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Old 10-29-2011   #21
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

Thought I had closed this out nicely, and then these last two posts came up.

Fdon, the short answer to your question is zero -- we would not expect anything over or under the table for our participation.

I suppose there are folks out there who operate that way, but not us. No "rent". No "equipment surcharge". Full cost sharing Lees to Pearce. The value we expect to get back would not be monetary -- it would be the experience of getting down the Canyon one more time. And for old guys like us, that's return enough on our investment.

Randy, no offense taken. You have a ton of experience, and your views are well-expressed and not without support. But I've rowed my entire career up until the past several years. In '07, I rowed my twenty footer well enough to keep up with one of the motor cats that's in our little consortium. I may be old and approaching feeble, but don't automatically assume all motor guys are weak boaters.

I think part of the confusion here is that private motor trips (and yes there are others besides us) don't necessarily operate like the big J- and S-rigs, which do push down the river a big more agressively, make more noise, and do have some advantages on camp selection. We're there to see and enjoy the Canyon also. As I noted in another post, we drift a lot and idle quietly at pretty much a rowing pace the rest of the time. That's not going to satisfy folks whose core beliefs exclude motors totally, but it's a reality for the way our little group operates.

Now I want to lay out a specific case for a more general proposition. My orthopedic surgeon says I need both shoulders replaced (arthritis secondary to multiple rotator cuff issues -- that's what some of you younger kayakers can look forward to...). And when that happens I'll no longer be rowing, chopping firewood, or even throwing a canoe up on my shoulders for a portage.

I can still row right now; I rowed the entire Canyon in the big twenty footer just last year. But the motor may help me extend my boating career down there. Not looking for sympathy -- just pointing out that motors help people get down there who otherwise couldn't do it -- other than as a passenger. And think about how much you would enjoy riding along after all these years running your own boat...


Rich Phillips

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Old 10-29-2011   #22
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Rich your rig sounds sweet. I would have one too if I could afford it.

What's it running, a ten horse?

I love the idea of a rig that is still quite rowable, but has the motor to get across a lake, or even just to kick it with a brew instead of fighting a head wind.

The ability to make miles and enjoy daylight at camp or on a hike seems like a real bonus.

If that takes something away from your experience, don't do it.

Randy, I do feel sorry if you get skunked on camp again by a motor rig or self support kayakers for that matter.


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Old 10-29-2011   #23
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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OK, I'll wade in and help flog this dead horse a little more...

Originally Posted by Randaddy View Post
They take away fairness in camp selections. If people generally floated about the same pace those of us with the gumption to row the canyon wouldn't get f'd by motor boaters all the time.
I disagree on these two points.

They take away fairness in camp selections.
Seems like commercial motor trips grabbing the best campsites always comes up and folks act like a no motors scenario would eliminate this. The oarsmen who run the GC for a living are going to be a lot fitter and more focused on getting their peeps down the river than us privates just floating with the current. They know the canyon better than most privates, and they'll structure their days and push the oars to get the best campsites if they really want them.

If people generally floated about the same pace...
This feeds right to the "intrusiveness" fdon mentions. The reality is that with the commercials running motors and making the miles, "contact time between groups" is much less than all oar powered trips because the motor trips pass by quickly. With all oars one group may require an hour or more to overtake another group and disappear around the next bend. From what I understand the GC modeling showed this for the no motors scenario and one of the reasons no motors was rejected was because it would actually decrease the feeling of solitude in the Canyon.

So one should actually say, "If people generally floated about the same pace we'd have other trips in view all day long and the commercials could still take the better campsites at the end of the day."

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 10-29-2011   #24
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Hi Dave,

All three of our rigs use 20' Jacks tubes, which are 30" in diameter. Our frames are 15-16 feet long -- mine is an NRS derivative and the other two use steel basket-type frames. The other two guys have 20 hp Hondas and I have an 18hp Tohatsu. We each have a backup motor, to comply with Park regulations. But if I bashed a lower unit on my main motor, I'd might just shift some boxes around, make a rower's bay, and rig the oars I bring anyway. It's a 12 day schedule to Diamond, and that's perfectly doable rowing, even for an old guy like me.

Even with the motors, we actually move about the same pace as a pure rowing trip. And while we could, we've never found it necessary to particularly speed up a day's itinerary to make camp on the Grand. Maybe go an hour or two longer than we planned, but it's actually never been a real issue. Perhaps the real benefit to a motor in this instance is you can go an extra hour or two and not worry about fatigue...

On my trip in '07, where we did 23 days to South Cove, I rowed along with one of the Honda boats. (This was before the current hybrid trip rule was in effect.) We had five layovers, and most other days we hiked or were off the river by mid-afternoon. But of course being early-to-bed, early-to-rise kinds of folks, we were on the river every day by 7:30 (yeah, that's a tipoff that we're not party types), and didn't scout anything but Hance, Horn, Crystal, and Lava.

I know this private motor thing is sort of unusual, and isn't for everybody. But our guess is that there's a segment of the boating universe where our setup might be useful and philosophically acceptable.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
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Old 10-29-2011   #25
Paonia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 38
Apparently I am one of the weaker boaters that feels very fortunate to have worked the Grand full time for years and lucky enough to work a trip or two each year now. It is quite obvious Randy has not had the opportunity to run a motor boat or become very familiar with Grand Canyon history. Apparently, I have been too busy over the years racing to camp to help out any private boaters short on ice or additional supplies they found themselves short of. By the way, I started guiding with paddle rafts in the 80's and now row a wooden dory I built. But I have always felt running an S-Rig is a much larger challenge. Marc
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Old 10-29-2011   #26
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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Rich, I'm sorry that you're losing your ability to row over time. Injuries are rough and I hate to see a knowledgeable, Canyon loving boatman like you lose that. However, I personally think that if you can't do it, you can't do it, unless you're a passenger. If you used to love to mountain bike but had knee problems I would not endorse a motor bike in a wild place, two stroke or four stroke. Just an honest difference of opinion. I will be happy when the motors are finally gone in the GC, and will continue to support any legislation limiting them.

