Wrongful denial of river rights on Grand Canyon during the government shutdown - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 10-03-2013   #1
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1968
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Wrongful denial of river rights on Grand Canyon during the government shutdown

Not being allowed to raft down the Grand Canyon during the government shutdown is a wrongful denial of river rights. Do you know paddlers that have been affected by this? Check out the block and give us your feedback.
The government shutdown: River rights being wrongfully denied - National Organization for Rivers

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Old 10-03-2013   #2
 
Park City, Utah
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I've thought about this alot the last few days.

The NPS has previously charged people for the excavation of their equipement when they were found to be in an area illegally. In the canyon, that would mean a helicopter evac. The legal fees would be steep. I don't think anyone would want to incure the potential expense of being the test case. When you take the government to court, they have a never ending supply of money to back their case and cause.

I wish the Dems would just take the funding on the opening of the national parks and memorials the Repubs offered. I understand the politics, but if I waited years to get onthe grand, and was blocked by this, I would be so upset.
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Old 10-03-2013   #3
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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A few things to consider here. One, it's not illegal to be on the river during the shutdown, it's just you aren't allowed to be on the land, which means they are blocking access to it. Even though the government shutdown on Monday, rangers were letting people depart on the river through Tuesday morning, because they knew once the people were launched the would be okay. The government isn't evacuating all the people that are currently on the river, that would be even more ridiculous! Once people are on the river, the park rangers don't need to worry about them. It's just a matter of letting people access the put-in. And blocking the only access point to the Grand Canyon is illegal under pre-established river law from Congress and the US Supreme Court.
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Old 10-03-2013   #4
 
Louisville, Colorado
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National Rivers,
Your website says that you will be taking on this issue, but fails to mention your tactics. Your organization appears to be largely about spreading information. Is you organization filing suit? Has your organization been involved in any successful change in river law or access? How are the donations and membership fees allocated?
I am all for the cause, and your website seems to have good information, but I am unfamiliar with what you actually do. I am much familiar with American Whitewater and I know they have a proven track record of preserving river access.
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Old 10-03-2013   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NationalRivers View Post
And blocking the only access point to the Grand Canyon is illegal under pre-established river law from Congress and the US Supreme Court.
Citation please.
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Old 10-03-2013   #6
 
Park City, Utah
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I understand your theoretical point.

It's cool to talk about the theoretical law. In fact, once on the river you are at the mercy of the NPS. I know they will not hold those already on the river responsible. But if I access, and fully believe I have a legal right to access, and they arrest me and fly my stuff out and bill me, my legal arguments don't pay for my defense. I think the rangers on site shudder at what they are being asked to do. The boss in Washington is very aware of political trends.

I don't have a permit. If I did, I would have a very difficult choice right now.

The philosophical question of whether a politician should be able to prevent a taxpayer from access to public lands is interesting. I think "Health Safety and Welfare" arguments would win the day in court
but I don't think they should.
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Old 10-03-2013   #7
 
cedar city, Utah
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I read the handout on the page but it dealt with nothing regarding federal stewardship or the nuances of access? Could you clarify for us what "rights" are being impeded at the Grand Canyon. The little bit I understand isn't consistent with the sweeping argument made in the original post.

Phillip
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Old 10-03-2013   #8
 
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Hi,

I believe that if it were as simple in law as the National Rivers poster asserts, one of the major river organizations would have been in front of a Federal judge on the morning of October 1st, getting an injunction and/or restraining order. Why wasn't National Rivers doing that if it was so clear-cut?

I know that GCPBA (although I am not posting this particular message representing its views) has been networking and following this situation even before the river ban went into effect -- looking for alternatives. No-one in its universe of contacts has intimated that there might be a viable legal route to stop what they are doing.

And yes, I read the brief historical citations on their web site. Although I'm not a lawyer I know there are several here on the Buzz. I'm sure they would be interested in knowing about specific contemporarily applicable legal decisions that would back up the claim of outright unlawful action by the Park.

I would say that if National Rivers has such a long arrow in their quiver, let it fly and tell us how we can support its actual concrete effort going forward. Until then, I'm reluctant to accept this proposition as giving any immediate hope for restoring access to the Grand.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
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Old 10-03-2013   #9
 
Louisville, Colorado
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I think this is largely a solicitation. I would rather give money to American Whitewater.
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Old 10-03-2013   #10
 
cedar city, Utah
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Sounds like its got a mission that many of us could rally behind but there are some major red flags. The least of which isn't the bait linking post here. I understand the desire to drive traffic to a website but I would expect more nuance from an organization that claims 30 years of experience.

Not likely to help them out unless I am provided some unexpected evidence.

Phillip
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