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20' motorized cats, I think we call that a commercial trip. I realize that just about anyone can win a GC lottery but if you don't have the skill to oar the canyon why bother. And if you have to get these 3 guys to motor you down you need to work on your boating skills first.:razz:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Wavester,

This is really not unlike the posts you see where people with a permit are looking for someone to augment their trip with gear, personnel, or experience. We're just coming at it from the other direction.

To be clear, we're not commercial in any sense -- just three guys with a collection of gear and a fair amount of experience. We'll pay our share just like other participants and won't expect any compensation -- over or under the table.

You're absolulely right -- this arrangement is not for most private boaters. But it lends itself to helping a group of kayakers who don't want to go self-support for a couple of weeks. It also might appeal to rafters with smaller boats and not a lot of experience in organizing long desert river trips.

Your point about having experience before getting a GC permit is one that's been debated quite a bit. But the reality is, the "one trip a year" rule in the Grand Canyon means there are people winning permits in the lottery who have quite a bit less experience down there.

And yes, the fact we're motorized will turn some folks off. But there are others for whom that would provide benefits. It's all in your concept of a GC trip, the time you have available, the amount of gear you want to bring, and other elements like that.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
 

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Rich - what a nice response. All those years of running GCPBA (That was you right?) have honed your ability to be nice even to those that might be a bit less than that to you. Good luck finding a great trip to join.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Raftus,

Actually, this being the Buzz and all, I considered that a pretty mild jab (grin).

Thing is, we all (and I include myself in this) tend to forget that there is a rather large universe of boaters out there -- with widely varied interests and capabilities. Our little private three-person consortium is not trying to impose on anyone else our views of how the Canyon ought to be run. But if our capabilities will help someone else get on the Grand -- and get us on the river there as well -- then so much the better for all concerned.

BTW, I didn't run GCPBA, but I was on the Board until about 3-4 years ago. It's still a good organization, doing good things. In fact its Board is meeting with top GCNP officials this coming weekend -- something that's pretty unique. GCPBA's relationship with the Park is valuable to private boaters when it comes to voicing our interests and concerns about GC river-running.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
 

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I dont think there was anything rude at all about my comment and I stand by it. I know exactly who he is and was a member of the GCPBA myself until they became an organization advocating for motor rigs and fought against wilderness designation in the Canyon and gave away over 2/3 of the summer GC launches for commercial use.... Nothing to be proud of imo. (now that's what I call a "jab")
And I have no doubt these guys will find a trip, somebody who just read about a trip of a lifetime in Outside magazine and entered the lottery for the first time, now they need somebody to motor them down the canyon and take over their trip.
As they say to each his own, good luck.


Rich - what a nice response. All those years of running GCPBA (That was you right?) have honed your ability to be nice even to those that might be a bit less than that to you. Good luck finding a great trip to join.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Wavester,

I don't consider your comments as serious jabs in any case. They represent a legitimate point of view that a lot of folks have expressed. And in any event, I think the unpublished rule here is, "If you post on the Buzz, be ready to take a little guff every now and then".

So, even though I'm not a spokesperson for GCPBA, let me add a few things to the mix.

1. As a matter of record, GCPBA has never advocated for motorized GC boating. The fact it opposed a lawsuit that -- among many other things -- included a challenge to the use of motors, does not mean that it advocated for motor use. GCPBA has maintained complete neutrality on the issue. Not supporting efforts to obtain a motor ban does not mean advocacy for motors.

2. The new management plan (which GCPBA did support) means that:

a. The motor season was shortened considerably.

b. The number of private GC launches increased considerably, while the number of commercial launches was modestly reduced.

c. For the entire year, commercial launches decreased from 640 to 598, while private launches increased from 253 to 503.

d. Private launches increased from 226 to 384 during the most desirable Spring/Summer/Fall seasons.

e. A large percentage of the increase in Spring/Fall private launches are in the no-motor portion of the year.

3. GCPBA has never opposed wilderness designation for the Grand Canyon river corridor. In fact, I can tell you that in all the Board activities in which I was involved, opposition to wilderness was never voiced. My impression was (and remains) that if it did come up as an issue, GCPBA's Board would support a Wilderness designation by Congress. Again, the failure to advocate actively for something shouldn't be interpreted as opposition.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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Hi Rich,
Most of the increased launches for privates were in the winter while commercial launches were actually increased in the prime summer months under the newer plan. As to whether the new plan is better then the old, that's debatible as are many of the numbers your throwing out.
I noticed that your offering your guide service during the prime spring and summer months. Perhaps you should take advantage of all those launches during the winter that GCPBA got us, say Jan or Feb. After all a 20' motor rig can probably carry a lot of cold weather gear...grin.
 

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Interesting "facts", here's an accurate souce for how the CRMP has impacted private boaters in the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon Litigation | River Runners For Wilderness

Wavester


Hi Wavester,

I don't consider your comments as serious jabs in any case. They represent a legitimate point of view that a lot of folks have expressed. And in any event, I think the unpublished rule here is, "If you post on the Buzz, be ready to take a little guff every now and then".

