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Old 04-12-2015   #21
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
Originally Posted by mattman View Post
Trying not to be inside a bubble, or egocentric. Would say i do care about fellow americans with disabilities. I believe if spending time in a place like the Grand canyon is important to you, than you will have priorities, and make the time. Many people have Run the canyon into there 70's and eighties. There are commercial outfitters that cary people with no ability into the Grand canyon. I do live close to an amazing organization called the National Sports Center for the Disabled, they are able to help many people with disabilities enjoy things such as skiing, white water rafting, and rock climbing, though i am not sure if they have taken anyone down the grand canyon. I have taken quadraplegics and people in there 70's down the Royal gorge when i was a commercial guide. I would point out that the first person to run the grand canyon was missing his arm and over came huge hardship with a lot of risk to do so. I have limited sympathy for those without physical fitness,(they should make an effort and go excersize) except those suffering from a medical condition(i have friends with horrible ones). Coming to the end of your life only to realize that you did not live it, is about the worst thing i can imagine.
And no, I do not think aircraft should be in the Grand canyon either.
I have built chairlifts, they are cool machines, but i feel that there should be some amount of personal effort involved, even if it means you have a handy cap, and need some help from others. People having everything done for them is kinda an insult to the human spirit.
I do care about wilderness, and would like to see some of it stick around, just feel like our species has built to much stuff, and we need to try and tone it down, especialy places that we have decided to set aside, like our national parks.
Thank you for playing the devils advocate. I am so sorry that your child has autissim,I wish your family the best, and hope that you are able to survive and thrive, and find happiness in spite of affliction.

Have a good sumer of boating GPP33, I wish you the best.
Thank you for the kind words. My daughter will no doubt live a more experienced life than most typical kids. Unfortunately the services of the organizations you listed don't come cheap, In order for the family of disabled kids to utilize those services they need to (a) have the financial means and (b) deem the experience worth the invesemt. I'm getting off topic with this thread but the "if they can't do it under human power" sediment that so often comes up in these conversations is no doubt a justification most people who oppose this tram subscribe to. This is in no way directed at you mattman nor am I saying a tram should be installed. To be honest I don't know squat about this project so I don't have an opinion either way yet.

Here's a few people in my little circle that this attitude excludes though:

The guy I sat next to on the plane today. Two prosthetic legs and a service dog. I don't know much about his life but I do know he couldn't hike it and I know most people who can't swim wouldn't risk their lives to boat it. He is a decorated vet.

A coworkers wife who has MS, paralized from the waist down and probably better than 50% paralized from the waist up. Mentally there but can't physically do it. I know the financial strain this has put on thier family has ruled out any possibility to utilize those special services.

A good fried who had scoliosis so bad as a kid that she now sports a metal rod in place of her lower spine. Hiking it is out of the question as is sitting long enough to boat it. They do ok financially but even if she could boat it getting the time off work and the money together is virtually out of the question.

Then there's the kids who's parents don't instill the value of physical fitness to enjoy nature. I'm amazed how many of my kids friends don't ski and we live in Colorado. The number who boat are even fewer. Sure, some hike, but do day hikes in the local open space really compare to the GC? Should those kids be penalized? Could an experience like a tram ride to the bottom of the CG open thier minds to what else exists and motivate them to break the ways of thier parents and instill a new set of values in their kids?

You mentioned elderly people floating it but let's be real. How many 80 year olds are really up to it?

I'm not saying we build roads and trams to everything worth seeing but we need to strike a balance and the elitest attitude of "enjoy it my way or no way" attitude needs to end.

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Old 04-13-2015   #22
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,929
I think the "less abled" argument is always a difficult card to justify and/or counter. Here are a few things to keep in mind with the context here:

1) This is a for profit organization that has expressed no interest in that being the priority, emphasis or impetus. This is about money, which conflicts with your statements about affordability, etc. The Skywalk is roughly $85 and does not require the same type of transportation infrastructure this system will need to work. It will be expensive, not cheap for the target audience.

2) There are already a ton of opportunities along the rim of the Grand Canyon for access for those less abled.

3) There are existing programs and companies working to expand opportunities for the under-served disability population, such as AZRA in the Grand or SPLORE in other national parks.

There is no easy answer or solution when it comes to finding balance in such coveted locations. That said, the Grand Canyon already caters to a wide range of stakeholders. But balance also requires accepting self-limiting compromises that recognize the context of place and history. Helicopters, planes, mules, bridges and paved routes exist through the park to provide life changing experiences to a wide range of abilities. When is enough enough? The vast majority of visitors never get beyond the rim and yet continue to rank it as one of the "once in a lifetime" experience of their lives.

I also contest the idea that a tram would barely alter the Grand Canyon experience. Few rivers remain in the world where individuals can experience a roadless and limited impact like the Grand provides. For 220 miles we only encounter one major area of development, Phantom Ranch. That is a rare privilege worth fighting for as I have yet find a place where I can spend 2-4 weeks without seeing concentrations of other people.

History shows that when greedy developers get ahold of land with limited oversight/regulation they forever alter the place and experience. Just look at Grand Canyon West. Some people are able to overlook the non-stop helicopters and pontoon tours but I can't; it ruins an immersed experience like no other location provides.

Bisecting the Colorado River with yet another development is unacceptable. Enough compromise has already been made by human-powered recreationist in this regard. I have argued against wilderness designation, supported the historical use of motorized traffic along the river corridor, and even comes to terms with the incessant sounds of planes at several key locations along the river. But a Tram at the LCR confluence? Enough is enough and I gladly stand along side the tribal members fighting the outside development (as some can contest I was hesitant to make such statements not too long ago).

