GCPBA Poll Results Posted - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-14-2012   #1
 
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GCPBA Poll Results Posted

GCPBA RiverNews 10/13/12 - 2012 GCPBA Survey Results Posted

The recently closed priorities survey results have now been published. 273 people shared their opinions as to what they thought the most important issues facing Grand Canyon river runners currently are.

We are sharing a stacked bar graph by ranking of importance at: gcpba.org/gcpba-current-survey/

The questions are posted below the bar graph. You can compare the results of the current survey with earlier surveys conducted by GCPBA in the “Surveys” section of our website – look for “GCPBA Past Surveys” on the site navigation bar to your left or click here:
http://gcpba.org/gcpba-past-surveys/

The issue that was chosen most often, and the one that was ranked #1 by the most people, was “More access for private river runners, summer, winter, shoulder seasons, or overall.” Almost 58% of the participants – 157 of 273 – selected it in their top four, and 79 of those (just over half the 157) chose it as their #1 issue.

If you combine #1 and #2 rankings, the most important issue again seems to be, “More access for private river runners, summer, winter, shoulder seasons, or overall.” The second most important is, “The Grand Canyon Escalade Project at the LCR,” closely followed by “Glen Canyon Dam operations (LTEMP), high flows, steady flows, low flows, beach erosion, environment, etc.”

We welcome your discussion of the survey results. Thanks very much for participating.

Wally Rist
President. GCPBA

GCPBA RiverNews is a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association. Support GCPBA - visit our all new website: www.gcpba.org We are on FaceBook - Welcome to Facebook - Log In, Sign Up or Learn More

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Old 10-14-2012   #2
 
Wavester's Avatar
 
NorCal, California
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The Grand Canyon Private Motor Boaters Assoc

I put down getting rid of motors becaues they pollute...oh wait that wasn't even a choice on this survey. Curious.



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Originally Posted by richp View Post
GCPBA RiverNews 10/13/12 - 2012 GCPBA Survey Results Posted

The recently closed priorities survey results have now been published. 273 people shared their opinions as to what they thought the most important issues facing Grand Canyon river runners currently are.

We are sharing a stacked bar graph by ranking of importance at: gcpba.org/gcpba-current-survey/

The questions are posted below the bar graph. You can compare the results of the current survey with earlier surveys conducted by GCPBA in the “Surveys” section of our website – look for “GCPBA Past Surveys” on the site navigation bar to your left or click here:
http://gcpba.org/gcpba-past-surveys/

The issue that was chosen most often, and the one that was ranked #1 by the most people, was “More access for private river runners, summer, winter, shoulder seasons, or overall.” Almost 58% of the participants – 157 of 273 – selected it in their top four, and 79 of those (just over half the 157) chose it as their #1 issue.

If you combine #1 and #2 rankings, the most important issue again seems to be, “More access for private river runners, summer, winter, shoulder seasons, or overall.” The second most important is, “The Grand Canyon Escalade Project at the LCR,” closely followed by “Glen Canyon Dam operations (LTEMP), high flows, steady flows, low flows, beach erosion, environment, etc.”

We welcome your discussion of the survey results. Thanks very much for participating.

Wally Rist
President. GCPBA

GCPBA RiverNews is a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association. Support GCPBA - visit our all new website: www.gcpba.org We are on FaceBook - Welcome to Facebook - Log In, Sign Up or Learn More
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Old 10-14-2012   #3
 
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Hi Wavester,

Out of 273 responses, there were 12 comments about wilderness and motors. But the issue of wilderness and motors in the GC river corridor was decided by Federal District and Appeals courts some time ago. Any further action along those lines would have to be done legislatively, and GCPBA is legally forbidden from lobbying Congress. We didn't see the value of surveying something we can't do anything about.

Put another way, the purpose of the survey was to help the GCPBA Board shape its activities in the coming year -- basically to get some idea how best to direct our limited resources. The survey pointed us to areas we can actually do something about, and which are important to respondents. In addition to access, I'm talking about things like fighting the proposed commercial development at the Little Colorado, and influencing Glen Canyon Dam operations through the LTEMP.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Rich Phillips
Secretary, GCPBA
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Old 10-15-2012   #4
 
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Christopher Creek, Arizona
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Rich,

Thanks for your work on this matter. I am curious about your statement, "GCPBA is legally forbidden from lobbying Congress". Is this a condition prescribed in the corporate bylaws? If not, A 501 C3 does have a not-to-exceed percentage of its activities and monies that can be dedicated to direct lobby, including Congress.

It seems the areas of interest to the GCPBA you mention, dam operations and fighting the proposed commercial developement at the LCR, will involve some degree of direct congressional lobbying to be effective. Congress is the ultimate authority on both issues afterall.

Again, Thanks for the good effort!

Don
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Old 10-15-2012   #5
 
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Hi Fdon,

True, a small amount of legislative involvement is permitted for non-profits like GCPBA: my language could have been tighter there.

More precisely, GCPBA's bylaws say, "No substantial part of the activities of this Corporation shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."

I'm not a lawyer, just a layman working with other laymen in what can often become a complicated legal environment. So in both my prior and current tenures on the Board, we have interpreted that clause tightly. Also, as a practical matter, conducting a meaningful lobbying program (that is, beyond the occasional letter to a Member, I suppose) is simply beyond our means. So if we ever felt moved to do something that involved Congress (and had the means to possibly do so), I'd urge that GCPBA get a legal opinion first, in order to be sure we didn't transgress with the IRS.

