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When Browns Canyon is approved for National Monument status, how long will it be until we're applying for permits on Recreation.gov?

Before I get flamed for posting the question, note this isn't a troll and I'm not advocating against the status. Rather I'm trying to better understand the long term implications.

I think many or perhaps most would agree that during the peak summer months Browns Canyon is overcrowded and over-used, and the increase in use vs negative effects on the river corridor is not sustainable in the long run. There has to be a tipping or breaking point at which time one or more involved agencies will need to implement a lottery based use system to decrease the use and abuse.

When that day comes, what will be the results? Will we apply for permits on Recreation.gov? Will it be as restrictive as GC and Gates, with one float per year? Will it be as difficult to get permits as is the Middle Fork (average of 3%-4% chance)? Will the application be as expensive as GC and Gates, or less expensive? Will the available permits be equally split between private and commercial? Will cancellations be easily available?

Are there any other viable long term options other than moving to a lottery based permit system?

If answers to the questions above available elsewhere, kindly point me in the general direction and I'll continue doing homework.
 

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Private boating is/will be trampled on browns just like in the grand. Private concessionaires will be provided better access and drastically more influence in decision making.
 

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im confused.... I thought it was not going to have an effect on private boaters... if anything they should dramatically reduce the number of commercial trips... that's the majority of the traffic in my eyes...

Phil or Logan or others, please shed some light...
 

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It already is heavily rationed with the max being 360 commercial boats in a day. The numbers of private boaters on the river are relatively quite small. Many days during the height of the season one can see in excess of 200 commercial boats and hardly a dozen privates. There are exceptions, but that is only true a couple of days a year. Days when there are more privates than commercial the over-all numbers are so small it's not even busy.

The only real over crowding issue I see is for overnight trips and camp sites. But again, even that only gets anywhere near capacity one or two days a season. And the vast majority of those are commercial or the occasional yahoo who posts up at the same camp for multiple nights in a row. Such as July 4th weekend.

Don't get me wrong, Browns Canyon can sure become a crowded scene at times, but those overly crowded times are not really all that frequent when you look at the entirety of the boatable season. Also, I do not see the user numbers significantly increasing anyway. 2014 was up for commercial numbers from the year before, but (like the Recession) we aren't were we were a decade ago.
 

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Rivervibe is absolutely right. Browns Canyon is a state park. There are officials and organizations who negotiate permit and rationing numbers for the commercials. There has not been any increased use of the canyon....if you find it too crowded stop floating it on Saturday afternoons...

In order to initiate a lottery system there would be a long, drawn out period of public scoping before anything would be done, and park managers are strongly against this.
 

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Another BIG factor is that the river corridor is not even included in the proposed Monument...only the uplands. In fact there is a 50' buffer around the railroad tracks/Union Pacific property. So even though it has been made clear that management of the lands included in the monument would remain under the same jurisdiction as now, that doesn't matter because the river won't be part of it...
 

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I heard that they're putting in a slot machine at Fish Bridge. You put in $7 and pull the lever. If you get all cherries it spits out a Browns permit. If not you have to run Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Seems like the best lottery system for a day run...
 

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It's only a matter of time till they put a permit system in place. It's all about how many boats go down the river each day. In the past, as most of you know, private boaters have exceeded that number a couple of times with big threats of implementing a permit system. The low water year of 2002 helped to keep the number of private boats a day down, and break the rhythm of usage. The numbers have slowly been coming back up to the level that it could put the permit system into place.

One of the hopes of this monument designation is to bring more people into the area and boost the local economy. This is what will eventually bring the private boater numbers back up to the trigger point of "having to" implement a permit system to control the number of boats allowed in Browns Canyon on any given day.

I can see the point on both sides of the argument for making it a National Monument.....but I'm still not convinced it's a good thing for private boaters and is no guarantee that a permit system is far in the future. It may be closer than you think.
 

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ill would adamantly oppose a lottery based permit system... isn't there any official representatives who could give us some clarity... if browns becomes a lottery... I will probably start looking to move... SE or NW
 

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There is nothing in the rules that say the permit system has to be a lottery system. That is totally up to the AHRA as to how they would issue the permits and when they might put it in place. The way the river is run right now is not suppose to change in any way, but this permit system has been on the table a couple of times over the years. By drawing more people to the area.......it's only a matter of time. Best bet is to attend future AHRA task force meetings and keep voicing your opinion of opposition against a permit system.
 

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I have been reading a lot about the Monument. Senator Udhall was the biggest supporter of this bill. He is no longer in the Senate. I'm curious as what priority the bill has now?


Woke up this morning at 10:13.
 

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Back in 2003 the private boat quota was reached a few days around peak runoff. People were so starved from the previous years' drought (I think it peaked at about 350 in 2002) that we flooded it when it hit 3K in 2003. I was one of the ones that helped exceed the quota Memorial Day weekend, IIRC. When the specter of a permit system was raised, private boaters pulled together and did things like boat counts, discouraged boaters from Browns and other things. Also, I think the outfitters gave up some of their existing allocation for increased use on the numbers or elsewhere to increase private boater allocation on Browns. If someone's got better beta on how it all worked, please correct me.

