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Old 10-05-2006   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818

October 5, 2006

Six organizations recently sent a joint letter to National Park Service Regional Director Michael Snyder expressing their concern over a new $25 lottery application fee. The new fee is part of the first ever online Grand Canyon Colorado River lottery, awarding non-commercial river permits to conduct a float trip through the park.

In a letter dated August 12, 2006, the groups, River Runners for Wilderness, High Country River Rafters, North West Rafters Association, Wild Wilderness, Private Boaters Coalition and Pikes Peak River Runners expressed their concern over the amount of the fee, noting that application fees charged for other river lotteries range from $15 to nothing.

In a reply to the groups sent September 19, 2006, Regional Director Snyder asserted that the $25 fee is needed to fund the River Permits Office. Snyder went on to say that the old waiting list had roughly 1,100 new additions a year, netting the park “approximately $110,000 in funding for the River Permits Office. Park managers have predicted there will be 4,000 to 5,000 applications submitted in this October’s first Weighted Lottery. If this procedure is correct, total costs recovered will be very close to what is needed to operate the office.”

But Jo Johnson, Co-Director of River Runners for Wilderness, says Snyder has neglected to mention the $357,100 the park also generated in the past by charging $100 per person in trip fees in addition to the $100 fee to join the waiting list, which the Park previously collected.

“There’s a lot of fuzzy math here” continues Johnson, who points out the new lottery includes a doubling of river launches. “The park will charge $100 per person and generate a whopping $705,100 on top of the anticipated $110,000 collected in the lottery.”

Johnson also wonders what the park is doing with the $815,000. “A few patrol trips and operating an online lottery for 198 launches at that price sounds a little steep to me. The park continues to look at non-commercial river runners as a cash cow, something they have done since the implementation of the Fee Demonstration program in 1997.”

The groups were also concerned that the lottery requires losers to pay year after year, subsidizing the park for a river trip they may never be lucky enough to win. In his reply, Snyder noted that the park may consider changing the fees in the future. According to Snyder, “We fully expect to re-evaluate both the $25 lottery fee and the $100 per person permit fee each year as actual numbers of applicants and permit participants become known.”

The on-line lottery application, only open October 1 to October 21, can be found at



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Old 10-05-2006   #2
COUNT's Avatar
Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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Thank you. At the very least, I would hope that the waitlist members who already paid $100 shouldn't have to continue to pay $25 a year until they get their permits.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 10-06-2006   #3
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
Hi Count, unfortunatly, they do at this time, have to pay under the new system as well as the old one. Yours, Tom
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Old 10-06-2006   #4
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
I've never paid for anything over the internet, and don't plan to either. I don't see an option for mailing them a check. Is that possible?

I agree the fee is too steep. If it's all done on line, why do we need to even pay a fee??
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Old 10-06-2006   #5
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
Hi Dan, try this:

Phone (8am-Noon MST, Mon-Fri.): 800-959-9164 or 928-638-7843

That;s the Grand Canyon National Park River Permits Office. They should have a way for you to do this off line. All the best of luck, yours, Tom
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Old 10-06-2006   #6
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
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Thanks Tom.....you da man.
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Old 10-06-2006   #7
rhm's Avatar
steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 199
i really think their estimate of 4 to 5 thousand people applying is going to be really low. i personally know of about 50 people who are applying. this thing has gotten a ton of publicity it was outlined in the la times. i think that they are giong to make a killing on application fees every year. every raft guide and kayaker in the country is going to apply now that they know they may not have to wait 20 years for a trip. i talked to a few people who were not able to get on the waiting list because of the moratorium on additions for the past two years. if 1100 people were going to add to the wait list in each of the years that they were not allowed then that alone is 2200 people who would have joined the wait list and now will probably enter the lottery. not to mention those like my self who were on the wait list and consolidated with other members and got a date are also allowed to enter the lottery for another trip.

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