Moab’s oldest guiding company to celebrate 50th anniversary on April 4
Mar 27, 2014 | 1970 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tag-A-Long Anniversary
Tag-A-Long Expeditions guides take a group down the Colorado River.
Courtesy photo
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Tag-A-Long Expeditions, the oldest guide company and outfitter in Moab, will celebrate its 50th anniversary next month. To celebrate, Tag-A-Long will host an open house at its office at 452 N. Main St., on Friday, April 4. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The Moab Chamber of Commerce will be on-site for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and food and prizes will be available, according to a news release from the company.

  Tag-A-Long’s founder, Mitch Williams, was instrumental in the creation of Canyonlands National Park, according to information provided by Tag-A-Long Expeditions. Mitch and his wife, Mary, decided to start an off-road tour business in the canyons that surround Moab. At first, the couple offered guided tours during which travelers would drive their own four-wheel-drive vehicles to “tag-a-long” as they went exploring.

  Later, the Williams’ began looking to offer river trips as well. In fact, Tag-A-Long Tours was the first company to run the scenic stretch on the Colorado River just upstream from Moab on a daily basis. That section, which is now called the Scenic Splash, is still lovingly referred to as the “daily” by many Moab residents.

Bob Jones and Paul Niskanen took over Tag-A-Long in 1982. Both had experience working in the tourism industry and felt it was important to learn all they could about this new venture.

They not only managed the operations of the company, but made sure to learn all the tours so they could guide them as well.

When Jones and Niskanen came aboard, they streamlined the trips to focus on guest satisfaction.

“We were the first in this area to carry sleeping pads that helped our guests sleep better,” Jones said, “While other outfitters used a primitive toilet seat over a bucket, we developed ‘civilized’ wilderness toilet systems complete with privacy tents. We introduced tables and chairs for dining, along with more environmentally-friendly motors. We placed new emphasis on food preparation, on guides sharing their knowledge about the region, and beginning the day early enough to visit fascinating side canyons that were previously bypassed.”

  This new style of trips was well-received by many European visitors. Soon, European media came as well. They joined the trips to film documentaries for German television and wrote articles for France’s leading newspapers and magazines.

Over the years, with this publicity, Moab became known worldwide as an adventure capital.

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