In the context of an expedition on one of the classic whitewater rivers of the West, students are introduced to the natural and cultural history of the Colorado Plateau as well as the skills and knowledge pertinent to technical whitewater and cooperative group expeditions. Topics for study include vegetation, wildlife, geography, geology, high desert ecology, general aspects of Indian and non-Indian cultures of the bioregion, and critical analysis of contemporary conservation issues. Students will study these topics in the context of a collaborative research project, coordinated with the BLM or other land management agencies. Research methods, data collection and reporting will be central to the project. Developing skills in whitewater hydrology, piloting watercraft, whitewater safety, conducting river trip logistics, and performing equipment repair and maintenance are also integral parts of the curriculum. As the course progresses, students will learn to embrace a holistic approach to wilderness river leadership that integrates bioregional studies, resource management assessments and backcountry travel in a seamless fashion.