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Old 12-26-2013   #21
flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 89
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 148
The Three Wise Men, and the DOO DOO Parable

2000+ years ago 3 wise men traveled from far away lands to experience a once in a lifetime event. Birth of a messiah through a virgin mother! It was a miracle event. The wise men dug deep into their pockets to each bring a gift to the newborn King. For half a year they traveled. One brought Gold of the highest quality, the other brought frankincense that which only kings could see, and myrrh the best in all of the land. To a manger they traveled and to a poor family they visited Jesus the King of Kings was born. The three wise men met Mary, soon to be famous in her own right, and Joseph a simple man of the wood. And last but not least Jesus. Upon Jesus they laid their gifts and had the most peaceful night in a manger. Throughout the years they returned to Jesus, and spoke with him often. The first wise man said, "So Jesus, what did you think of the Gold? Sweet huh? I mined it myself! Frankincense and Myrrh? ? Come on! Your God's son? You need the best!" Jesus straight faced, said nothing. The second wise man said, "Jesus, how about that frankincense? Golds for material boobs, and myrrh? Pretty easy to get. But Frankincense is fit for the Gods! Your my best friend Jesus straight faced said nothing. The third wise man said, "Jesus, myrrh's the shit huh? I bled that myself. Ohh the time it took... I did it all for you. Gold ahh people are making gold out of all sorts of stuff now, and frankincense is for poor folks. You deserve the best" Jesus straight faced said nothing.
For the 13th year of all these visits Jesus asked all wise men to visit him on the same day. So in they came, one at a time approaching Jesus with a little wink and a nod as if to say, "Jesus I am here, I'll be over there next to the two boobs if you need me"
Jesus sighed when they were all there. Wise men, you know I love you! Jesus said! Every year you come and you give me a hug and then you show me a little turd in your pocket you call the other 2. Wise man number 1 shows me the turd he calls wise man #2, and #3, right there he keeps it in his pocket. Wise man #2 shows me his turd(#1, and #3), and Wise man #3 shows me his turd. When you see me straight faced and as of recently smile the last few years... do you know what I am thinking? huh?
Well I was reallying thinking....
Jesus exclaimed, "WOW! These guys have been carrying around those Turds in their pockets since I was born Jajajaja
There not so wise after all ! ! Jajajaja
And the three wise men busted out in laughter and emptied the turds out of their pockets forever!!!!! I love you guys") said Jesus.
For we are all in this together. And truth is, we have about as much power as those 13 year old turds. So we best stay together and muster as much turd power as weez got, huh?

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Old 12-26-2013   #22
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

Laura, Tom and I have traded viewpoints here and elsewhere for years. You're right, they do stem from a very lengthy history between Tom and GCPBA -- an organization he helped found, but which he left when his own Board would not support his anti-motor, anti-Park agenda. And I'm sure his adverse feelings intensified when GCPBA fought hard to defeat RRFW's lawuit, which tried to nullify the CRMP.

Tom and I both seem to have a personality trait that compels us to keep trying to get our point across. I take exception to some things he writes, and he does likewise. Yes, I get aggravated when he says things I feel are a distortion; I'm sure he feels the same when I point out something that doesn't fit his narrative. But I think a fair reading of this and past threads is that Tom and I have managed to keep things pretty civil, notwithstanding regular exchanges of both hard facts and obviously arguable assertions.

Lately though, I've been coming to suspect we're engaged in a rather futile battle over just a handful of people who haven't already made up their minds about motors and the Park.

Treemanji, it's a matter record -- and has been for years -- that I'm a former GCPBA Vice President, and now I'm its Secretary. My posts here are not official GCPBA statements, but they certainly represent GCPBA's position on issues, to the best of my ability.

I have to add something about these assertions that GCPBA is somehow in the Park's pocket.

GCPBA is the group that sued the Park to get it to resume the CRMP process.

GCPBA forced the Park to come to grips with a stalemated river access program that greatly disadvantaged private boaters relative to commercial boaters. And after we won that case, we negotiated key provisions that made their way into the CRMP -- provisions that resulted in many gains for private boaters.

But rather than stay in a adversarial mode, once that was done we began to work cooperatively with the Park on a wide range of issues, starting with implementation of the CRMP. Doing things cooperatively isn't a "sellout" -- we advocate things they don't like, and argue against things they propose. But we think the posture we've adopted is a sensible way to keep up a useful flow of information, and to influence the direction of Park decisions.

To be clear, GCPBA has no "commercial interests." Commercial outfitters are another part of the GC boating community, and from time to time we talk to them, just like we talk to guides, canyoneers, the folks who outfit private trips, and other GC-related organizations. That's because we see all of those parties as legitimate co-stakeholders in GC boating. It makes sense to us to exchange information on subjects of mutual interest. But neither the Board nor CGPBA as an organization receive any benefit from, nor do we operate in behalf of, any commercial interest.

Finally, we know we can't represent the individual desires and preferences of every private boater. The GC boating community is too diverse. We work on an ongoing flow of issues that arise from email input from boaters, actions of outside parties, from our own initiative, and from the Park itself. And we continue to do this -- day, by day, week by week, throughout the year. As an all-volunteer Board, we do our best to sort out the important things we can address within our limited resources, and to make the best, most balanced decisions we can.