So, even though I'm not a spokesperson for GCPBA, let me add a few things to the mix.

1. As a matter of record, GCPBA has never advocated for motorized GC boating. The fact it opposed a lawsuit that -- among many other things -- included a challenge to the use of motors, does not mean that it advocated for motor use. GCPBA has maintained complete neutrality on the issue. Not supporting efforts to obtain a motor ban does not mean advocacy for motors.

2. The new management plan (which GCPBA did support) means that:

a. The motor season was shortened considerably.

b. The number of private GC launches increased considerably, while the number of commercial launches was modestly reduced.

c. For the entire year, commercial launches decreased from 640 to 598, while private launches increased from 253 to 503.

d. Private launches increased from 226 to 384 during the most desirable Spring/Summer/Fall seasons.

e. A large percentage of the increase in Spring/Fall private launches are in the no-motor portion of the year.

3. GCPBA has never opposed wilderness designation for the Grand Canyon river corridor. In fact, I can tell you that in all the Board activities in which I was involved, opposition to wilderness was never voiced. My impression was (and remains) that if it did come up as an issue, GCPBA's Board would support a Wilderness designation by Congress. Again, the failure to advocate actively for something shouldn't be interpreted as opposition.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Wavester,

I guess I have to start out by noting that RRFW's position was soundly rejected by both Federal District and Federal Appeals courts. It reads well, has genuine merit in some respects, but ultimately was unpersuasive with regard to the issues. So what we have now -- and will have for the next few years -- is what I'm talking about.

The numbers I provided are not mine -- they come straight from the management plan's (Grand Canyon National Park - Colorado River Management Plan Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service) ) supporting materials. And they're pretty clear...

Not all the increase in private allocation was in the winter, but the entire late fall/winter/early spring allocation went to private boaters. If you want a pure no-motor environment, there are six and a half months of it in the new plan -- including many beautiful late fall and early spring launch opportunities.

But the benefits are more extensive than that. For private boaters, spring, summer, and fall launches alone increased significantly -- exceeding the entire private allocation under the old system. The number of commercial launches decreased. The motor season was shortened. The maximum size of commercial groups was lowered. The small group option was added for privates.

Plus, other features of the plan eased pressure on the Canyon and helped reduce on-river contacts. For instance, the total number of launches each day dropped from nine to six. The total number of trips on the river at any time dropped from 70 to 60. The maximum number of people on the river at one time was reduced to 985 from 1,095. Again, not my figures, but those contained in the management plan that was adopted.

Sure there was a numerical increase in winter launches. That's because before the new plan there were no winter trips at all.

Were there elements in the plan that don't sit well with me? Sure. Things like the one trip a year rule. I personally would have a large and small trip launch every day of the year. I also would like to have seen a different method for the lottery to make its automated choices.

But overall, the new plan resulted in a fairly decent compromise between a lot of very different competing interests, and objectively provided significant access gains for private boaters. Perfect, no. Lots better, absolutely.

To be quite clear, this little three-person consortium of ours is not a guide service; we're just folks looking for a participatory role in a private trip. And the dates we're potentially available coincide with the motor season established by the Park. The rest of the year there are no motors allowed.

And ironically, you've mentioned something that a few folks have raised as an argument for a winter motor season. A big S-rig could easily carry a yurt, several cords of firewood, and all the warm clothing you could ever want down there. Not to mention the extra safety margin that a big boat like that can provide under some circumstances for cold weather boating.

Another irony -- I'm fundamentally a rowing guy. I've taken the very same twenty foot cat down the Grand and other rivers under oar power, and will likely do it again. But there are situations where a motor trip makes sense for me. And all we're looking to do here is find someone else for whom our kind of setup makes sense as well.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
 

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And yes, the fact we're motorized will turn some folks off. But there are others for whom that would provide benefits.
Ah yes, the added benefits of breathing exhaust fumes and listening to a motor in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Brian,

This won't make much difference to folks who are opposed to motors on unalterable principle, but it's worth a try for those who are undecided.

The new four-stroke motors are exceptionally clean and quiet; the old days of smelly, rattling two-strokes are long gone and through-the-prop exhausts keep the remaining noise even lower. And cat hulls just don't need much oomph to keep them moving at a steady pace.

On the trip I did this past fall, we drifted for about a third of the time, and putted along at idle everywhere else but in the rapids. I can tell you you don't hear the motor in the rapids, that's for sure. And on the flats, if I was more than 50-60 feet away from one of our other boats, there was no way you could tell if the motor was running or not. And certainly not from any odor.

Related factoid. With my carbureted motor, I used a bit less than 6 gallons of fuel to go 225 miles to Diamond. The other two guys have fuel injection and they used less than 4.5 gallons for that same distance. You can't be running a motor very much, very hard, or very loud, or vaporize off much fuel, and get that kind of fuel economy.

