Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
930 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
RRFW Riverwire – Court Issues Second Decision in Grand Canyon Appeal
February 12, 2010

In an opinion released Monday, February 1, 2010 on the legality of the
2006 Colorado River Management plan (CRMP), the 9th District Court of
Appeals in San Francisco issued an original opinion and replaced their
previous opinion in support of the lower Arizona District Court.

In the case, attorneys for River Runners for Wilderness, Rock the Earth,
Living Rivers and Wilderness Watch argued that the Park is legally
compelled to follow its own policies and therefore the existence of
motorized boats and helicopters for recreation is illegal in the potential
wilderness of Grand Canyon National Park. The groups also argued the
allocation of use between river concessions and the general public is
arbitrary and inequitable.

The groups argued the 2006 Management Plan is "arbitrary and capricious"
under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), because it violates the Park
Service's own policies, including the National Park Service’s obligation
to provide equitable river access and protect the river as potential
wilderness.

The 9th Circuit Court noted that the Park Service can "waive or modify"
its own policies and the National Park policies "are not enforceable
against the Park Service in this action".

The court ruled that National Park Service (NPS) “policies do not
prescribe substantive rules, nor were they promulgated in conformance with
the procedures of the APA," the panel wrote. "The court therefore may not
set aside the 2006 management plan because it fails to comply with
portions of the 2001 policies requiring the Park Service to treat the
Colorado River Corridor as wilderness or potential wilderness."

While the Court found that the NPS river plan did “not contain a specific
discussion of the amount of motorized traffic found necessary and
appropriate for public use and enjoyment of the Corridor” the Court “will
uphold a decision of less than ideal clarity if the agency’s path may
reasonably be discerned.”

Marc Ross, President of the non-profit Rock the Earth, notes “While we’re
grateful that the 9th Circuit took the time to further clarify their
decision and correct the overreaching by the District Court of Arizona,
we're disappointed with the ultimate decision to not provide greater
protection or provide more equitable access to the public to such a
special place as the Grand Canyon.”

“It is our intent to continue to fight for wilderness protection of the
Grand Canyon and Colorado River corridor” noted Ross, “including the total
elimination of motors in the canyon, as has been repeatedly recommended by
the National Park Service.”

The groups deeply appreciate the encouragement and financial support of
their members, and would like to thank the thirteen organizations who
weighed in with Amicus assistance for the case.

River Runners for Wilderness, Rock the Earth, Living Rivers and Wilderness
Watch would like to express their appreciation and thanks for the legal
work on this case by Julia Olson of Wild Earth Advocates, and Matt Bishop
of Western Environmental Law Center.

John Weisheit, Conservation Director for Living Rivers, noted “Even though
the courts chose not to intervene, it is still clear there is no
convincing reason to continue motorized tour boat activity and no reason
whatsoever to maintain the present imbalance in access to the river in
Grand Canyon National Park.”

The February 1, 2010 opinion can be seen at http://www.rrfw.org/documents

George Nickas, Director of the Montana based Wilderness Watch, stated “The
court's decision places the burden of protecting wilderness in the Grand
Canyon squarely on the shoulders of the National Park Service.
Unfortunately, the NPS has consistently shown that it isn't up to the
task.”

The plaintiff groups will not appeal the latest decision, according to
RRFW Co-Director, Tom Martin.

Intervening in the case in support of motorized use and the allocation
system favoring concessionaire summertime interests were the Grand Canyon
River Outfitters Trade Association and the Grand Canyon Private Boaters
Association. A joint agreement signed by the Trade and Private Boaters
Associations in 2005 compels them to defend present concessionaire
operations despite the inequitable access and wilderness resource-damaging
nature of the river management plan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RIVERWIRE is a free service to the community of river lovers from River
Runners for Wilderness. To join, send an e-mail address to
[email protected] and we'll add it to the RRFW RIVERWIRE e-mail alerts
list.

Join RRFW's listserver to stay abreast of and participate in the latest
river issues. It's as easy as sending a blank e-mail to
[email protected].

Check out RRFW's Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki for free information on
Do-It-Yourself Grand Canyon rafting info
http://www.rrfw.org/RaftingGrandCanyon/Main_Page.

