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Old 02-02-2015   #11
malloypc's Avatar
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 256
Originally Posted by xena13 View Post
So the other guy who won the 3/16 launch was allowed to to on the 3/21 trip?

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Old 03-09-2015   #12
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
More to the story


Thanks for compiling the history you’ve posted above. However, your history ends with a jump from what the situation was in 2000 to only a mention of the current summer launch disparity. By doing so, you omit some important things folks interested in Grand Canyon permitting should know about that are very relevant to your topic.

You left out the part about the current 2006 management plan. Under the current plan the private boaters' user day allotment was basically doubled from about 58,000 to about 113,400, and private trip launches were increased from about 250 to about 500 trips yearly. In addition, you also omitted the part where the outfitters gave up about 50 summer trips per year, had their trip sizes reduced, had their user days capped, lost most of October, all of March, some of April and also that there is now a no-motors season that extends from September 15 until April 15.

Lots more people have been getting down the river in the last decade, and the 2006 management plan is the reason. Of course there are things we’d all like to change with the current compromise plan and that we wish had turned out differently. But if you’re going to go around touting a “history of GC permitting” you should at least bring people up to date with what’s happened over the last couple of decades.

Apologies for not getting these details out sooner to help complete the history,


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 03-09-2015   #13
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
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It's a 60 year review, not a 2006 reviw

Hi Andy, thanks for your post,

As most folks on this list are aware of what happened in 2006, the intent of the Riverwire was to help river runners understand how this all started, and that it started 60 years ago. I can only assume you knew that but were just too polite to tell anyone…

Whatever I “left out” there is no doubt about this:

Andy, you can charter a complete commercial trip for next year, while there are NO available DIY trips you are certain to get for 2016. They are all booked, and if they were not, you would get into a lottery with others for the chance to get that trip. You recall that over 4,000 folks applied for the 2016 lottery for over 400 permits.

Thousands and thousands of folks have played and lost every year since 2006, while they could book a commercial trip every year. Please keep in mind as well, that pre-2006, if you got on the waiting list you were at least assured a trip if you lived long enough or were flexible to call in for a cancellation.

The ones that really stab my heart are the posts I see where folks say they have given up with Grand Canyon, having lost the lottery every year since 2006.

I agree with you waiting 20 years to go boating is not a management plan we should applaud, but neither is the one we have today where you have no guarantee of ever getting a permit.

That said, I agree with you that “more people have been getting down the river” since 2007, and I agree with you that the 2006 management plan is the reason.

The 2006 plan forced more use on the resource, mostly in the off season. It did not address the imbalance in seasonal access, or the imbalance in overall access, or the lack of wilderness protection for the river.

Also, I wholeheartedly agree with you that “there are things we’d all like to change with the current compromise plan and that we wish had turned out differently.”

In order to understand what we need to change, we need to understand the history behind how we got in the mess we are in.

Yours, tom
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Old 03-09-2015   #14
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
The GC was not on my radar for a long time due to personal restraints so I didn't follow the situation closely before 2012. Thanks to Andy for filling in the gap.
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Old 03-09-2015   #15
San Jose, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 432
More on GC post 2006

Andy thanks for the contemporary 2006-present update. All good information for the grand canyon community to learn from.

I would also add two things past and future:

1. While commercial trips were reduced slightly 50 trips per year. New outfitting business were created and existing ones grew as a result of the increase in private boater raft outfitted trips. Ciba, would not exist in it current model, REO, Pro River ect, all would be operating on a smaller scale. In short, in the post 2006 erra created new outfitting business.

2. The dominant social paradigm in all of the management history is that the river is best experienced on a raft over a 10 - 35 day time span. With a change in that management criteria both peoples experiences, could be maintained and human impact continue at a stable state.

My vision is the park offers small craft, small group (5 people max), short length (10 days) style trips. For the folks who desire to take their pack raft, or kayak down the river in a backpacker style outfit, such a permit would be optimal. Additionally, it would reduce the loss of user days when the style trip as cited above is done with a traditional permit. Each time that occurs, user days are not maximized and the original vision of the 2006 restructure is undermined.
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Old 03-09-2015   #16
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 817
Hi Buckman, just an FYI, the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan moved away from used days to trip launches. The pre-2006 plan used user days and added more trips if the user days were not used up. The 2006 plan does not care that the NPS identified user days for do-it-yourself boaters has not been met by 50%, as the plan is launch based. Here are some stats to show the 50% use. Yours, tom
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Old 03-09-2015   #17
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
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My thanks also to Andy for filling in a huge hole in Tom's post.
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Old 03-10-2015   #18
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
Everything I see shows user days up from 2006. Steady in the summer, up in the shoulder and way way up in the winter. The system is reasonably transparent and users desperate to get on the river stand a very good chance if they are willing to go in the winter. The lottery seems to be well run and follow up lotteries are getting people out there.

My only trip was last year and I didn't feel the commercial motor rigs made much of an impact on my trip. Some minor annoyance here and there but nothing memorable. For the overwhelmingly vast majority of americans a motor commecial trip is the only viable option. I suspect these patrons come away with a better respect for the canyon, the environment and water in general. This can't be a bad thing.

I think the NPS is doing a decent job balancing the wilderness experience with the right to public access.

That being said I respect the people out there advocating for private boaters and making sure the transparency remains high. Thanks to all the folks that have kept access open to private boaters without completely overwhelming the canyon.

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