But again, I'm not advocating motors for everyone. I'm simply offering an option for folks for whom motor support makes sense and doesn't present any philosophical problems.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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It's not really about motors nor am I against them. But they're not needed in the GC, they're there so raft companies can get more people down the river and make bigger profits. That being said I have found the jet boat operators on the Rogue and Main Salmon proffesional and courteous and remember they were running these rivers long before we were unlike the GC.
This is about an unfair system (CRMP) that rewards commercial interests at the expense of private boaters.
Here's some basic stats about the CRMP (provided by RRFW)

User Days

114,010 commercial passengers (does not count 25,000 commercial guide user days)
103,492 non-commercial people.
User Days In the Summer

90,908 user days commercial passengers (does not count commercial guide user days)
33,827 user days non-commercial.
Number of launches a year

610 river concessionaire launches
471 non-commercial launches.
Summer Season Launches

486 concessionaire launches of 32 folks
123 groups of 16 folks standard and 62 groups of 8 folks non-commercial trips.
Group Sizes

Concessions launches are 32 people
Non-commercial 16 or 8 folks
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Wavester,

I suppose you and I could swap numbers all weekend -- picking the ones that will support our point of view. And I suspect we wouldn't convince anyone to change their mindset about motors in the Canyon or allocation levels.

Neither of which were the subject of the original post. But that's largely my fault. I'm constituionally unable to let something like this go without a rebuttal or two.

However, I have to say I appreciate the high level of discourse we've had. I was expecting to be treated a lot worse by the usual ruffians -- the ones interested only in knowing if my cat would carry 120 cases of beer. (grin)

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
 

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It's not really about motors nor am I against them. But they're not needed in the GC, they're there so raft companies can get more people down the river and make bigger profits. That being said I have found the jet boat operators on the Rogue and Main Salmon proffesional and courteous and remember they were running these rivers long before we were unlike the GC.
Wavester,
When did private trips really start in the GC (besides Powell and Stanton/Brown)?
Commercial trips have been running the canyon since Norm Nevills started Canyoneers in the 40's. I started running commercially in the canyon in 1969 and for the first 5 years I only saw 2 private trips. When was it again that you started running in the canyon?
And how can you say that "we were " running trips down the canyon for as long as commercial trips. You are full of it.
 

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The statement was about when motor trips started in the GC not about when commercial trips started. Of course people were running the GC commercially before they were running it recreationally as in most of the big rivers of the west. And the "we" being recreational river runners in the GC, not me personally. That's what's changed since the original regulations were drafted by the NPS in the GC, namely that there's a lot more "we's" or recreational boaters in the Summer months then there were in the 70's but the allocation of trips still disproportionally favors commercial trips. And this was not addressed in the new CRMP.

As far as who started rafting the GC first, you win as you were rafting the GC before I was born and have another drink genius...:p


Wavester,
When did private trips really start in the GC (besides Powell and Stanton/Brown)?
Commercial trips have been running the canyon since Norm Nevills started Canyoneers in the 40's. I started running commercially in the canyon in 1969 and for the first 5 years I only saw 2 private trips. When was it again that you started running in the canyon?
And how can you say that "we were " running trips down the canyon for as long as commercial trips. You are full of it.
 

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So Rich, Your proposition is to be invited to support a private GC trip with large motorized boats. I am assuming the boats are fully equipped, legally rigged and will be carrying everything including the kitchen sink. That seems a huge investment in money and time. I am curious about how much money your group feels your boats and equipment offer is worth. A per day or per week estimate would be appreciated.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I find motors and all the trappings that come with them on the river a major intrusion on the Canyon experience in general therefore choosing to row during the non-motor season.

Kendi, both the Powell adventures as well as the Stanton efforts could be classified as commercial trips (not private as you presume) as both men were financed by commercial expansion interests. Also, most all the modern commercial guide services have roots as private boaters that went into the business. It seems the bad actors that brought on the need for regulation with few exceptions were members of those commercial interests. BTW, your avatar depicting a crotchety old fellow sitting on a 2x4 is one of the best on the Buzz ;/
 

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Motors suck for more reasons than noise and pollution. I'll list a few.

They take away the old school "do it yourself" aspect. In short, they are for weaker boaters.

They take away fairness in camp selections. If people generally floated about the same pace those of us with the gumption to row the canyon wouldn't get f'd by motor boaters all the time.

They keep people from earning what has been earned with blisters and hard work for well over a hundred years. Making it easier does not make it better.

They set precedent for motors in other wild places, in legislation and in the minds of users. With more people entering wilderness than ever, experienced outdoor enthusiasts need to set a good example - not show how easy it can be.

Four stroke or two stroke, these problems exist any time a motor is used on a flowing river, especially one where the current is swift the entire way, as in the Grand!

Just my opinion, no offense intended, but please think about it next time you pull that cord.
 
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