Check out new items and donate at the RRFW Store! RRFW is a non-profit
project of Living Rivers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,018 Posts
Cliff Notes Version of RRFW Press Release

Hi Tom,

An interesting press release -- one that fully proves the old adage that the longer and more elaborate the spin, the worse the problem is you're trying to explain away.

For folks who can't take the time to read all the prime documents, I'll try for the Cliff Notes version:

* RRFW lost. Lost big. Then lost bigger.

* The facts RRFW presented weren't persuasive to any of the judges.

* The legal precedents RRFW cited didn't apply, and its tactics didn't work.

* When RRFW doubled down on its appeal, it managed to get an even more legally powerful refutation of its position.

Notwithstanding all the fine quotes from your allies, one might reasonably speculate that major segments of the environmental community are pretty upset over this outcome. They now will have to deal with an even more elaborate and forceful appellate court precedent supporting agency discretion. That can't be viewed positively, no matter how it's depicted.

Put directly, RRFW's short-term tactical pursuit of its anti-commercial, anti-motor goals, has made future strategic battles against legitimately objectionable policies far harder.

Which takes me back to where many folks have been all along. This was never the way to pursue the issues of wilderness and motors on the river in the Grand Canyon. It's always been a legislative matter. Unless and until RRFW (and others, presumably) successfully musters a full court press with Congress, the current status will not change.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
930 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
GCPBA sinks paddlers hope of access to Grand Canyon

Hi Rich, while I appreciate your views on this issue, others don't see it as you do at all. The litigation decission gives the Agency leniency in planning. That said, all paddlers should take note that the commercialization and motorization of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park is 100% supported by the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association. The failure of this litigation is in part a direct outcome of the GCPBA interviening in the litigation against wilderness resource protection and equitable sumertime access to the river. Thanks for your thoughts Rich, have a great day, yours, tom
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,963 Posts
Tom,

Your statements about the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association (GCPBA) are misleading. In saying "GCPBA sinks paddlers hope of access to Grand Canyon" and that "the commercialization and motorization of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park is 100% supported by the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association" you conveniently omit the following:

1) the GCPBA has greatly increased access and

2) as a signatory to the new Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP) the GCPBA cannot legally oppose the current plan or the allocations granted under it.

There were negotiations and neither side was perfectly happy with the outcome. They shook hands, walked away and now live with, and are required to support, the current CRMP.

Despite your life-long history dealing with Grand Canyon (GC) access issues you continue to ignore the fact that if the "no motors" stance had been adopted by GCPBA and AW, the outfitters never would have come to the table. If the outfitters had not come to the table, there would have likely been no new CRMP, and private boaters would be in the same place we were 10 years ago, if not in a diminished position due to the political clout of the outfitters and other GC concessionaires.

Here's the bottom line for me:

I finally got on the Grand last March. It seems a lot more folks that have been down the Canyon since the CRMP was implemented than were going before. I was invited by permit-holding friends to go on two different trips this spring, during non-motor season, and I could conceivably go again next fall if things work out for me.

From what I can see, the new CRMP is not perfect but it has significantly increased access to the GC for private boaters.

You write great guidebooks, are doubtless a skilled boatman, and I hope you are able to spend the rest of your days enjoying Western rivers.

Please don't insult the intelligence of the boating community with your forced congeniality and misleading statements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
930 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hi Andy, while I appreciate your thoughts and am glad you personally are getting invited to participate in Grand Canyon river trips, that is a far cry from getting your own permit. We will agree to disagree on what could have happened had the GCPBA not sold out.

The river outfitters trade association themselves admitted they would have to accept big changes on the river they would not like unless they could get get a small group of consituents together to agree to what the river concessionaires wanted. See

http://rrfw.org/sites/default/files/documents/Update_on_Various_CRMP_Matters.pdf

for supporting documentation.

We do not know what would have happened if the GCPBA had not entered into a ten year agreement with the river concessionaires. You and a lot more do it yourself river runners may have had even better access to the summertime river experience.

You can see the agreement here:

http://www.gcpba.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=50&Itemid=28

Finally, we don't know what would have happened had the GCPBA not intervened in the recent litigation seeking better self guided access to a wilderness river in Grand Canyon National Park.

