RRFW Riverwire - Lee’s Ferry Closure Update October 4, 2013 - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 10-04-2013   #1
 
Tom Martin's Avatar
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
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RRFW Riverwire - Lee’s Ferry Closure Update October 4, 2013

RRFW Riverwire Lee’s Ferry Closure Update October 4, 2013

As the government shutdown of some federal agencies, including the National Park Service, drags into its 4th day, frustrated Grand Canyon river runners are camping in the parking lot at Marble Canyon Lodge, hoping for a breakthrough.

On Tuesday, October 1st, Park Service enforcement rangers erected a barricade across the road to the Lee’s Ferry access ramp where it meets Highway 89A. This is the only realistic access to the Colorado River at the start of a river trip through Grand Canyon.

Although river trips already on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon are allowed to finish their trips, none have been allowed to launch since the closure was implemented at noon, October 1, 2013. Those river trips already in the Canyon are not allowed to have people hike in and join the trip, unless that person is replacing a boat rower. Also barred from access at Lee’s Ferry are wade and float fishermen, sightseers and campers bound for the Lees Ferry Campground.

Marble Canyon Lodge is allowing river permittees and their trip members to camp in its parking lot, in anticipation of a resolution that would allow launching of river trips into Grand Canyon. Every day these self-guided groups do not launch, their chances of completing a Canyon run diminish. For safety, river runners need a minimum of thirteen to fifteen days to complete a river trip to the only open take-out at Diamond Creek, 226 miles downriver from Lee’s Ferry. During the month of October, river runners may take up to 21 days to cover this distance.

Grand Canyon river trips are so coveted, Grand Canyon National Park lets each person on the trip make the river journey only once a year, and some river runners have waited many years for the opportunity.

There have been several behind-the-scenes efforts to get the Park reopened for river runners and other recreationists. According to Grand Canyon National Park officials, many business leaders, including Bill Parks of Northwest River Supply, working with Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D, AZ) and Governor Jan Brewer, offered to pay to have the river access opened, but were apparently told that sufficient funding would need to be provided to open all the National Park Service units across the country.

On October 3, 2013, Grand Canyon National Park Deputy Superintendent Diana Chalfant and other NPS staffers met with three permit holders at the barricade on October 3, 2013. According to one permit holder on the verge of tears, the Deputy Superintendent spoke “a lot of empty platitudes”, gave no indication when or even if the trips would be able to launch and did not say if the river runners would be reimbursed their $100 per person fees paid to the Park Service.

Uncertain of when the Federal Government shutdown will end, river runners have no choice but to terminate their trip or proceed to the road barricade and wait, spending many tens of thousands of dollars in the process, hoping access to the river will be restored.

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Old 10-05-2013   #2
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
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Ed Abbey warned us in every one of his books and essays about the mega government machine. I think that this is a prime example of what he wrote. This debacle is creating and stirring some really bad feelings towards the park service. I always felt they were the stewards of OUR great parks and land,but am begginning to believe differently. After the goons in Washington get our government back up and running on debt, the majority of the American people will move on with barely a memory of this shut down/out. I do believe the river community must not forget this and there will be some really interesting things in future that will and must be addressed.

This makes me sad. Down with the Sally Jewel, Diana Chalfant and all their mindless "soldiers" at the NPS

tda
slc, ut
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Old 10-05-2013   #3
 
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GCPBA RiverNews 10-5-13 - Stay Tuned: GCNP To Make Announcement Soon Concerning Status of Already Permitted River Trips Currently Unable To Launch

In a Saturday conversation with GCNP Superintendent David Uberuaga and GCNP River District Ranger Brian Bloom GCPBA learned today the Park intends to make a public statement early next week concerning the status of river trips at the Ferry currently unable to launch due to the shutdown of the Federal government.


There is no provision being considered to launch river trips before the shutdown comes to an end.


The Superintendent and Ranger Bloom have spoken with both GCPBA and the commercial outfitters seeking a fair solution as to how best accommodate river runners currently unable to launch, or who may be unable to launch later due to the continuing shutdown.


River runners are not alone in their Grand Canyon distress. Supt. Uberuaga reported that there are more than 2,000 NPS and concessions employees at the South Rim currently out of work.


People holding river permits will be contacted directly by the NPS outlining a series of options permit holders will have to resolve the unfortunate consequences of the shutdown.


GCPBA thanks very much the Superintendent and Ranger Bloom for working with us in their efforts to craft a fair solution to a difficult problem and for reaching out to the river community, both non-commercial and commercial. Thanks very much to the river outfitters for their cooperation in working for a solution.


