Hey Mania, the "old system" of matching supply to demand would have worked IF the National Park Service had acted on it. The old plan, formulated in the late 70's, was supposedly going to shift use to the do-it-yourself public from the concessioanires. The NPS never did any shifting, and as demand outstripped supply, the waiting for a do-it-yourself trip became longer and longer. Would you agree that a Waiting List "works" when the wait is short (a year or two at max)? Please don't get me wrong, I am not a must have supporter of this system, but simply would like to point out that in the right system, a waiting list can work.
Now we have a lottery, where your chances of winning a prime summer launch are just as bad as waiting 20 years on the old system. That combined with shorter trip lengths, something like 13% of the primary season body count, and lots of winter trips. Yes, the new system has more do-it-yourself launches, but as Dan points out, at what price?
And in both systems, if i want to book a commercial seat, or charter an entire concessions trip, I can pay the big $ and do that in one to two years.
We clearly have a long way to go to achieve equitable access to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. yours, Tom