Finally, I saw a great quote today you might ponder...

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

All the best, tom
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,963 Posts
Nice zinger, Tom.

Here are some ideas for you:

The CRMP negotiated by GCPBA and AW increased annual GC private boater user day allocation from about 58,000 to about 113,400 user days, and private trips increased from about 250 to about 500 trips yearly. The commercial outfitters' allocation remained about constant. The idea here is that nearly twice as many user days and trips are available to private boaters now, thanks largely to the efforts of the GCPBA and AW.

For the private boating community to clearly understand the ideas and concepts about how the situation played out, they should know the truth about the situation. The idea here is that statements such as "GCPBA sinks paddlers hope of access to Grand Canyon" mislead the boating community by the sensationalist implication that private boaters' GC allocation is being diminished due to the failure of RRFW's lawsuit. Private boaters have exactly the same number of user days and launches in the Grand Canyon as we did before the RRFW lawsuit was decided.

The judges deciding RRFW's suit did not agree with a single charge made by RRFW. The idea here is that stating RRFW's failure in the case is due to the GCPBA's intervention seems a bit far-fetched.

A victory for RRFW could have caused the current CRMP to be thrown out and the process started all over again. The idea here is that in a renegotiation of the CRMP, there is no guarantee that the additional private boaters' allocation gained under the CRMP would have been preserved for private boaters, much less expanded into the outfitter's prime season. This is especially true considering that private boaters have not been using their full allocation of launches gained under the CRMP.

In the eyes of potential adversaries at the negotiating table when the CRMP comes up for its 10-year review, the RRFW lawsuit makes the entire private boating community appear fractured and incoherent at best. At worst, we appear incompetent and unwilling to abide by an agreement in which we are widely perceived as the big winners by nearly doubling our user day and launch allocation. The idea here is that RRFW's lawsuit and dogged antagonism of the GCPBA for "selling out" weakens the chances of success in future negotiations for private boaters.

When the CRMP comes up for its 10-year review, if the private boaters' allocation is challanged by the opposing parties the private boating community will likely need to be well organized and able to commit significant resources to the effort. The idea here is that RRFW's bitter contentiousness and misrepresentation of its minority constituency's chances for success distracts the community, drains our financial and energetic resources, and poisons goodwill among the boating community.

-AH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,018 Posts
Hard to Improve on What Andy Has Been Saying

Hi,

The subtitle says it all. But I would add a couple of things to clarify....

GCPBA is not a signator to the CRMP itself, which is a stand-alone government document. GCPBA was party to a four-way submission to the Park, which contained core elements of the compromise that allowed the CRMP to be finalized. In a separate agreement, it pledged -- along with the other submitting parties -- to support the CRMP and not squabble with each other about the CRMP's terms.

And also, nothing GCPBA ever signed on to required it to defend against the RRFW lawsuit. GCPBA did so because it thought the CRMP represented a reasonable advance of private boater interests, and provided a foundation for further, calibrated improvements over time.

So... Instead of a 3-page decision with the lower court ruling as an appendix, RRFW managed to inspire the Ninth Circuit to issue 35 pages of a ruling that strengthened land management agencies in their future discretion. Tom will go a long way to avoid letting people thinking about it in these terms. But RRFW’s persistence in twice pressing a bad set of facts and inapplicable law all the way to the Appeals Court, means that future challenges to government action are going to be more difficult.

It's not GCPBA's fault that he didn't properly anticipate the consequences of the Government prevailing, or that GCPBA would defend a plan it helped originate, or how dangerous it was to twice appeal a lower court decision that so clearly showed his lawsuit was baseless.

Sorry for not being able to adequately explain this more succinctly. And again, I'm writing as a former GCPBA board member, and my views expressed here are not intended to represent those of GCPBA or its Board.

Hope this helps a bit in understanding the background of this important case. Best to you all.

Rich Phillips

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
It would be great to have no motors, but that's what people have time for, and having more people see the canyon is what protects it. On my trip last summer, we got buzzed by a couple pontoon rigs but they motored past and were out of our hair shortly. Compare that with the political voice of thousands of people who had the trip of a lifetime on a J-rig or S-rig or whatever and I'll take the relative minimal impact of a 4-stroke outboard.