When exact details become available, we'll report on the Park's proposed solution.


For GCPBA: Richard "Ricardo" Martin and the GCPBA news staff


GCPBA Newswire and RiverNewsNotes are a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association - the leading voice for non-commercial Canyon river runners since 1996 - www.gcpba.org
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Old 10-05-2013   #4
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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The most bewildering and disturbing thing about the situation involving the violated paddlers is that there is a simple and cheap solution. One hand waits for the other hand while both hands have no idea what to do. I'm sure it makes the stranded rafters feel better when they are informed from the very entity that violates them of the people that are out of work because of these govey goons. I don't thank these people for reaching out, action speaks louder than words or public statements. Until our rivers are free from people thinking that they are the gatekeepers and owner, I will not believe any of this.
Thanks to all river organizations no matter which way they lean.

Once again....sad and pathetic.

tda
slc, ut
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Old 10-05-2013   #5
 
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanderson View Post
Ed Abbey warned us in every one of his books and essays about the mega government machine. I think that this is a prime example of what he wrote. This debacle is creating and stirring some really bad feelings towards the park service. I always felt they were the stewards of OUR great parks and land,but am begginning to believe differently. After the goons in Washington get our government back up and running on debt, the majority of the American people will move on with barely a memory of this shut down/out. I do believe the river community must not forget this and there will be some really interesting things in future that will and must be addressed.

This makes me sad. Down with the Sally Jewel, Diana Chalfant and all their mindless "soldiers" at the NPS

tda
slc, ut
Um, I'm not so sure that blaming and insulting regular park service employees is the right thing to do. I'm not going to pretend to know all the legalities and nuances of the decisions that have been made, but these people for the most part are bound by laws. Laws that were made by the morons that people like us elected to office.
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Old 10-05-2013   #6
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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I'm not insulting the ranger that is teaching little kids how to tread lightly, or the guy breaking up the drunken fight in Camp 4. I am trying to bring notice and attention to the people that will mindlessly follow direction from an obviously misguided top. I am also trying to shine light on the governmental control over our whole river experience. I realize that without some regulation we would be doing the congo dance with 20 feet apart between boats, but I cannot help but feel like this whole situation is backwards. For the people, hardly. Of all my outdoor pursuits, I have never experienced the government hand than on rivers. Should we thank a park ranger??? Maybe. Should we question this authority? Yes. I must reiterate that I am mad at the organization and all those that support it in the way that it is.

I hope all the people that are being violated trying to put in get invited on future trips. I know they are welcome on my trip if I someday get the permit.

The process of electing our government is a whole other problem. The only solution is to get the public so pissed off they demand change. Something I am trying to do.
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Old 10-05-2013   #7
 
cedar city, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanderson View Post
I'm not insulting the ranger that is teaching little kids how to tread lightly, or the guy breaking up the drunken fight in Camp 4. I am trying to bring notice and attention to the people that will mindlessly follow direction from an obviously misguided top. I am also trying to shine light on the governmental control over our whole river experience. I realize that without some regulation we would be doing the congo dance with 20 feet apart between boats, but I cannot help but feel like this whole situation is backwards. For the people, hardly. Of all my outdoor pursuits, I have never experienced the government hand than on rivers. Should we thank a park ranger??? Maybe. Should we question this authority? Yes. I must reiterate that I am mad at the organization and all those that support it in the way that it is.

I hope all the people that are being violated trying to put in get invited on future trips. I know they are welcome on my trip if I someday get the permit.

The process of electing our government is a whole other problem. The only solution is to get the public so pissed off they demand change. Something I am trying to do.
They aren't mindlessly following random orders but constitutional mandates and hundred year old laws that designate procedures during spending gaps. Here is a resource to help you understand the laws that affect all agencies of the executive branch during government shutdowns and why they are required to close certain resources and furlough most employees:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...ts/RL34680.pdf

If you want to change that then I would recommend you find a way to lobby the Congress to change the law through legislation and electing a president that designated an Attorney General who can right a legal "opinion" on said law that is friendlier to maintaining access to rivers. This goes beyond just electing different members of Congress and is gonna require years of involvement with friendly representatives.

When you research the legal materials it becomes obvious that the laws are explicit and their are penalties for the agencies who do not obey them. It also denies the ability to accept volunteer hours to offset funding gaps or creating new contracts during that time. The Supers and upper management have their hands tied at the moment.

And I totally agree....river runners are the most regulated user group I have ever experienced. There are places the management is intrusive. That needs to change.

Phillip
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