Guide Profile: Henry and Lana Madsen


Our first trip with NRA was in 1987.  (Yikes).  Moose Ponds trip on the Nahanni with the famous Neil Harling and the infamous Randy Clement.  I could attach some photos but they would be incriminating.

In my spare time I attempt a career as Principal with Edmonton Public Schools

Along with Lana, we own and operate an outdoor education facility, HeLa.

Our two children, both involved in outdoor activities.  Kiera is now guiding young groups at HeLa, Rhea has found a passion in cross country.  She is not yet in to white water.

Our favorite aspect of guiding is the clients.  It is a privilege and a joy to share the most beautiful rivers in the world with others.  That of course includes the hiking, photography, meals, canyons, vistas, and on and on and on.

I don’t have a favorite memory.  I have many, and they run the spectrum from quiet nights watching wildlife, to exciting white water; from the surprise of guests when served gourmet meals to the vistas from Nahanni Plateau.  How do you rank order the spectacles, variety, and wonder of these trips.  (And I am not trying to sound maudlin or like a travel agent.)

We were both drawn to guiding by a love of the outdoors and a desire to share it.  On a more pragmatic note, Lana and I started guiding as a way to get us through University.  30 years later we are still guiding, sometimes with clients, sometimes with friends and family, and often with both.

Eco / Adventure tourism is one of our most promising strategies for sensitizing our society to what we need to protect.  The wild places are illusory until you experience and touch them.  Spend a week on a river, and you will no longer deliberate about the vital need for stewardship and protection, the need to have an opinion about poaching, whale hunting, strip mining, dams, nuclear reactors, and pesticides.  You will no longer assume that the world owes us everything that we can tear out, plunder and devour.  Spend a week on a river and we will better understand what we owe our world.