I would love to see RRFW put the same effort and intensity into getting the Green River through Deso designated wilderness - the relative impact would be far greater than a river that is already in a National Park.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
930 Posts
50-50? Please...

Hi Andy, while the GCPBA and river concessionaires trade association and AW all said it's 50-50, it's not any such thing...

The 2006 CRMP allows about 14,385 concessions passengers in the summer months and 2,270 do-it-yourselfers in the same summer months. That's not 50-50.

That's 476 commercial launches of up to 32 people compaired to 123 trips of 16 folks or less and 62 trips of 8 folks or less. That's not 50-50 either.

In the winter, when there are no concessions passengers, there are roughly 1,855 do-it-yourself river runners on 120 river trips.

Cites above 2006 ROD pg 3

This 50-50 is like saying we'll get the middle of the road and you get the shoulders. Or, we'll take the top of the cake with the icing, you get the bottom.

Yes, the river concessions knew full well they would fracture the boating community with the agreement. Did you read the agreement? I'll post the link again. Do you think going after your organizations members who do not support the plan helps the boating comminity?

To quote the agreement: "The Parties will use their best efforts to discourage their respective members from engaging in any activities that would, if undertaken by the Parties, be inconsistent with the Joint Recommendations and the terms of this Agreement."

Here's the link:

http://www.gcpba.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=50&Itemi d=28

Yes, this has split the boating community, just as we said it would when we first accidentally heard about it and let GCPBA memebrs know about it. Remember, the GCPBA never announced the agreement to thier members. To say this split in the river community is RRFW's fault is missing the point, like saying the numbers above are 50-50.

Rich seems to think the National Park would not have come up with a plan if the GCPBA had not made an agreement with the Trade Association. That's rediculous. Remember, the NPS wanted to start changing allocation based on real people wanting real launches, but that was dropped after the agrement came out.

Rich and I disagree on this as well. The 9th Circuit decission, while still unfortunate, was actually much better than the District Court's even worse decission.

We will have to move forward on this issue, but the GCPBA is in a ten year holding pattern now, while the rest of us try to move the issues inequitable access to and motorization of the Grand Canyon forward. THE Grand Canyon, of all places, deserves much better.

Yours, Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,099 Posts
It would be great to have no motors, but that's what people have time for, and having more people see the canyon is what protects it.
So the ugly bulldozed heliport and the noisy back-to-back flights hauling the commercial dudes out are protecting the Canyon?

Pretzel logic, at best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
The NPS has always skewed river access in the Grand Canyon strongly in favor of the commercial outfitters. A friend of mine from collage is the person in charge of permitting commercial and private groups. (Sadly this has never helped me draw a permit) I asked him why it was so difficult for private groups to pull a permit. His response was that he has been strictly instructed to make sure that commercial groups got the majority of the permits and to keep permit distribution to private parties at a minimum. The simple fact being that the government makes much more money from commercial groups.

As far as the motorized traffic goes, I could personally care less. From my point of view they come by and are gone so quickly that it doesn't bother me. Same goes for dirt bikes or snow mobiles in the back country - the momentary noise passes quickly. Public lands are supposed to be multiple use after all. It is not for anyone to say one form of recreation should have more priority or be banned over another form of recreation. That is my problem with Wilderness Areas (or land of no use). I have witnessed them proliferate around my area in my lifetime and with them I have seen the once used trials fall into disrepair and non use. Jobs in the timber and mineral industries lost along with a down turn in tourism as a result of these lands no longer being accessible by mechanical means. Deer and Elk populations become unsustainable due to lack of access for hunters and susceptible to starvation and disease. In my opinion land of no use does no one any good. Good stewardship of the land does not mean wilderness areas or a free for all of commercial utilization. It is a balance of using the resources while protecting them - something America sadly seems to struggle with.

While I would like to see a somewhat more even distribution of private to commercial permitting, I don't think it will happen. The government is too greedy and private groups can not match the easy monetary gains guaranteed by the commercial groups.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
So the ugly bulldozed heliport and the noisy back-to-back flights hauling the commercial dudes out are protecting the Canyon?

