Dustin Aherin

Dustin W. Aherin

Outfitter at Idaho River Adventures

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Location:
P.O. Box 1415, Salmon, Idaho, United States

General Information

Experience

Progress

Education

Genesee High School

Affiliations

Founder  - Inland Northwest Citizens

Recent News  

Dustin Aherin, the owner of Idaho River Adventures, started his "Pickin' on the Middle Fork" music trips five years ago as a way to reach social media circles that might not be familiar with the river rafting.
Aherin began guiding in 1996 and over the years noticed Western outfitters branching into music with symphony or jazz focused river trips. Tapping into the Americana roots genre, he booked his first band, the Infamous Stringdusters, in 2013. Since then he's worked to bring about a dozen different groups and their fans to the remote river. "People will sign up based on their love of musicians," said Aherin, 43, who lives part of the year in Lewiston and part in Salmon, Idaho. "Some of them have never spent the night outside." "The first trick is finding bands that understand what they're getting into," Aherin said. Aherin is a leave-no-trace outfitter, which means that everything packed in gets packed out, including human waste. "Some people are not comfortable with that," Aherin said. There's also risk. He warns people the wilderness is not a controlled environment. Aherin had a custom set of dry bags made for carrying instruments on the wild river. He pays an extra licensed guide to row the boat carrying them. There are usually guitars, banjos, and mandolins but he's also transported a stand-up bass and a partial drum kit. "Knowing the trip would end if those instruments sunk, I think it's money well spent," he said. "It's a little bit more laid back than a concert." Music on the trip is unstructured. It's up to the band to decide when to play. Often it starts after Aherin's crew has fed the travelers dinner. Bringing bands in was initially a risk because Aherin was giving away seats that sell for $2,250 a person but it's paid off, he said. The band trips have increased sales of his general raft trips. At concerts he'll sometimes see "Pickin' on the Middle Fork" T-shirts in the crowd. Most rewarding is exposing new people to the outdoor experiences public lands offer, he said.

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So when Dustin Aherin, long-time friend of SOS and owner of Idaho River Adventures approached us at the start of 2013 to work together on a summer raft trip/fundraiser, we jumped at the opportunity.
We expect to partner with Dustin and his awesome team at Idaho River Adventures again in 2014! A huge thanks to wonderful salmon-supporting people who joined our trip and to Dustin and everyone at I.R.A. who made this trip a huge success - AND helped SOS raise $4000 at the same time!

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