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So I have done a bunch of rafting on other peoples boats but I recently bought my own boat so now I need to get my own permits. What's the process? If I get a permit can I use it whenever? What about a multi boat trip? When do I do this?


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Step 1. Determine which section of river you would like to paddle. (ex. Westwater Canyon)
Step 2. Google "Westwater Canyon Permits"
Step 3. Read the rules and regulations- next, decide if that is something you would like to do.
Step 4. Apply for a permit. Some permits just require paying the fee and picking a launch date. Other permits like the Grand Canyon require joining a competitive lottery.
Step 5. Pay for your permit, acquire all of the necessary equipment.

If you have any further questions, refer back to Step 3.
Hope this super generic answer helps.
 

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Most rivers in the west have a permit lottery. You apply for several dates (1st, 2nd, 3rd choices) and pay a small application fee (10-15 bucks). One permit application per person. Most applications are due in Jan or Feb. Winners announced by March. Your permit is only good for a specific launch date and specific days on the river. If you win a permit you then provide additional details (group size, assigned camp sites etc) and pay a more expensive group fee based on the number of folks.

The permit holder does not need any particular river experience, however your trip leader needs to have the experience and skills to navigate the river. The permit holder must be on the trip and the permit in not transferable. If you cannot use the permit you can turn it back in, however a no-show is banned for the following year.

Lots of web sites with easy links to permit info.....
rivergeek western river permits

Note: the permit holder is responsible for seeing the entire group is following the river regulations. With more responsibility you will need/want more safety gear...

Get familiar with the reg's on the various rivers and be prepared. Most rivers will require a toilet system, fire pan, fire blanket and major medical kit. Also labeled PFD's, required spares for each boat over 16'. You might also want to consider a Z-drag kit and a satellite phone (you can rent them)

Get a copy of the book 'River Otter' www.anotterpress.com This is a great guide for trip planning including things like 'how much propane do I need for a 5 day tip?
 

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Most rivers in the west have a permit lottery.
This is one of the biggest misperceptions people who aren't intimately familiar with boating have. It should be actually be, "while many of the most popular whitewater runs in the West have a permit system, there are lots of rivers where you can just show up and, at most, self-register to get on the river..."

As an example, and others may chime in and correct me, but with the exception of the Green and Yampa through Dinosaur Nat. Monument, and part of the Dolores, I can't think of any other rivers in Colorado that require any kind of advance permit, much less have a lottery. This includes the entire reach of the Arkansas, the entire reach of the Colorado, the Gunnison, much of the Dolores, San Miguel, Taylor, Yampa, Clear Creek, Poudre, etc. There are hundreds of miles of rivers in most western states, and especially runs well suited for novices, that don't require a permit.

-AH
 

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Unfortunately Idaho has completely sold out of permits through 2019, no use applying for a permit there...

Oh and the grand did too, nothing left. That run sucks anyway so I'd stick to westwater.
 
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