About Us

The River Touring Section (RTS) is the group within Sierra Club's Wisconsin Chapter that is dedicated to whitewater and quietwater paddling. We formed in the 1960's, back when most paddlers relied on canoes made of wood or aluminum, and kayaks were a rarity. In recent years, as boats have evolved, RTS paddlers have sported all manner of canoe and kayak. Our mission has changed little over the years, and can be found on our home page.

RTS membership includes over 300 paddlers, mostly from Wisconsin. We include singles, couples and families of all sorts. All it takes to obtain a three-year membership is to join us on a paddling trip or clinic.  Members are added to our mailing list, receive information about upcoming trips, and are invited to our annual meeting. The annual meeting is typically held in January, at which time we gather to elect the RTS Chairperson, conduct any additional RTS business, start our trip and clinic list for the year ahead, view slides and videos from the previous year, and enjoy a potluck.

Trips and clinics are led by experienced volunteer leaders who meet Sierra Club and RTS training and approval criteria. Our safety rule of thumb is to have at least one 'leader boat' for every five 'participant boats' on whitewater trips and at least one 'leader boat' for every ten 'participant boats' on easier quietwater trips. We offer day trips, weekend trips, and trips of a week or longer.  Most of our trips take place on Wisconsin rivers, but search our trip list and most years you will also find paddling trips outside the state, for example in Minnesota, Montana, Iowa, Michigan, Florida, Arkansas or Canada.

Participants must pre-register for trips and clinics by obtaining approval from trip/clinic leaders in advance. A liability waiver must also be signed before embarking on the trip or clinic. Trip/Clinic leaders will ask questions of would-be participants to gauge whether they have the experience, equipment and physical requirements likely to be needed on the trip. It is customary for participants to provide their own equipment, transportation, camping or lodging arrangements and food. All trips are free unless otherwise indicated. Click here or on the 'Trips' button at the top of the page for our most updated trip list and a more detailed explanation of participant requirements. All trip and clinic participants are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and are currently required to wear a face mask securly over their nose and mouth when indoors with persons outside their household, including on shuttles.

New RTS members are always welcome! We encourage canoe and kayak paddlers of all ages and abilities to search our trip list for at least one trip or clinic that suits them. For more information, click on the topic buttons at the top of the page or contact RTS Chair: Kevin Olson at olsonfam44@rucls.net or 608-356-8992.

This page last updated: 03-28-2023