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Old 06-02-2008   #81
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
You know.....I really don't see what the big party foul is here. You don't need any of your own equiptment to go down the grand. You don't need your own boat and you don't even have to pack or buy food if you don't want to. You can hire it all out if you want to and take their boats to boot. One service will even cook you breakfast at the put in before they put you in your (their) boat they blew up and rigged for you.....and push you off from shore. Why is it such a cardinal sin to want to pay someones way in exchange for cooking. I'd think kayakers would be all for this kind of service?

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Old 06-02-2008   #82
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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I think there are at least three things getting people riled up:

1. relief rowing - if you pay someone to be a relief rower that is dangerously close to, if not in fact, paying them to be a guide and therefore illegal.

2. I also think the idea of hiring someone to do work on the river might violate a sense of egalitarian values (all participants are treated equally) that is often the norm on private trips. The Grand Canyon is also in many ways the most 'holy' place for multi-day boating in the US, so violating the egalitarian values there seems like a greater sin.

3. Because Grand Canyon permits are scarce I think some people hate the idea that the might need to sign on to a deal like this just to get to go. That they need to be someone else's servant just to get a spot. That the rich get to go and be pampered and poor boaters have to cook, clean and row flatwater just for a spot. That they could be a 2nd class citizen on a rafting trip that should be the experience of a lifetime.

As far as renting boats, and paying someone like Moenkopi or Karen's for your food pack, boat rental, etc. I think most people expect that everyone pays their share of the cost of services rendered before and after the trip. But I understand your point. I think a lot of people would say that when you pay anyone to be on the trip you are crossing into the territory (or at least into the gray zone) of a commercial trip.


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Old 06-02-2008   #83
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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I think a lot of people would say that when you pay anyone to be on the trip you are crossing into the territory (or at least into the gray zone) of a commercial trip.

I think it's pretty black and white actually. The rules, written into the NPS permit system, say specifically that ALL costs must be shared equally among participants. As the fight continues to diperse more and more of the user days to private boaters, breaking this rule only weakens the reputation of private boaters.

Raftus you are right on about the rich wanting to get pampered at the expense of real boaters. This is why there should be less commercial trips and more private trips, even in the summer!

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Old 06-02-2008   #84
alta, Utah
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 121
Well said raftus,

You are accurate on points 1-3. However, you have forgotten carvedogs very salient issue of cold/breakfasts/no bacon. There is something inherentaly revealing about the qualities of the trip leader when "no bacon" is deliberately planned into a GC breakfast menus. It is highly suspect and, personally, makes me shiver. Now, when you combine the lack of bacon with the overall tone of Petards post along and his admitted fear of webbot's you pretty much know what your going to get with him as a tripleader. I'll bet you two turkey legs and a schlits that Peterd has club patches sewn onto his lifejacket.

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Old 06-02-2008   #85
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
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Posts: 1,443
I see it's the share expences rule. It's not like they are actually going to give him cash to go. It's more like a trade off. The second rate citizen arguement depends totally on group dynamics.

Are there other permitted rivers with this rule? Do I need to start leaving my chef and two porn stars at home? Can I still borrow Ian's ladyboy when we invite kayakers along?
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Old 06-02-2008   #86
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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wasn't indentured servitude outlawed by the declaration of independence or the bill of rights or something?
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Old 06-02-2008   #87
Join Date: Sep 2006
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-Paying someone to cook is not "indentured servitude", ever been to a restaurant?

-Before my first Grand trip, I would have rowed gear barge for the devil himself for the opportunity to get on the Grand. What someone is willing to do to get on the Grand is their decision.

-We once had a kayaker beg is way on a Middle Fork trip by promising a week of groover duty. Since the rest of us were providing truck loads of gear for the trip, it seemed a good deal for all. There were no "second class citizens" on the river.

-On our last Grand trip we paid someone to buy, prep and pack the food for all 18 days. We all seem to agree that it is ok to pay Moenkopi or Karen for this service, but did we "violate a sense of egalitarian values" by paying a member of our group for this? (She paid her equal share of all expenses).

-Did the trip where 4 people did 99% of the pre-trip work and the other 12
people just showed up at Lee's Ferry "violate a sense of egalitarian values"?

-On one Grand trip we had someone NOT pay their share of the expenses
(I know, cash up front!) did this violate the rules? I once paid my girl friend's share of expenses. This could be viewed as trading sex for payment, so I guess I broke several rules.

-A Grand trip is a huge investment of time, gear, gas, wear and tear on boats and trucks. These expenses (and time) never get divided evenly but
every trip I have been on was a "win/win" for everyone.

-At least peterd was not paying the cook in turkey legs and warm Schlitz!
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Old 06-03-2008   #88
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

The Park is interested in preserving the boundaries between private and commercial trips with respect to personnel issues. Clearly, they don't have a problem with renting gear and logistical support (food packs, shuttles, etc.)

I suppose the lawyers out there also would point out the liability issues involved for an unlicensed guide, as opposed to the trained, licensed, insured guides used by the commercial outfitters. While it seems a hired cook would have not liability issues, all the GC guides have to have food handling certs, which says something about even that seemingly minor function.

There are numerous permutations and combinations of how these trips get done. For instance, the Park seems to allow some latitude for adjusting the monetary component for participants, so that people bringing rafts and other major gear don't have to pay as much. On each of my two private trips, I supplied most of the group gear and at least half the boats. I can tell you, about the time you're halfway done getting all that river silt off the gear sitting in your driveway the week after the trip, you know that even if the money was split more or less evenly, the work sure wasn't. But it's all part of the enjoyment for most people.

Point is, as long as the costs are reasonably apportioned, the Park is never going to ding you. Start tinkering with doing stuff that looks like hiring crew, and the chances start to go up that there could be problems. In this -- as in many things in life -- everybody makes their own decisions based on their personal morality and tolerance for risk.


Rich Phillips
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Old 06-03-2008   #89
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
My point is that it is non of the parks business as to how the expences are divided up within a private group.

Do they allow GC commercial guides on private trips? That should be their only concern if they are worried about people hiring guides.

IMO, who pays what and how much for a private trip is non of their business........... as long as they are getting paid their fee's.
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Old 06-03-2008   #90
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi Caverdan,

I think the Park's interest in enforcing this rule probably has its origins in statute -- specifically the Concessions Act. The law says that certain kinds of activity have to be regulated by the Park, and they interpret that to include any paid service that actually goes down the river.

(Here's a related example for you. One of our GCPBA Board members -- Karen House -- operates a fine food pack service, Cucina del Rio. But IIRC, she cannot deliver her meals to the ramp itself because she is not a Park-approved commercial outfitter. She has to turn over everything outside the Park boundary.)

Guides are permitted to go on private trips of course, but they are expected to share in the cost structure. (How that really works down where the rubber meets the water is anyone's guess.)

Not defending the origins of the policy -- just trying to help people understand how it applies to ordinary boaters so they can avoid problems.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips

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