GCPBA Newswire - Lees Ferry Update
As part of GCPBA’s continuing liaison work with Grand Canyon National Park, GCPBA Vice President Rich Phillips spent two days this past weekend (March 15-16) at Lees Ferry, observing and discussing ramp and river issues with Rangers David Chapman and Ray Hall. He also observed two orientation sessions, and discussed river issues with members of trips that were preparing that weekend to launch.
* The Park’s informational DVD continues to receive even wider use, with most trip participants now reporting that they have seen it before arrival. This has enabled rangers to use an abbreviated check-in process in many cases. (The two check-ins conducted during this period took 20-30 minutes and were done right at the river camp.) There are plans to revise the current DVD at some point in the coming year. TLs should continue to ensure all participants see the DVD in advance of the trip.
* There continues to be a strong emphasis on using the PATL option for all trips. Having a PATL ensures that trips can launch in case of unexpected changes in the TL’s situation, which may cause a trip to not go forward.
* It was emphasized that the TL must go all the way to the scheduled end of the trip. For instance, a TL cannot leave trip at Diamond while the rest of the trip proceeds to South Cove.
* Ramp procedures were a topic of discussion. During the non-commercial season, space and vehicle traffic are less of a concern. When there are no commercial launches scheduled, some use of the upper ramp area may be authorized by ranger personnel. But in general, to the extent rigging groups can maintain a small footprint on the lower ramp, and move quickly to the river camp, overall launch operations can be streamlined.
* On-river communication continues to be an important factor to all those on the river. The DVD and other informational material provided to TLs contains useful information on how interaction among groups can make everyone’s Canyon experience more enjoyable. Regrettably, occasional stories still are coming to light about trips sending boats ahead to secure campsites.
* While fires are permitted of course, there was a strong emphasis on encouraging the use of propane fires and tiki torches instead of traditional campfires. Even though the recent high flow experiment may have made some firewood more available, over the long run it will be less amply available. These alternate options provide a congenial, functional, and environmentally friendly means for having evening get-togethers in camp.
* Planning for the shade pavilion continues. This is a project that GCPBA has supported with the Park for several years. Now, with Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association as a prime mover, and the approval of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, this significant upgrade to the Lees Ferry area is moving closer to reality.
As always, GCPBA appreciates the cooperation and assistance the Park provides in these informational sessions, and for the outstanding contribution they make to private boater activities in the Grand Canyon.