Rich Phillips

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Old 12-26-2013   #23
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by treemanji View Post
Reading the threads and back and forth posts it seems the GCPBA has commercial interests and NPS interests too. I am glad for the discussion Tom contributes and questions he raises, Tom seems to have private boaters in mind more so than the GCPBA.
It seems like richp could be part of the GCCBA.
I feel the same way and have seen the same thing for many years now.
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Old 12-26-2013   #24
Wheredat, USA
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 75
Exactly my point about Tom, thank you! Constant negative comments and bash, bash, bash, over and over again. It's no wonder he can't work with NPS and other river groups.

No skin in my game, either. Just a guy looking at the situation.

Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
Is water wizard a GBCA plant to start the fight so people can bash Tom yet again? I have no skin in the game but when one group repeats over and over negative comments they start to sound like the problem. I know there is a lot going on in the background and history between the parties, but if you read these as an outsider (as I do) Phil and Andy you guys seem to be on the attack, repeatedly. It is Christmas for crying out loud!!!!
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Old 12-26-2013   #25
Join Date: Feb 2005
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It's sort of sad that now -- years after the events -- we're still batting around those old accusations and myths. And for some reason, nobody ever asks for facts to back the assertion that GCPBA “sold out” to the commercials. So the rest of this post is for anyone who cares for some actual information, rather than innuendo.

A bit of research uncovers a neat little summary of the Park’s preferred Alternative H, from which the final CRMP launch management plan was developed, and which GCPBA supported in large part. (For the actual document, see and scroll to the PDF link at the bottom.)

Extracting from it, one finds that GCPBA supported the final version of a plan that proposed to:

* Decrease the number of launches from nine a day to six – all of which reduction came from commercial outfitter activity.

* Decrease the length of the commercial motor season.

* Reduce commercial motor group sizes to 32 people in the summer and 24 people during the rest of the year -- down from 43.

* Reduce commercial oar trip sizes to 32 people in the summer and 24 people during the rest of the year -- down from 39.

* Reduce the maximum trip length for commercial motor trips to 10 days in the summer and 12 days in the shoulder seasons -- down from 18.

* Reduce maximum trip length for commercial oar trips from 18 to 16 days in the summer, and from 21 to 18 days in the shoulder seasons.

* Completely ban winter commercial oar trips.

Yes, the final plan differed in some detail. And there were features we protested – most notably a trip length reduction for private boaters. But indisputably, every one of the above items took away from the bottom line of the commercial outfitters.

Does any of that sound like a sellout? And if it still does, please let me know what GCPBA got in return -- other than doubled access for private boaters, an improved permit system, and many other benefits for privates.


Rich Phillips
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Old 12-28-2013   #26
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Another important acronym

I’d like to clarify some things Rich has stated up above.

First the acronyms he’s throwing around, then a little history.

GCPBA = Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association – the group that filed a July 2000 lawsuit against the National Park Service (NPS) after the NPS released a management plan that would have left the 20+ year waitlist in place along with about 2/3 of the Grand Canyon user day allocation remaining with the commercial outfitters.

CRMP = Colorado River Management Plan – the plan under which river trips occur in the Grand Canyon and which dictates launch allocation, trip lengths, etc.

For the history, there's one other acronym that’s very important: AW

American Whitewater joined GCPBA, along with the American Canoe Association (ACA) and National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA) in the July 2000 lawsuit.

Once the lawsuit was settled and CRMP planning restarted, AW (with Jason Robertson doing much of AW’s heavy lifting on the issue) was a full partner with GCPBA and other parties developing the improvements to private boater access Rich lists above.

Where I have a strong disagreement with Tom is his notion that by sitting down at the table with the outfitters, the park, and other user groups, and hammering out an agreement that has greatly increased access for private boaters (raise your hand if you've been down the Grand in the last 5 years), GCPBA and AW are somehow shills for the commercial outfitters and have sold out private boaters.

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 12-28-2013   #27
Pinecliffe, Colorado
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Thanks richp and Andy H. for the posts. Is the proposed plan in effect?
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. KARL MARX
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Old 12-28-2013   #28
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by treemanji View Post
Is the proposed plan in effect?
Yes, the proposed plan has been in effect about 7 years. About 5 years were required to clear out all the people that had been on the waitlist. This means the NPS has only been able to collect about 2 years of data on how the CRMP is truly being implemented and what the usage and the demand are without previously scheduled waitlist launches decreasing the number of available launches in the lottery. Part of the CRMP is a 10-year review to determine whether and what modifications will be needed.

That's one reason that GCPBA has held the position it's too early for making changes to the plan, filing lawsuits attempting to change the plan, etc. Another major reason GCPBA has not been advocating publicly for any changes to the plan is that all the parties also agreed not to try to change things until the 10 year review. My understanding is while there may be some minor tweaks to the CRMP if NPS deems necessary (ban on firewood gathering, changing some trip lengths in spring with an equalizing offset in fall) we shouldn't expect anything substantial until the plan is up for review.

Tom has often accused the GCPBA of being in bed with the outfitters, citing things like the fact GCPBA opposed his group's lawsuit a couple of years ago to nullify the CRMP. However the GCPBA was obligated to defend the current plan as part of the agreement. Just as the commercial outfitters' group would be obligated to defend the plan against one of their own who filed suit to extend the motor season further into spring or fall or to get a higher allocation of commercial launches.

And for those who say they don't have any "skin in the game," that's only true if you don't ever plan to take a trip down the Grand Canyon. If you've been down the GC in the last few years, have a trip scheduled, or want to go down the Canyon one day, you've benefitted from the increased private boater allocation gained by GCPBA and AW in the compromise plan.

Hopefully this helps clear some things up.


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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