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Old 01-16-2012   #1
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 51
Processes for drawing Permits - Western River Waters

I am intimately familiar with the four rivers Lottery system but know next to nothing about other Western Rivers. While I have been a participant on the Gates and Westwater, gotten permits twice for the Salt, I am not comfortable with my knowledge of the process, deadlines, and workings of these permits. Can you'all provide the information regarding:
Gates of Lodore
Cataract Canyon
Grand Canyon
Salt River
Rogue River
Smith River (WY)
any California rivers (?)
What am I missing?

Specifically, I am looking for:
Permit Application periods
Internet or paper submission?
Website for permit data, demand graphs, etc.
Is it a Lottery, weighted system, or ????
Cancellation procedures
Application fees
Permit fees if/when successful
Any other pertinent information -

thanks in advance - Middle Fork and Selway permits are harder and harder to get!

Lanny Harward

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Old 01-16-2012   #2
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Here's a great website for permits.

And if you land one, remember who showed you the website!

good luck,


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 01-17-2012   #3
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
That's a good website Andy.

Don't forget the Rio Chama and the San Juan.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 01-17-2012   #4
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Deso is a little different than most of the other permit systems. You have to call in exactly (give or take) 5 months in advance to get a permit. The permits for prime season launches go within a few minutes when the BLM ranger station phone opens at 8:00am. I have never been successful in many years of sitting by my phone from 7:50 - 8:15 trying to call in. Busy signal starting at 7:50, and by the time I get through at 8:15 the permits are gone. They have a launch calendar on their website that shows what's available, and there are usually cancellations. Spring & fall trips are easy to get. Starting next season (2013) Deso will move to the Rec.Gov system like the Idaho rivers.

Gates of Lodore & Yampa also have specific rules regarding one trip a year on one of the two rivers. That's why they require SS numbers from everyone on your permit so that you can't do more than one trip a year. You can however do a Split Mountain day trip more than once.
Have a great summer & good luck with your permit hunt.
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