The LCR issue involves a proposed private development on Navajo land bordering the Park. The LTEMP is an established agency-level process. Neither entails influencing Congressional action. So our involvement in both of them falls within the portion of our bylaws that says, we exist, "to promote, encourage, and advocate for the interests of the non-commercial boating community on the river, including but not limited to, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon."

Hope this helps.

Rich Phillips
Secretary, GCPBA

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Old 10-15-2012   #6
 
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Boise, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavester View Post
I put down getting rid of motors becaues they pollute...oh wait that wasn't even a choice on this survey. Curious.
Good point Wavester.
Last time I complained about motors in the Canyon on the Buzz I was told how they don't smell, don't pollute, and don't make any noise. Guess my senses were wrong when the motorized rafts passed my oar raft on a Canyon trip...
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Old 10-15-2012   #7
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Originally Posted by richp View Post


I'm not a lawyer, just a layman working with other laymen in what can often become a complicated legal environment. So in both my prior and current tenures on the Board, we have interpreted that clause tightly. Also, as a practical matter, conducting a meaningful lobbying program (that is, beyond the occasional letter to a Member, I suppose) is simply beyond our means. So if we ever felt moved to do something that involved Congress (and had the means to possibly do so), I'd urge that GCPBA get a legal opinion first, in order to be sure we didn't transgress with the IRS.

This seems to be taking the easy way out. If your mission is aligned with the "lobbying" then the IRS perceives your efforts as fundamental to your organization's efforts. Yes, there are nuanced ways to approach this and you should check with your legal team BUT do you think large environmental 501c3s (ex: Sierra Club) don't pursue congressional advocacy and lobbying? How about the non-profit Charter School movement in this country who has had major success being in legislator's ears...I'm just suggesting that if there's some attention paid to honoring IRS guidelines and a willingness for the organization to take on a legislative lobbying agenda then it is definitely possible for the GCPBA to pursue the advocacy suggested above.

As far as "a meaningful lobbying program" being beyond the orgs means perception- We'll this is pretty defeatist and myopic. Rich, maybe that's your assessment but plenty of Washington deals are worked out with local state reps. To believe pollenating the legislative process is too much of an effort for GCPBA is selling your outfit and your lay-people short. Maybe some fresh perspectives and new blood would shake it up? New BOD members that are more firebrand and not comfortable accepting things as usual? I'm not volunteering, but as a 20 year veteran of non-profit law, lobbying and effecting positive change, I was taken aback by your comments above. I don't claim to have a read on the AZ legislative landscape but to dismiss a lobbying/advocacy strategy looks like the easy way out on this one. I hope you'll reconsider.
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Old 10-15-2012   #8
 
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Hi Mountainjah,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. You've actually touched on a couple of the things that steers our direction on such matters.

The first -- to which I alluded earlier -- is resources. GCPBA is not the Sierra Club. We're a small organization with a tiny all-volunteer board. Dues and the occasional auction barely bring in enough to keep things moving at their current level. (For instance, we're about to have our annual Board meeting in Flagstaff, and we'll all be paying our own way there -- some of us from places like Washington, Kansas, and Illinois.)

All of which is to say we don't have the means to do anything more expansive, after we direct our attention to urgent current issues. Things like cooperating with other groups in resisting construction of a proposed tramway, boardwalk, and restaurant just a hundred feet from the confluence of the LCR and main Colorado. Or participating in a highly technical agency process (the LTEMP) that will determine Glen Canyon Dam operations -- and hence Grand Canyon river conditions -- for decades to come.

Second, our actual members -- as opposed to non-members who follow these things on the internet -- have never polled high on the issue of removing motors from the Canyon. We've taken a number of surveys periodically over the years, and access remains the number one concern of our members. Yes, wilderness and motors are mentioned by a small minority. But if you have a very modest organization with limited volunteer personnel and a relatively small budget, you have to do your best to use your resources optimally.

The third is the "culture" of the organization. I wasn't there then, but in the early days it was sort of decided to take the approach that's still pretty much in use -- to advance our goals by working with the Park and others in the GC river community at the least formal level available. Yes, we had to sue the Park once. But for the most part, GCPBA has largely been successful using a cooperative approach to move things in the direction we want. GCPBA has never presented itself to its members as an organization oriented toward legislative matters.

Also, your post captures a very real problem for us -- recruiting Board members who actually have the time to do things, are knowlegeable on GC river issues, and are willing to expend their own resources to keep the ship afloat. Not criticizing you one bit, but within your post is the kernel of what we so often encounter -- people have views on things and ideas about what GCPBA should do, but they are not willing to serve on the Board. That may be beacause it's a real-life working board, not just some figurehead group. Board membership entails making a genuine commitment to innumerable phone calls and emails back and forth, analyzing things originating elsewhere in the river community, working up important documents developed and staffed not only within the Board but also with other organizations, attending meetings here and there around the country, and other things that are not evident at first glance.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that we communicate with the wider boating community -- here on the Buzz, through our listserv, and elsewhere -- in order to keep our fingers on its pulse. But ultimately we serve our actual paying members. So by focusing as we do on things that are important to our members and doable within our resources, we think we're serving them in the best way we can.

Hope this helps explain things a bit better.

Rich Phillips
Secretary, GCPBA
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