Evan, I started another post on this much with easier to find contact info on the park (it is the first post).
Please add that our sport is among the most dangerous in the world and 90% or better of the runs we take we do not expect a rescue if something goes wrong. It is solely on us (that is why we do no solo boat, our crew is our support) and in Zion I would expect no rescue or one in a reasonable time like other wilderness situations (upper pine, middle kings, grand canyon, all of them).
I have already sent a letter to the contacts asking them (unfortunately for an unnaceptable compromise) if we can count on daytime peaks of 600cfs. That would at least allow us to kayak this run and since no one is kayaking at night and this would be within their unfounded parameters of rescue.
That being said will reiterate their talking points as I understood them from the phone conversation I had with Ray O. the Ranger;
1. they feel that with flows over 600cfs rescue for victims is impossible due to local boater input and willingness to help.
2. rescues are very expensive
3. They have to explain every problem to the press and with a death the explanation turns into bad press.
4. Ranger says his crew made it down the narrows in one day with an early start at 160cfs, so he thinks that is minimum, not the 300 (bare) and the needed 1200 to float is absurd to him.
5. They have no way to qualify a boater, and if one boater is allowed for one reason or another than why not another. Sort of a carte blanche approach to nobody is qualified or everyone is qualified.
I offered up suggestions in my conversations and mailings like: boaters with successful past permits, required runs through Sinawava (satans staircase), required equipment (helmets, life vests, xtra paddle, dumb shit like a lighter & granola bar), taking rangers down to show them, taking local boaters down too. All of this was shot down, in fact in my superior negotiating skills I did not see one glimpse of compromise from Ranger.
Zion is absolutely PRIME right now but...