Andy, I would rather look at other boats all month than have motors zip by, make wake, and ruin my day. That's just me. Also, I know that many motorized trips don't just race down the Canyon, they want to take their time too. But when I'm trying to get to Lower Bass and you are too, guess who's going to snag it? My experiences down there during the motor season show me that the motor boats get the better camps, and in my opinion, deserve them less. Solitude is nice, but keeping the Grand Canyon how it is, and preserving an older way of travel is worth the camaraderie of closely spaced, human powered trips.

synergyboater, I envy your experiences down there but no amount of free ice will make up for the impact motors make on rivers. You row that dory because it's a real experience and you're a real boater. I've spent much of my life fascinated with the history or the West, including the Grand Canyon. I know there is a history of motors down there, but there is also a history of many ecologically disastrous activities in the west. I'm not naive, I'm opposed to motors because they inconvenience and annoy those of us rowing or paddling - and more importantly don't have a place in a wilderness that we intend to preserve. No amount of difficulty, challenge, or additional supplies can change that.

No matter how you put it, when my shoulders are strong, the blisters on my hands have given way to callouses, and I'm feeling stronger than I've ever been at the end of a long river trip, I have accomplished something greater - in a place that I have impacted much less - than a motorized trip. This is not ego, this is truth.

Of course, I urge others to adopt this ethic and savor the sense of personal strength that comes from human-powered recreation. I also encourage everyone to do what is legal and they prefer, but when I write to my elected officials I do endorse a full ban.
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Old 10-29-2011   #27
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Orem, Utah
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Oct 2010
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The when motors were introduced into the canyon is in the early 50's by Georgie White, Western Rivers and Hatch among others. Motors do not make it so that commercial companies can take more people down the river and make more money, they all have quotas of user days as you pointed out in you post. And since the cost per day is about the same for motor or rowing it is not a matter of more money. If motors where not there, the same number of user days would be used in the canyon. I have run commercially both motor and rowing and my observation is that some people could not enjoy the canyon without taking a motor trip either because of schedule or because of cost(some people save up for years so that they can go on this trip and the shorter motor trips are cheaper). While others that are on rowing trips are done around day 8 or 9 and realize they should have gone on a motor trip. Although for the most part people realize their limitations and choose the correct type of trip for them. There are some that take a motor trip and then come back and take a rowing trip.
I think the thing that set me off was your statement that the jet boat operators are courteous and profession (and you are not competing for user days with them) while the motor boatmen in the Grand Canyon are not. Well, come to think of it there are a lot of boatmen in the canyon that are pricks. But that has nothing to do with the motor, it is just that they are playing by the American League rules and they are the Designated Assholes. I have had to deal with them to. But I don't consider myself a DA. I have always given out ice, tp, food, whatever is needed that we can do without to private trips. And now that I am a private boater I appreciate those that do the same.
As far as the genius comment, I really did used to be a genius, but since the brain surgery last year, not so much.
But I have recovered enough that I went on our private trip in late August this year.
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Old 10-29-2011   #28
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Hi Randy,

Thanks for commiserating about my infirmities. I knew they were coming eventually, but just didn't realize how quickly. Gotta squeeze in as much as I can before I completely deteriorate (grin).

I can't resist observing that every study of noise in the GC has determined that the loudest and most disagreeable sounds there come from airplanes, particularly high altitude flights -- not motorized rafts. Let's go after those pesky 747's first... Then target the helicopters; you've definitely got my support for banning them!

To be clear, if motors were banned tomorrow, I'd not shed any tears. My boating days are mostly behind me, and they have been good ones -- almost all rowing.

But in an informed discussion, you just can't ignore the flow management issues Andy mentions -- they're very real. If you think camp competition is bad now, just wait until everyone on the river is travelling at the same rate.

Ban motors in GC and one of two things will happen. You will either have to: 1) put up with other parties in sight all day long; or, 2) accept a dramatic reduction in access in order to eliminate the "social" impacts of everyone launching on a given day staying clumped together for 16 days. Lay over and you'll be with the next day's contingent. Hustle ahead and you'll start running into folks who launched the day before you. Beware the law of unintended consequences...

There are legitimate arguments against motors. But even if Congress were to make the GC river corridor a formal Wilderness, there is every reason to believe they would grandfather motors. There are numerous precedents for using that provision in the statute. The fact picture here is that motors qualify for that exemption. And lobbyists -- representing a wide range of interests all the way out to the AARP -- will work for grandfathering, so their constituents can still have a motor option.

Doesn't mean it's a done deal. Doesn't mean folks like you, Randy, with principled opposition shouldn't work to remove them. But the probabilities of that happening seem to me to be minute.


Rich Phillips
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Old 10-29-2011   #29
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
A motor is nothing more than a reconfigured camp stove. Just using energy in a different way. Anyway you look at it someone is going to be pissed off.
I like cooking over a natural firer with wood myself.
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Old 10-29-2011   #30
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vancouver, Washington
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Originally Posted by raymo
A motor is nothing more than a reconfigured camp stove. Just using energy in a different way. Anyway you look at it someone is going to be pissed off.
I like cooking over a natural firer with wood myself.
How is this any worse than burning wood, other than wood is local and gas is transported? I'd be willing to guess propane has less impact on the canyon in terms of pollution

Rowing produces no sound, air pollution, or water pollution like a motor does. Try breathing near the exhaust port of your motor!!

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