Premier outfitter on the Tuolumne River, an inventor, and prominent conservationist – 2011
Marty McDonnell of Sierra Mac River trips, is the premier outfitter on the Tuolumne River, an inventor whose ideas have affected thousands, and a prominent conservationist who has inspired many to protect the state’s rivers.
As a rafter, McDonnell ran the first descent of the upper Tuolumne, the Cherry Creek run, and began the first commercial rafting trips on this hairball ride. He was the first and only outfitter allowed to run the Middle Fork of the Feather River.
McDonnell has dedicated his life to getting thousands of people safely and comfortably down whitewater rivers. He invented the first self-bailing cataraft, helped develop the Sotar self-bailing raft, and invented the “boom truck” now used by all rafting companies at takeout. He created a new way to rescue people caught at waterfalls, now the standard technique for guides.
He is a charter member of the Tuolumne River Preservation Trust. McDonnell was an instrumental leader who helped saved the Tuolumne River and the Clavey River from getting dammed. The only book written about The T: “Rocks and Rapids of the Tuolumne River” is dedicated to: “Mr. Tuolumne, Marty McDonnell.”