Leading the Way with Galen Volckhausen & the Boat Library


“It’s hard to teach people how to kayak; it’s kind of scary to get into, and it costs a lot of money with the initial investment if you’re going to buy yourself a whole new set up of kayaking gear.” – NRS LEAD Athlete Galen Volckhausen

Galen moved to the Columbia River Gorge because of the rivers that flow off the Cascade Range. He soon realized that despite the number of paddlers (and the number of boats sitting unused) in the area, it was still shockingly hard for newcomers to access the sport. When NRS offered support to help give back to his community, Galen knew exactly how to put it to use.

With the help of friends, he constructed a simple wooden shed, stenciled the words “White Salmon Boat Library” on the front and filled it with 30 full sets of whitewater gear and equipment. From IKs and creekers to PFDs and helmets, everything has been donated for members to use—free of charge.

Much like a traditional library, the White Salmon Boat Library is more than a gear shed; it’s a community center for newcomers to cultivate a love for kayaking and a love for the outdoors.

Learn more about the White Salmon Boat Libary.


“Leading the Way” is a film series that celebrates and promotes NRS ambassadors, organizations and projects fostering inclusivity and positive change in the outdoors.