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Another example of the "make the shutdown hurt" concept in action.

We the people pay taxes to these politicians and bureaucrats (both political parties) and this is what we get. Thankfully, these two men stood up for their rights even tho it cost them considerable money to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think they made the right call. Also, they definitely would have won in court, but that would have cost many times more. It is too bad that they had to pay anything. I am also wondering why they let the adult daughter hike in, but no one else?

Kudos to John and Brian!
 

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This is one that I think is directly the fault of the park supervisor. This could have been avoided. Each agency is supposed to have contingency plans in place at the beginning of the year in the event of a spending gap. GCNP knew that people would be in the bottom of the canyon, understood the safety nuances of a river trip and should have advocated for thoughtful policy. Denying these passengers access and then fining them for prioritizing the safety of their trips was a malicious action on their part. They were interacting with people who launched before the closure. They should have been accommodated under the Anti-Defeciency Acts specific allowances IMHO.

People know where I stood on the bigger issue, but in this case I applaud the boaters for making an ethical decision. Its just a shame the park took it as far as they did.

Phillip
 

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This situation just goes to show you how much a Grand Canyon trip means to boaters. This guy Brian Kehoe decided to ignore the rangers’ orders, and hike down thinking he was facing $20,000 in fines 30 days in jail and a five-year ban on entering national parks and still decided that the trip was worth it. I'm glad that in the end he and his buddy were only charged $750, but they were willing to risk at lot more. Trips down the Grand mean a lot to boaters, that's why many people refer to it as "a trip of a lifetime". I have a grand permit for next year and it will be my first time down. I have applied to 7 consecutive lotteries and every follow up lottery that had dates that worked and it still took me 7 years to get a permit. I think I would be making similar decisions if something like this were to happen during my trip of a life time.

I guess I really feel bad for the 3 people that decided risking it wasn't worth it. I think that would bother me for the rest of my life, at least way more then a fine would.
 

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Rangers showed a lack of ability to assess/make decisions on a situational basis. They seemed to be digging their heels in on the issue like their Washington brethren which did no good for anyone. Way to let your asses hang out Rangers.
 

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While it's tempting to pile on the rangers, I've got a feeling they didn't have any choice in the matter and were simply doing their jobs as directed from above. Some things I noticed: The person with a blood relation to the TL was allowed to hike down and from the article it appears that no one was physically restrained from hiking down. The defendants were able to plead via conference call rather than appearing at a courthouse in AZ, and the fine was effectively about $50/day for being on the Grand below Phantom. The was also no ban mentioned in the article. Seems like it all could've been a lot worse if the NPS attorneys had wanted to really play hardball.

-AH
 

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The was also no ban mentioned in the article.
[/QUOTE]

In the article it says in the first paragraph

"The penalty for defying the Grand Canyon closure and government shutdown could be as much as $20,000, 30 days in jail and a five-year ban on entering national parks. On the other hand, his party needed an experienced boatman to safely finish its trip"
 

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A friend of mine was once ticketed camping in the back of his pick-up at the Lees put-in. He got a change of venue to San Jose, CA (another federal court) so he wouldn't have to travel to Flag. He showed up for his day in court, and the first thing that happened was the bailiff read all the hearings to be conducted that day. This is federal court. the charges were things like murder, arson, extortion, and then my friend's: illegal camping. After everyone stopped laughing, the judge called my friend up to the front and had him promise he wouldn't do it again. Case dismissed.

I bet that would have worked here, too.
 

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The was also no ban mentioned in the article.


In the article it says in the first paragraph

"The penalty for defying the Grand Canyon closure and government shutdown could be as much as $20,000, 30 days in jail and a five-year ban on entering national parks. On the other hand, his party needed an experienced boatman to safely finish its trip"
Ok, it looks like I should've said, "there was no ban mentioned in the article as being part of the punishment received by the defendants. "

Pardon my lack of clarity.

Let me try to make my point again. Using the perspective of what I've heard about other cases of running the Grand Canyon after a ranger's told you not to do it, in this case it still seems like these guys got off pretty light - no equipment confiscated, no National Park bans, no jail time, and they paid less than 4% of the maximum fine. If you got busted for just about any other offense, you'd be skipping out of the courthouse after getting that proportion of the maximum penalties.

That's a funny story, Alanbol. In this day and age it seems they got about the next best thing to having to promise not to do it again.

-AH
 

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It seems to me their situation was unique in that their group was already on. I am bagging on the rangers for not showing any flexibity in the situation. It seems like if there was going to be an exception, this would have been it. I understand they have a job to do but a little compassion in a hugly f'd up situation would have been nice to see.
I wish they could have afforded to fight it in court (and won of course).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I see this as having to pay $1500 to make sure their trip was safe. This is something that the Goverment should have foreseen and made arrangements for. It amounts to lack of planning on the part of someone other than the trip participants.
 

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Wish I'd known about this case before they had their call. I'd have gladly kicked in for their legal defense. Could set a precedent. Maybe.

In any case, glad they had their trip and glad all returned safely.
 

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That's a very good point GC Guide. As the next Gov shutdown looms, we may need to be looking for a legal team ahead of time to assist after the take out. All the best, tom
 

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That's a very good point GC Guide. As the next Gov shutdown looms, we may need to be looking for a legal team ahead of time to assist after the take out. All the best, tom
Sounds like we could realistically deal with this again in Jan.

Is anyone working directly with the river department and/or the Superintendent to have measures in place pro-actively to safely deal with the known problem? They have the opportunity to amend contingencies each year. Seems like we could help them with a "lessons learned" sort of approach.

Phillip
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would guess that Ceiba, Moenkopi and the other private outfitters are looking into it. I will try to find out and report back if there is any kind of "organization" to this.
 

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I'd encourage you to write the Superintendent direct AND cc your congressional representative. ASK for a response. And, post that here.

It is too easy for the NPS to avoid replying if you do not cc your congressional staff AND you do not request a reply.

We are meeting with our congressional representative about this, and have asked to meet with the NPS as well. But please don't leave this to others. Get in there and get active and write a letter or two and then report back. K? Thanks, yours, tom
 

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I will send a letter to the GCNP Super, NPS Director .... might consider my Congressional Representative. A little hard to desire involving uber-conservative Chris Stewart in the conversation as I do not believe he would be a healthy ally or advocate. Its a shame they redistricted my region as Mattheson was a great moderate voice in these issues.

Any key language that should be included? I know some of the spending gap terminology but may not have the best terminology for this explicit side of GCNP? Or is it best to be organic in expressing such issues to the park?

Phillip
 

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Hi Phillip, my advice would be to include a cc to Stewart. I'd be organic and write to what you know. You might want to point out, respectfully of course, that everyone who joins a trip at Phantom is an important part of the trip, and once something is started pre-closure, it should be allowed to finish from a safety standpoint, with ALL participants.

Superintendent David Uberuaga
Grand Canyon National Park
PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

I hope others will do the same! All the best, tom
 
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