Pretzel logic, at best.
Dinosaur was saved from a dam because the Hatch family and the Sierra Club got people down the river - often with motors. Marble Canyon was saved from a dam because enough people knew about the canyon that they wanted to protect it.
There is a reasonable push being made right now by a small subset of the water buffalos to remove Glen Canyon dam because of the evaporative loss of having two half-empty lakes rather than one full one. If everyone who was helicoptered out believes that Grand Canyon is a resource worth protecting, there's that much more pressure on USBR to pull the plug. So, yeah, I think higher volumes of tourists is a good thing - especially if it gets me to float through Glen Canyon some day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,018 Posts
A friend of mine from collage is the person in charge of permitting commercial and private groups. (Sadly this has never helped me draw a permit) I asked him why it was so difficult for private groups to pull a permit. His response was that he has been strictly instructed to make sure that commercial groups got the majority of the permits and to keep permit distribution to private parties at a minimum. The simple fact being that the government makes much more money from commercial groups.
Hi BackCountry,

I'm sure a lot of folks here would like to know about how that works, when there is a fixed, published allocation between private and commercial groups, and a lottery to assign private launches. Not to mention that whole system has just gone through three Federal court reviews.

[Now, inserting my tongue firmly in cheek.]

You can do something really historic here, because this is a situation both Tom Martin and I could heartily agree needs looking into.....

So if there is a system like that in place, by all means, tell us more. Off-list. Using an anonymizer. Through an Uzbekistanian server, routed via Bulgaria and Argentina. We'll protect your identity. Just tell us how....

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
What I have stated is really all he told me. This was before the recent change to a lottery system. I don't know how that has affected his job or how he now manages the permit allocations currently. I only speak to him these days once every few years or keep in contact with what is up through other friends. I will see if I can dig up any more information.

He did say that he was required to take a minimum of 3 (free) commercial trips down the Grand Canyon every year as part of his job to check up on the commercial outfitters. Sounded like not such a bad job - fully catered trips competing to make life as easy on you as possible for the chance at getting a larger chunk of the river access allocation...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,963 Posts
Would RRFW's plan provide more private boater user days?

Tom,

Using the number of launches, number of passengers, etc. is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Those many commercial passengers spend many fewer user days in the Canyon. The allocations are based on user days, and the current allocation of commercial to private usage is nearly 50-50.

Would I like to see the summer allocation for private boaters increased? Of course.

Do I want to go on a mid-January trip? Not really.

I'll admit, I'm not totally thrilled with the scheduling of the private boaters' allocation, however I am glad that there's much greater allocation, particularly in the shoulder seasons when motors aren't allowed and the temperatures are below 110 degrees in the shade.

Its my understanding that RRFW's main goal in their lawsuit was to get the GC basically declared a wilderness and thus implement a ban on motorized travel. This would mean that all commercial trips would be oar powered, with many more commercial boatmen supporting trips lasting about 14 - 18 days just like private oar trips in summer. From what I understand, computer modeling using the GC Trip Simulator program revealed that under a "no motor" scenario, the pre-CRMP user day allocations would need to have been even further reduced to minimize the contact between trips and achieve an acceptable experience under Park guidelines. This is because, instead of passing by in 5 minutes, commercial trips would much more slowly pass by, and would be in view of private trips for a much longer period, thus making the river seem much more crowded. The idea here is that, had RRFW prevailed in their lawsuit, the user day allocations, including summer, would have been significantly reduced from the pre-CRMP level of about 58,000, rather than increased to about 113,400 user days as in the current CRMP.

The GC would be a wilderness, yes, but there would be a substantially decreased number of people allowed to go enjoy that experience than there were even before the new CRMP allocations.

If you can tell us whether RRFW's plan would provide more private boater user days throughout the year than the current CRMP we're all ears.

