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Wonder if its the same Nels that I meet down there in 98 running a motor rig science trip? The age is about right. Buddy has some pretty funny stories about him from previous trips.
 

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I know Nels from my Moab days. The man is a renaissance man of the outdoors.

Would be interesting to know the entire story but sucks if they were collecting firewood out of season and dumping refuse into the river. Commercial guides are normally held to higher social standard and at a bare minimum should follow the basic, well-established rules and be stewards of the land. Was never a river guide myself but that was the standard we had in the other fields I was commercially operating.

Phillip
 

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What is refuse? That's what they don't tell you. My guess is that is wasn't Tin cans and plastic, but more like coffee grounds and leftover spaghetti. Of course I am just speculating. No excuse for taking firewood unless it were for an emergency. Not much wood down there since what '63?
 

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Was curious myself so I made sure to use the same language the article did so as not to speculate.

Its pretty obvious GCNP prohibits dumping any material in the river other than dish/hand washing water and urine. That said, its my understanding that its common enough for some "organics", like coffee grounds, to go into the stream. We could likely debate the finer points and merits of that approach but that is neither here nor there regarding policy and law. Either way the park service and courts were in agreement.

Harvesting wood out of season? That one should be fined as we all know going in the objective standards and expectations. Bring your own wood or a propane fire kit.

Phillip
 

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Can someone elaborate on the driftwood issue? Is it just a matter of changing the natural appearance of the place? What am I missing here?

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Limited input because of the dam means that limiting the season of use is necessary.

My understanding is that its more ecological as woody debris is a major component of a functioning riparian system. Even during the winter you are prohibited from taking anything above the high tidal line (if my memory serves me properly). Since the NPS is charged with resource protection as much as visitor experience they have to find a balance in usage.

Phillip
 

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I did some trips with USGS and the driftwood down there plays a significant role in habitat for fish and insects. You would be shocked at how low key and significant the science is that goes on down there. You may float past a drift wood
Pile and never notice it in an eddy, but if you took a close look, you may find an antenna or wire hanging in the water, and sticks tied together to create shade beneath the surface. It's pretty incredible, but due to the dam, no irregular or seasonal floods
And little pine wood from the high country. Therefore another example of side effects downstream including as I mentioned, insect habitat and fish eggs habitat. It all ties together, debris, sediment, viscosity, water temp. There's really no wood down there compared to what was Predambrian era and there's a lot of govt funds invested in protecting the few native fish left, as well as the bats.
 

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Nels is a good old timer, have done a few trips with him on the southwestern rivers. Bummer he got fined for collecting firewood. As AMV48 stated, I too, have done Science trips and have created "drift wood rafts" tied to shore to study the effects the "shade" plays on the fish and the aquatic/terrestrial invertebrates. Refuse is questionable. You may think plastic, DO's and what not, but it can be food scraps. The issue is there is a different train of thought between the commercial guides, privates and the scientists. The river has been depleted from many nutrients that the fish need, so there is nothing wrong with throwing food into the rio as long as it doesn't float. (or at least thats what many food based scientists think). Bleach and soap goes in the river.
 

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The courts convicted him and fined him for bad behavior from breaking the law.

He knew better. Dumping leftovers in the river isn't the end of the world per se. But it's not right, and he knew that. Burning driftwood out of season is also inexcusable.

A person with his background has no excuse to set such a bad example for the other trip participants.

He can kiss my ass, and so can any of his boater defenders...could care less if you boated with him in 1974. He's plenty old enough to set the right example.

Sounds like his douche bag etiquette and whatever else, got his ass turned in from other Bounty trip members. Good for them.



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Nels is a good old timer, have done a few trips with him on the southwestern rivers. Bummer he got fined for collecting firewood. As AMV48 stated, I too, have done Science trips and have created "drift wood rafts" tied to shore to study the effects the "shade" plays on the fish and the aquatic/terrestrial invertebrates. Refuse is questionable. You may think plastic, DO's and what not, but it can be food scraps. The issue is there is a different train of thought between the commercial guides, privates and the scientists. The river has been depleted from many nutrients that the fish need, so there is nothing wrong with throwing food into the rio as long as it doesn't float. (or at least thats what many food based scientists think). Bleach and soap goes in the river.
I tend to agree on the merits of food scraps in the river but the key is its still against policy and that is clear every time you launch.

Out of curiosity and for clarification...are you "bummed" he was collecting wood or bummed he was fined for doing it?

Phillip
 

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My memory from a trip a few years ago is that there is no wood collection year around. Really see very little driftwood and collecting firewood results in going up into the riparian zone. That’s what a group from Eastern Europe was doing on my last trip.
 

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There is a season in which driftwood collections is allowed ( Nov 1 to Feb 28 ) and there are places where there is a ton of wood to draw from. Wood collection about the current high water line (i.e. current tidal range) is prohibited.
This all can be found on page 16 of the noncommercial river regulations GCNP provides every party.

Phillip
 

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Sounds like this guy got a bigger punishment than the guy up in Ouray whose illegal tire dump led to thousands of tires being washed into the Uncompahgre and cost the state $500,000.
 

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Been a couple years since I floated the GC and checked into the regulations.

But, if memory correct a strainer is to be used for all dish water etc type water tossed in the river. I know this use of a strainer is standard procedure for every western river trip I have been on. The contents of the strainer are then put in the trash rocket box. I don't remember ever seeing a regulation allowing boaters to toss food, coffee ground, what ever into the river. IE I think strained dish water and pee is all the materials you can legally dump in the river.

Is this in line with what you veteran GC boaters understand?
 

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Hi,

Extracted from the non-commercial regulations (the all caps words are that way in the original.)

https://npspermits.us/grandcanyon/river/pdf/Noncommercial_River_Trip_Regulations.pdf

"A. REFUSE


Cans, rubbish and other refuse MAY NOT BE DISCARDED IN THE WATER OR ALONG THE SHORE OF THE RIVER, inside canyons, trails, escape routes, or any other portions of the canyon.All refuse material must be carried out.


Deposits cannot be made at Phantom Ranch, Diamond Creek, Pearce Ferry or South Cove.Liquid garbage will be strained directly into the river through a rigid fine- mesh screen capable of holding small food particles; the solids will then be placed in garbage bags.


Crushing food and beverage cans must be done on a tarp or below the high water line in a manner that will not leave food particles, liquids, or paper on the beach.

The Trip Leader is responsible to ensure that participants properly dispose of refuse.


Tarps must be placed under food preparation and serving tables to leave the beach free of food scraps."


And,

"D. FIRES


Gas stoves (propane, white gas, etc...) with sufficient fuel for cooking are required on all trips. Charcoal briquettes maybe used for cooking.

Wood fires may be used only for warmth or aesthetics.


From March 1 through October 31, all wood MUST be carried into the canyon from an outside source. From November 1 through the end of
February, driftwood from along be beaches may be used for warming and aesthetic fires.


Gathering of wood from any standing or on-site fallen trees, dead or alive, is prohibited.


All wood fires must be contained in a metal fire pan measuring 300 square inches; the lip of the pan must be 3 inches high on all sides.


Fire pans must be elevated using manufactured legs (not rocks,
empty cans, etc.). Charcoal briquettes may be contained in fire pans 12 inches x 12 inches x 3 inches. All ash and fire residue must be carried out of the canyon. Trips launching from November 1 through the end of February must carry an approved fire pan.For the rest of the year, fire pans are required only on trips utilizing charcoal or wood fires.


Wood or charcoal fires are not allowed outside of the river corridor
beaches. Fire blankets are required for use under the fire pan for all charcoal and wood fires."

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 
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