GCPBA RiverNews 11/6/15 - Unused Noncommercial Launch Dates Are Rescheduled, Not Lost - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-06-2015   #1
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GCPBA RiverNews 11/6/15 - Unused Noncommercial Launch Dates Are Rescheduled, Not Lost

GCPBA RiverNews 11/6/15 - Unused Noncommercial Launch Dates Are Rescheduled, Not Lost

The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association would like to extend our thanks to Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga for an important adaptive management change he made early this year to the Colorado River Management Plan. This change is very meaningful to noncommercial Grand Canyon river runners seeking a permit to launch a river trip.

GCPBA requested that unused noncommercial river trip launch dates during a year be rescheduled, rather than lost. We wrote to the Park:

"We would like to discuss and perhaps develop a method for rescheduling unused noncommercial trips. With the 2006 CRMP, noncommercial river runners achieved long awaited gains in the number of trips allowed to launch. They are very valuable to us and highly sought after, as every year’s river trip lottery application data shows. Unfortunately, sometimes for reasons beyond their control, permit holders must cancel their trips. Sometimes these trips cannot subsequently be awarded to anyone else to use on the original launch date. Unused noncommercial river trip launches, for any reason, perhaps could be placed back on the launch schedule, on dates later in the same year, chosen at the River Office’s discretion so that the Trips At One Time parameter is not exceeded."

Clearly Superintendent Uberuaga heard us and other members of the public, and he approved and implemented the following change early in 2015. The announcement from April 3, 2105, says:

"Up to 20 unused noncommercial launches (last minute cancellations) will be added to the subsequent year’s list of available dates and made available through lotteries to the public. Launches will be scheduled in the subsequent year near the date of the original planned launch. Noncommercial launches canceled more than 30 days in advance will continue to be distributed through a lottery system for the original launch date. This change will apply to last minute cancellations and no-shows."

Immediately upon approval unused five launch dates from March, 2014, onward were added to the 2015 launch calendar. Eleven unused 2015 dates have been added to the 2016 launch calendar. Launch dates that are canceled from now through the end of 2015 and remain unused will be released in a future lottery. All unused dates that were rescheduled to the next year were offered in secondary lotteries, including the one that ended October 15, 2015.

This is expected to go on indefinitely. Further details of the implementation of the plan to reschedule unused launch dates will be coming soon.

GCPBA greatly appreciates Superintendent Uberuaga, River Permits Program Manager Steve Sullivan, and other Park personnel for hearing our suggestions and implementing these changes. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the park and encouraging further improvements and opportunities for private boaters to enjoy "the trip of a lifetime" on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.

GCPBA RiverNews is a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association.
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Old 11-09-2015   #2
Wheredat, USA
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Great news. Thank you to everyone involved.
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Old 11-11-2015   #3
Colo Springs, Colorado
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It would be interesting to see the total numbers of unused launch dates in past years, to know if they had ever exceeded the limit of 20 that will be rescheduled. I will look at the river stats and see if it's there.
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Old 11-16-2015   #4
Colo Springs, Colorado
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Here is what I wanted to know, the number of unused launches from past years. The news is that "Up to 20 unused noncommercial launches (last minute cancellations) will be added to the subsequent year’s list of available dates..."

Out of the 503 launches each year that could go, unused were:

2014: 12
2013: 24
2012: 36
2011: 48
2010: 25
2009: 30
2008: 32
2007: 43

I hope that there being only 12 in 2014 is going to be more the trend, and so all rescheduled, rather than something in the 30's or 40's.
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Old 11-16-2015   #5
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Amen to that, plenty of deserving boaters that would have put those unused permits to good use.
We can't always agree, but we can still be civil to each other.
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Old 11-21-2015   #6
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Unused dates are exactly that, deserving boaters had the chance to take advantage and missed the window. The private use Has already been increased and unused dates while unfortunate do not need to be added to the following year
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Old 11-23-2015   #7
Wheredat, USA
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How can you even think this??!! Every date should be available to us, including in the following year, up to a point. We wouldn't to slam in 100 more dates to a carefully controlled launch calendar. Twenty dates is very workable.

I'm glad the park is adding missed dates to the launch calendar. Missing the window, as you put it, could be due to unfortunate circumstances beyond the control of the permit holder and there was no time for someone else to pick up that date.

THANK YOU for GCPBA's part in making this happen!
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Old 11-23-2015   #8
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While I'm no longer on the GCPBA Board, at one time I was in on some of the conversations with the Park on this issue.

Those discussions were consistent with the Park's continuing efforts to make sure every possible private launch went down the river. (Under the CRMP, there is a fixed maximum number of private launches each year.) So we were looking for a way to use historical data to estimate the number of launches that might not be claimed in a forthcoming year. Then, to compensate, the idea was to pre-emptively add a similar number of launches into each new main lottery.

The desired method would not result in any systematic overages in the number of launches. IIRC, I suggested using a floating average of the last several years' number of unclaimed launches. However, I don't know the final method they chose to add specific numbers.

Concerns about potential impact on the resource are worth addressing. The private launch numbers embodied in the CRMP were determined by a rather lengthy process. It gave Park officials some assurance that the resource would not be damaged in any significant way by use at that level. (Yes, some variables can enter into that determination as time goes on. For instance, the amount of driftwood use in the winter is a notable issue they seemed to struggle with.) But this new system helps private boaters optimize use of our allocation without exceeding whatever environmental limits the CRMP established as acceptable.


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Old 11-23-2015   #9
San Jose, CA, California
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250 unused dates since 2007

There have been a total of 250 unused dates since 2007. It would be great if those were slowly allocated over time. Say 30 extra launch's per year for the next 8 years.

It is weird that the reduction interval is a consistent multiple of 12 from 2011 to 2014. Did that data come from public NPS documents?

Also what happened in 2011? Maybe more unfilled calculations due to the poor economy?

It is a good chance though!
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Old 11-24-2015   #10
cedar city, Utah
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I appreciate the goal to address unused permits and I think pushing some through to the next lottery makes sense. 20 seems workable. My concern for some of the recommendations, like putting all of the unused permits since 2007 back into play, is resource and user experience impact. I just worry that we can continue to push for more access because demand is there but forget to realize how heavily trafficked that corridor already is during prime months.

Look to other permits. Does the Middle Fork push unused permits into next year's lottery? How about the Selway?
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