From what I remember, any concept of a permit system discussed then was based on permits being available for pickup in the area, like at CKS, Nathrop Store, and so forth, with same day registration/pickup available. I would be very surprised if there were ever anything more limited than a first-come, first-serve system that quits issuing permits when the quota is reached, should the day ever come at all.

So come on down off the ledge, armageddon isn't happening anytime soon.

-AH
 

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In 2002, the peak was over 600 cfs on May 6th. It really didn't get above 300 again. Andy is right, 2003 was a great run off year, 3200 cfs peak. The allotment was filled early as people were excited to see water. 2012 was really bad and does anybody know the numbers were for 2013? Like 2003?

Victor


Woke up this morning at 10:13.
 

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I'm sorry but 360 commercial trips is not rationing, it is a rubber train. Perhaps the reason the private boater number is "low" is the lack of a quality experience, not one of desire. I first kayaked there in the 70's when Browns and Numbers were, believe it or not, often fairly empty, esp on weekdays. Raced Fibark too. Last time I made the mistake of making a Browns run, and it was an attempted "off hours" one on a weekday, I got run over by a raft (my fault, I peeled out of an eddy behind a blind big rock (companion was in same eddy so no spotter) and never saw it before my ferry attempt went deep south.). But based on the line of Hypalon and PVC coming down, it's possible I might have never gotten out otherwise.

N.B. - I'm a rafter too - Love 'em just not in amounts where you need scientific notation to count 'em. Also preferably not filled to capacity with obese, drunk Texans who can't swim and all too frequently don't do well in early season, cold high water flips.

If and when the permit system comes, and it will, rest assured the commercial pie won't be cut. Yeah, they may bring big bucks to the valley, and provide lots of jobs, but it's my river too.

We don't need a permit system (esp one that works as "well" as rec.gov) or a f*cking Monument, rather someone with enough balls to say yeah, screw the money, the commercial slots are way over allocated. By about 300.

Sorry. Deep, longstanding feelings about this. It's possible there may be someone here I haven't pissed off, but unlikely. Rant over.

- Jon
 

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It's true, 360 is the shite tonne of rubber on that river, but days like that rarely happen. 200 doesn't even happen that often. It's only a couple of months that you need to put up with it all anyway.
Besides, the designation of the river is not changes with respect to the Monument, so a Rec.gov lottery aint happening unless other rivers in the state shutter their commercial industries.

At least the culture isn't like it is over on the Ocoee where I head the guides (on multiple occasions) yell "Aim for the kayaker!" (at me) as if it was a standard guiding command.
 

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It's true, 360 is the shite tonne of rubber on that river, but days like that rarely happen. 200 doesn't even happen that often. It's only a couple of months that you need to put up with it all anyway.
Besides, the designation of the river is not changes with respect to the Monument, so a Rec.gov lottery aint happening unless other rivers in the state shutter their commercial industries.

At least the culture isn't like it is over on the Ocoee where I head the guides (on multiple occasions) yell "Aim for the kayaker!" (at me) as if it was a standard guiding command.
I first paddled the Ocoee somewhere around 1979, I think around a year or so after the flume was condemned (only later to rescued as "historic"). We would come down from Dartmouth every spring and I don't recall ever seeing a raft. One spring break we ran it at full flood, when the Chatooga, Nolichucky, Tellico, even the Little T, pretty much everything was washed out or closed by the TVA. I don't remember much about that run except thinking that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I do recall the Powerhouse ledge hole as pretty much gone, and the takeout zipping up pretty damn fast. In those days the upper put-in wasn't yet built and I think we carried down at a spot just below Grumpy's. Later while at Vandy Med we'd go over and do laps on the Ocoee in our new-fangled "play boats" (Dancers) and slalom race on the Nantahala, and there were more rafts but never an issue. Things must have changed a lot since then.

So I've gone from being a grumpy old fart to a sentimental one in two posts. :)
 

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Seems like some people are getting their panties in a bunch over pure speculation. Time and time again the AHRA has stated that management of the river corridor will not change, despite potential National Monument designation.

The current fee system for day use and overnight camping works well. There is certainly competition in Browns for prime real estate when it comes to overnighters, but hey, the Arkansas is the most popular river in the country. Most river folks know what they're getting into when they show up in the area.

And private versus commercial.… pffffft. Get over it. If you don't want to slam dance down the river with a parade of various river craft, go find yourself a wilderness experience somewhere else. Splatting rafts, rocks, and anything else in the way is half the fun down in Clowns Canyon. Try peeling out of an eddy during club boater fest on the Gauley.

There are still many locations on the Ark where hippie trash river scum can legally put in or put out without paying the day use fees.


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