The GCRRA was created in large part because its founding members came to realize that some individuals and organizations were advocating the reduction or even elimination of reasonable public access to the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon for those who depend on the National Park Service’s licensed river concessioners.
In November 2005, after years of work and the collection and analysis of large amounts of scientific information and public input, the National Park Service published a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the new Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP). In March 2006 the Record of Decision (ROD) was published.
GCRRA particpated actively in the public input process, attending all the consultative forums and submitting an extensive written response to the draft plan. Many of our requirements were met by the revised CRMP. A few days after the publication of the ROD, a lawsuit was filed challenging the new plan. This lawasuit has among its purposes the elimination of motorized travel on the river and incrasing the share of user days allocated to non-commerical boaters. If successful, the suit would have drastic consequences for the future of commercially provided river services in the future.
We are dedicated to conserving the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon for future generations to use and enjoy responsibly while protecting the public’s rights of access to this unique and irreplaceable natural wonder. We urge you to learn about the issues that may impact your ability to experience the Grand Canyon by river.
Please see our Take Action page to learn more about what you can do right now. Additional information about these and other issues and what is at stake is available on our Facts
& Figures and Resource Materials
Since the early 1970’s, recreational use of the Colorado River corridor within the Grand Canyon had been necessarily limited by the National Park Service. This was done to protect the resource from harm and to ensure the quality of the visitor experience.
Human visitation to the river has been quantified and controlled by a “user-day” system. One person on the river for a day equals one user-day. The NPS allocates the fixed Colorado River recreational user-day allotment between two user groups.
Those who depend on or desire the services of a licensed river outfitter are referred to as professionally-outfitted or commercial boaters. Those who wish to run a trip on their own are known as self-outfitted, non-commercial, or private boaters.
The new Colorado Management Plan increases the total available user days, and estimates a 50/50 split between commercial and non-commercial users.
GCRRA’s purpose is to defend and promote the interests of those individuals and families who fall within the professionally-outfitted or commercial user sector, which we believe constitutes the vast majority substantially more than even 68% of those wishing to visit the Grand Canyon by river.
For more information about the Grand Canyon allocation issue, please go here.
Wilderness / Motors
A second threat to the public’s ability to visit and enjoy Grand Canyon’s Colorado River comes from those who seek to ban the historic use of low-powered environmentally friendly outboard motors on recreational river trips running in this area.
Motorized use is essential, however, in order to maintain a reasonable level of public access to the Grand Canyon river experience, of a type accessible to most visitors from across America and from around the world.
Motor trips take about one week on average, as opposed to the two weeks for non-motorized full canyon trips. If each visitor spends twice the amount of time in the canyon (causing average user-days per person to rise), because of the fixed user-day cap, substantially fewer river trip opportunities will be available to the general public using outfitted services in any given year.
This is especially true because today, three out of four professionally-outfitted visitors depend on motorized watercraft to make their trip possible. This use pattern clearly reflects strong public demand for the motorized trip option.
GCRRA supports the continuation of motorized recreational use on the Colorado River, of the appropriate type and level. This is the only way to ensure that a reasonable level of public access to the very special Grand Canyon river experience continues now and in the future.
Please go here for more information about this very important issue.
River Trip Diversity
GCRRA supports the continuation of the full range and diversity of professionally-outfitted river trip types and styles historically made available under NPS regulation of the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon.
Today, as has been the case for the last three decades, individuals and families can choose from a full range of Grand Canyon river trip lengths or durations, group sizes, watercraft type, itineraries, and interpretive or educational emphasis. A huge range of specialty trips are also available.
We believe that the reasonable boundaries established by the recently revised Colorado Management Plan have, for hte most part, preserved public choices and options.