging outside of the dates which TAPS provides.



This event is first come, first served. We encourage you and your family to register early! Due to the nature of our activities, surviving children must be at least 12 years old to attend. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to spending time with you in West Virginia!

If you have any questions, please email adultprograms@taps.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).


Event Facilitator

Rachel Hunsell


Rachel Hunsell

Rachel has a background in experiential program development and facilitation, outdoor engagement, event management and public speaking. As the TAPS Outdoor Programs Manager, she develops, implements, enhances and supports programming across the TAPS network, fostering the connection of our grief journeys to the therapeutic power of nature and the wilderness. Understanding life's challenges will always arise, Rachel encourages survivors to reconnect with their inner strength by creating emotionally safe and understanding environments. As a survivor honoring the life and death of her brother, Marine Lance Corporal J. Kyle Price, she understands the valleys and mountaintops we experience along the journey after loss. The military community is both Rachel’s personal and professional home, where her efforts are directed in helping the community heal their trauma and grow through pain. Rachel obtained her Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations from Southeast Missouri State University in 2013. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Education with a degree in Recreation Therapy at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, where she also served as a Graduate Assistant at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center serving Southern Illinois veterans.