Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent,
Joseph F. Alston, today announced the availability of the draft
environmental impact statement (EIS) to revise the Colorado River
Management Plan (CRMP) for Grand Canyon National Park. The National
Park Service prepared the draft EIS for the CRMP under the provisions
of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Alston also
announced that NPS would hold seven public meetings around the
country to provide a comprehensive public review of the report.
Publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register on October
8, 2004 initiates a 90-day public review and comment period. Comments
on the draft EIS can be submitted following publication of the
NOA and will be accepted through January 7, 2005.
A complete copy of the draft EIS can be downloaded at www.nps.gov/grca/crmp
A CD with the complete document can be ordered online at the same
“This portion of the Colorado River is one of the longest
stretches of navigable white water on earth, and one of the world’s
premier river experiences,” Alston said. “Producing
a draft EIS was a complex undertaking, and I am proud of all the
hard work our park staff put into preparing this report. The document
provides a comprehensive analysis of the river’s recreational
use, and we are recommending some innovative alternatives to balance
all the diverse management objectives.”
The proposed CRMP is a visitor use management plan that specifies
actions to preserve park resources while providing recreational
opportunities in the river corridor. The plan is designed to cover
the next decade, and will also establish goals and objectives
for a longer timeframe.
For the draft EIS, the Colorado River is divided into two geographic
sections with a specific set of alternatives, including preferred
alternatives, for each section:
1. One section covers Lees Ferry (River Mile 0) to Diamond Creek
(River Mile 226), where the majority of commercial and private
river trips start and end. A no-action alternative was analyzed
as well as seven alternatives.
2. One section covers the Lower Gorge from Diamond Creek (River
Mile 226) to Lake Mead (River Mile 277). This is a transitional
area, starting in a primitive setting and ending in the more urban
recreational setting of Lake Mead. It is handled cooperatively
with the Hualapai Tribe and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
This is the first management plan for the Lower Gorge, where the
situation has been complicated by drought conditions impacting
downstream boat and passenger take-out options. A no-action alternative
was studied as well as four alternatives.
Alternative H is the preferred alternative for the Lees Ferry
to Diamond Creek section, providing six months of mixed motorized
use and a six-month no-motor period (September through February).
Of all the alternatives, it achieves the best balance between
group size, trip length, launches per day, the total number of
trips and people on the river at one time, and impacts on park
resources. It has the highest total user-days and passengers in
the summer, but one of the lowest total user-days and passengers
the rest of the year. Commercial operators would have the same
total user days as they currently do during the high use period
of March through October. Non-commercial users would have more
user-days and passengers than in any other alternative. Alternative
H is one of the best alternatives for protecting park resources.
Alternative 4 is the preferred alternative for the Lower Gorge
section (Diamond Creek to Lake Mead). This option increases the
overall operations while reducing group size for all Hualapai
River Runner trips. It also reduces pontoon boat operations from
current levels. It spreads the trips out over a longer period
of time to eliminate a peak use pattern, and includes the development
of three new campsites for Hualapai use.
NPS will host a series of public meetings to receive comments
about the draft EIS in each of the following seven cities, Las
Vegas, Nevada; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Phoenix,
Arizona; San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C; and Flagstaff,
Arizona. The NPS anticipates announcing the public meeting schedule
in early October.
Comments on the draft EIS can be submitted any one of the following
* Mail to CRMP Project, Grand Canyon National Park, P.O. Box 129,
Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023;
* Through the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grca/crmp
* Fax to CRMP project at 928-638-7797;
* Hand-deliver to Grand Canyon National Park; or
* Provide comments at one of the seven public meetings.
A summary of the scoping process and planning materials are available
on the Internet at www.nps.gov/grca/crmp