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Both non-commercial and commercial river trips are being told at the Lees Ferry participant orientation meetings, prior to launching on Colorado River trips, that the Deer Creek narrows is closed to public visitation. The "narrows" is a winding, water sculpted section of Deer Creek drainage below the area known as "the patio" and above the Deer Creek Falls.

No one is allowed to enter that area for recreational or other purposes. The falls are also closed to rappelling.

It seems that the area was closed without any prior public notification or hearing. Wally Rist, President of the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association, has been working to discover the rationale behind the sudden closure of the narrows to public visitation. As Rist points out, the area has been visited by explorers, river runners, and hikers since Canyon visitation began more than 143 years ago, with virtually no impact.

Although there has been no definitive reason given, and no official announcement of the closure other than at the Lees Ferry orientation talk, it's believed that safety concerns and protection of culturally sensitive sites influenced the decision to close the narrows.

GCPBA President Rist has written to GCNP Superintendent Dave Uberuaga asking for clarification of the rule and an explanation as to why this closure took on such sudden importance, questioning the lack of public participation in the process and asking for the NPS to reconsider their action.

For GCPBA: Richard "Ricardo" Martin

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