-AH

On a related note, someone recently asked the question on the GCPBA email list about the organization's position on motors. Brady Black of Moenkoepi had this response:


From: gcpba-at-yahoogroups.com On Behalf Of brady black
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2010 3:04 PM
To: gcpba gcpba
Subject: RE: [gcpba] GCPBA position on Motors, Wildnerness and User Allocation

Tough questions, and answers,

If idealogy was the question who wouldn't jump on the "wilderness" bandwagon. I'm in! Sounds Great!? I'm all about "Wilderness", I lead with my heart! But as one probes farther into the question one can see that it is a tricky subject. If one thinks that todays GC participant #'s both commercial and private are the approved NEPA, RRFW, GCPBA, NPS, GCROA, USGS, and AZRA #'s for sustainability than all we can do is argue about allocation. Year round 1% NEPA, 5%USGS, 5% NPS, 39.5% RRFW & GCPBA(Don't forget we are the same dum dums:), 39.5% GCROA. Right?

Though I don't prefer to run downstream with a motor, I do recognize the benefits of running people through the canyon in 5 days(commercial) on a motor triop with todays sustainable compromise. If people are going to willingly volunteer for a 5 day trip, in order for me to do a 16-25 day trip with 5 day bonus baby below diamond, I will willingly agree:) Unfortunately, what ideologistical groups(RRFW, ?) don't explain is, how "our wilderness" fantasy ideals will effect the public that backs them. Who wouldn't back River Runner's for Wilderness! I am certainly a river runner for wilderness:)?

If we stop the mostly commercial motor trips, that zip the public through in 5 days(saving us camps, giving us ice, and impacting us with a barely audible motor for 5 min as they pass with permagrinned brothers), and MAKE them take their equally deserving customers through the canyon in 16 days instead of 11-14? Guess how our now, low impact, more "wilderness" trip than ever(due to the equal spacing(computer model) and bump inability), trips will be? We will soon be in the beach assignment, nightmares of other rivers, or considerably decrease access! How lame is the San Juan now with beach assignment? It's not even a busy river!

If deserving(commercial) people approve of a 5 day trip down the Grand as their trip of choice? Thanks the god's is what I say! Thank the god's someone wants to pilot a motor rig as a job, and thank the god's we don't FORCE them to take 16 days or more to experience the canyon. What a nightmare. Either we would be talking about 12 day standard trips, with beach designation, like the commercials have to do, or a GIANT decrease in allocation. Computer Model that problem! 1011000011100111000111000111..... = IT WILL SUCK for us!

Zip em threw on the commercial end 5-12 days, and we'll take our time!

Can we improve the system? You bet. After we get the waitlist system fairly*** through the system, we can get a better look(it will take years, be patient) at what is actually happening. After seeing the current administrations awesome efforts as fair, and over the top cooperation, I have high hopes he will help to encourage this fair allocation to equal distribution.

***I willingly profess my guilt as a private boater who gamed the past system and placed more than 50 people on the waitlist who would never and some still don't know that they want to do a GC trip:( I'm sorry to all involved:) Knowing this, the administration did a valiant effort as providing the waitlist a fair and equitable chance at a trip. Thanks for all you do. It's easy to coin "the man" in charge of allocation but actually it is a bunch of hardworking underpaid folks like Linda Jalbert, Shioshanya, etc. that STRUGGLE to provide us with a great wilderness trip.

Though I personally don't prefer motor trips, I think it's a great way to KEEP THE WILDERNESS!

Brady
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
tried, but could not let backcountry's quote about dirt bikes and snowmobiles slip by.
while I also do not get bothered personally by motorcycles and snowmobiles in the backcountry, the problem is the damage they do, not the inconvenience they pose to other users. I am sure that many feel strongly about having their backcountry experience diluted/disturbed by these motorized vehicles, and I understand where they are coming from, i just try and not let it bother me personally. But, no one can argue that they do damage to wilderness areas, and that some of those users couldn't give 2 craps about the signage explaining where they can and can not go. There is plenty of room for everyone, and plenty of designated space for motors, but I feel the motors should be kept out of the wilderness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Re: Motors in the wilderness

It is true that a small percentage of dirk bikes, ATV's, and snowmobiles in 'wilderness areas' tear them up - often causing ugly and highly visual scars on the land. However so long as we are talking about 4 stroke outboard motors attached to J-Rigs and their ilk we don't need to worry about most of the same consequences. Forrest meadows are quickly destroyed by Dirt Bikes and ATV's, but water is only minimally affected by a passing motor.

Wilderness designation also bans bicycles. This has baffled me for a long time. Is the impact of a mountain bike greater than that of a hiker? I enjoy riding my mountain bike through the wilderness and my tire track is no greater impact than a foot print.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
930 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Your post touches on the problems...