All in all I think the Park Service already does a fair job of managing their resources for various stakeholders including disabled visitors (which is why the developer has gone to tribal land). As someone who rowed the Grand Canyon less than 9 months after I permanently lost 60% of my peripheral vision (the most noticeable of a constellation of symptoms yet to be fully diagnosed) I can say there is immense benefit to leaving places like the Colorado River as they are. I spent 28 days regaining a confidence that has been fleeting since that fateful spring in 2009 when my health problems started. The physical, emotional and spiritual transformations that have come from immersing oneself in an environment that does not change based upon personal ability have always been the lasting memories in my life.

Given human ingenuity I think we can continue to get people who desire to be somewhere but have disabilities into such places without altering the environment (both physical and social) in such radical ways. The Tram is not a fair compromise in that regard.


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Old 04-13-2015   #23
St. Anthony, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 18
More than one

Tom, if we put some money in the envelope can we get more than one sticker?

Thanks for your work and organization.
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Old 04-13-2015   #24
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 152
Originally Posted by GPP33 View Post
If the Grand Canyon is such an amazing place why wouldn't we want to make it accessable to everyone? There's plenty of fellow Americans who due to time, age, ability, disability, physical fitness or lack of adventure in their younger years who can't access the depths of the canyon by either boat or foot. Would you rather they take a loud fossil fuel burning bird down there or a quiet, electric tram isolated to one area which for the most part will have an impact no more than a couple of buildings and a steel cable which you will probably never see?

This is part devils advocate and part parent of an autistic kid who will probably never be able to hike or swim well enough to reach the bottom by either of the means the opponents of this proposition feel are acceptable. Think outside of your bubble and try not to be to egocentric.
What about Mt. Everest? It's such an amazing place, why wouldn't you want to make it accessible to everyone?
There's plenty of fellow Americans who due to time, age, ability, disability, physical fitness or lack of adventure in their younger years who can't access the heights of the mtn by foot.
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Old 04-13-2015   #25
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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Posts: 257
I want the gonola to open...who sells an open the grand to gonola sticke ?

Bunch of elitist hypocrites on this board !

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Old 04-13-2015   #26
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,929
Originally Posted by shredder-scott View Post
I want the gonola to open...who sells an open the grand to gonola sticke ?

Bunch of elitist hypocrites on this board !

Why the change of heart on productive dialog?

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Old 04-13-2015   #27
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Originally Posted by shredder-scott View Post
who sells an open the grand to gonola sticke ?
Here you go:

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Old 04-13-2015   #28
Las Vegas, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 97
Why is The Confluence Sacred?

I, like a lot of you all, oppose the Escalade Development at the Confluence. It would be easy to say it is about a bunch of rich, white guys from Scottsdale trying to cash in (it is) similar to how the Hualapai and David Jin (RIP) have managed to out at GC West. Have you guys been out west, or does everyone take out at Diamond? Western GC is beautiful. It really is, but then you get to Quartermaster and have an all-day-long invasion of helicopters. Jet boats. The sacred toilet seat in the sky. Do not forget the fact that the Hulapai tried to eminent domain the skywalk. They spent years in court with Jin. They spent millions of dollars. The Confluence Partners have included a 'no eminent domain' clause in their proposed legislation, but if they try to build, they will also spend millions in court. Or actually, the Navajo will. The agreement requires the tribe to defend the project. It also requires the Navajo to certifiably say that no other group or tribe has any rights to the land, physically or spiritually. The will also ban vendors on the road in from selling native goods. There is a non-compete clause as well. This project is banking on the Asian & Chinese tourist dollars, just like GC West does. That's the customer. It is not some poor American who is disabled, a vet, incapable or too lazy to hike down. That's what they want you to think. That's not their customer. The ride will be too expensive to most Americans. Kind of like Commercial GC trips are out of reach for a lot of Americans based on the cost ($400-$500/day).

Regardless of why I feel this is the worst idea and biggest threat facing the GC right now, I wanted to understand what makes the Confluence so special. I have been here 4 times now. I hiked here from the South Rim, and I have stopped or passed by on 3 river trips. It's just another side canyon, right? I don't believe so.

I have spoken with the Save the Confluence folks. This place is SACRED! I didn't really understand at first. The Hopi believe the place of emergence is the Sipapu. They have voiced their opposition. I had thought the Navajo held it close because it was traditional lands. What I didn't understand is what they believe happens at the Confluence. We all have different beliefs of what happens when we die. Heaven and Hell and all of that. What the Navajos believe that I have spoken with is that when they die, their spirits move on to live at the Confluence. That they guard and protect the place. Their grandparents and great grand parents spirits are there right now....

I stand with the families in opposition to the Escalade. I stand with the other Pueblos in opposition to the Escalade. Dooda Tram!
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Old 04-13-2015   #29
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
Why the change of heart on productive dialog?

Hey phillip

I am all for productive fact, sciemce base dialog...

Fact.....I am in favor of the gondola

Fact....this board is populated by both balanced folks, but there are lot of hate filled egotistical hypocrists on this board as well.

it is private land....for profit is a basic America all good when lines the hypocrite pockets with $ .....but bad, if it interferes with their fun...on land that belong to another !

Yeah right....hypocrisy at it finest.

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Old 04-13-2015   #30
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 637
Got my sticker over the weekend and trying to decide the best spot. So many choices - truck window, favorite rocket box,... Need about 5 more.

Good stuff GC Hiker. It is a special place and tram is a stupid idea.

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