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Old 10-31-2010   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
RRFW Riverwire - Boat Museum Feasibility Study Ignores Important History

RRFW Riverwire - Boat Museum Feasibility Study Ignores Important History
October 31, 2010

The Grand Canyon River Outfitters Trade Association has released a
feasibility study for their vision of a Historic Boat Museum at the South
Rim Village in Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park has been considering a museum to display the
Park's fleet of historic river boats for the last seven years. The original
concept was to showcase a diverse and regionally significant collection of
fourteen historic boats that contribute to the rich river running history of
the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.

The oldest boat in the collection is from the 1909 Julius Stone river trip,
and the youngest is Otis "Dock" Marston's sport yak used on a 1963 Grand
Canyon low water river trip. Each boat has a unique story to tell about
river running in Grand Canyon

In 2009, Grand Canyon National Park approved a proposal by the river
concessions to use the Colorado River Fund (CRF) to pay for the feasibility
study. The CRF, a not-for-profit organization operated by the river
concessionaires, contracted for the study to look at ways to present the
park's historic river boats in a museum at the South Rim of Grand Canyon
National Park.

While the original intent of the museum is most laudable, the study's
proposed coverage of the Park's important river artifacts is patently
uneven. The feasibility study divides the river boats into three broad
categories: pre and post World War II histories, and contemporary history.
This arbitrary division never considers the construction of Glen Canyon Dam,
which has clearly impacted the river and river runners more than any other
event in the 20th century.

The study focuses the museum on only one pre-World War II boat in the
collection, the commercial boat WEN used by Norm Nevills in 1938. Ignored in
this time period are the two river running boats EDITH and DEFIANCE used by
the Kolb Brothers in 1911, the 1921 United States Geological Survey boat
GLENN, and the 1909 STONE boat, used on a self guided trip organized by
Julius Stone.

In the post World War II section, the report highlights the two motorized
boats in the collection while seven muscle powered watercraft from this time
period are mostly ignored. These include the first dory and kayak to run
through the Canyon.

The feasibility study stresses developing excitement for taking a Colorado
River trip by including the display of a contemporary 36 foot inflatable
motorized tour boat.

The concept of promoting interest in contemporary river trips is in stark
contrast to the Park's 2006 Colorado River Management Plan. That plan stated
the demand for river trips already far exceeds the available supply of river
trips. Regulations such as the one-river-trip-per-year rule are supposedly
in place to help manage the overwhelming demand for river trips.

Two key interpretive concepts, both very well documented, are entirely
missing in this feasibility study. They are the river concessions' attempts
to block wilderness designation for the Colorado River in the Park, and the
lack of any mention of the ongoing struggle for equitable river runner
access to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon between the Park's
concessionaires and the public wishing to run the river without the use of
concessions services.

The study is at this link:


At present the Park Service is not officially accepting public input, but
your comments on this study should not go unheard, and river runners are
encouraged to voice their opinion on this study if they wish. Direct your
views to:

Superintendent Steve Martin
Grand Canyon National Park
PO Box 129
Grand Canyon AZ 86023

Or by e-mail to Steve_P_Martin@nps.gov

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