Hi Andy, your note that you don't want to raft GC in mid January and you would like to see the summertime allocation increased, and that is exactly my point.

As RRFW has all along pointed out, a modified B alternative, somewhere between B amd C, has the potential to greatly increasing self guided river access year round, would balance trip starts and number of people off the ramp in the summer, all with decreased motorized use.

For everyone who says the motorized tour boats come and go, they pass us by, well yes, and they pull into the camp you were headed for. And they increase congestion at attraction sites.

The computer model was based on data from a motorized summer access plan. As the model was pushed to run motor-free scenarios, the model itself begain to fail.

The GC is managed by the NPS. The RRFW litigation goals were clearly identified in the litigation. We were and still are going to be looking for ways to increase self-guided trips in the summer and decrease the use of motorized equipment on the river in the summer. The legal tool never was intended to get the river declaired a wilderness. That is Congresses job. The NPS is suposed to manage the river for its wilderness character, and the courts have said they can do a poor job of that if they want to. They have been doing that for some time.

The NPS admits the apples to apples comparison is in trip launches. We argue it's in trip launches of similar group sizes. Given the present imbalance in the distribution of both launches and groups size, we have a long way to go.

We can't just keep on increasing use on the Colorado in Grand Canyon. At one point we will start to have to look at redistribution of the available use. The NPS came up with a good first step at doing this, but the GCPBA and outfitters trade group scuttled that idea, for now anyway.

These issues, as you point out, are not rsoloved and are not going away anytime soon.

All the best, Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
There are always bad apples with any group. This is one of the reasons rafters have a conflict with private land owners. Any group can cause impact. I see the damage done by mountain bikers to be equal to or surpass that of dirt bikers. The thin tires dig deeper trenches in the trail - the dirt bikes smooth and widen the trails. Locally where I live, the mountain bikers tend to cut many more trails and give back little in maintenance of these trails. Dirt bike and ATV users must pay a fee that is used locally to improve the trails and re-rout or fix the wet areas of the trails so the scarring caused in these areas are kept to a minimum. Neither is allowed in wilderness areas. ATV riders going on single tracks cause immense damage. All of the above riding wet trails or cutting new braids in the trails have serious impact. Some of the worse damage I have seen comes for horse back riders in wilderness areas. Heavily used horse trails become wide swaths of mud and almost impassable to hikers. ALL USES IMPACT OTHER USES. People simply need to be educated to take care of the land no matter what their choice of recreation is. The self centered "it's all about me, I could care less about anyone or anything else" philosophy that permeates all of America is the root to our problems.

Having 4 stroke outboards push paying tourists down the Grand Canyon is a mild inconvenience that I can live with. They pass by quickly and introduce more people to the sport. People who would previously think nothing of water diversions or private land owners closing access to rivers may remember their guided raft trip and support keeping the waters flowing for public use.

In my opinion the motor issue should be put on the back burner and focus should be on a somewhat more equitable distribution of permits for river access.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,200 Posts
Well I just had to chime on the the lies or misinformation about snowmachines.. The bunny hugger types just love to put out flat out lies or other misinformation about snowmachines...

On normal snowpack a snowmachine puts less lbs per sq in of pressure on the ground than your mtn bike or footprint for that matter.. This is a true statement backed my many independent studies.. It is also fair to say and studies have proven that the average mtn biker has more impact on the ground than the average snowmachine.. This is why snowmachines can ride the same terrain year in and year out with no, nada, or zero impact on the ground (again many studies back this up).. This is not true of any other type of recreation.. Even walkin in has more impact on the ground.....

If you dont like motors stay in a wilderness as there are no motors there.... And agian if you cant find a wilderness here in colorado pm me and I will send you a map to all of them but then again I bet most bunny hugger types are not lookin for one........

From where I sit I think the best way to keep a wilderness a wilderness would be NO HUMANS for any reason in a wilderness area as we are the ones who have the impact and it we as humans will no doubt screw it up..

Sorry for the hijack of the thread but the misinformation presented about snowmachines got me to speak up..

Also thanks for the info about the Grand interesting..
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top