January 25, 2005
GROUPS FORMERLY AT ODDS SETTLE DIFFERENCES
Flagstaff, AZ Today, leading Grand Canyon boater groups that represent both professionally-outfitted and self-outfitted recreational users of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park announced an historic agreement to work together to resolve long-standing river management controversies at the Grand Canyon.
The coalition of participating groups, including the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association, American Whitewater and the Grand Canyon River Runners Association, has filed a set of joint management recommendations with the National Park Service regarding how best to revise and update the Colorado River Management Plan.
View the groups' joint recommendations here.
"A lot of people have worked very hard for many years to achieve
this historic breakthrough,” said Richard Martin of the Grand Canyon
Private Boaters Association. “This is a major achievement that we
hope will help bring about real and lasting solutions to some very difficult
problems that Grand Canyon river lovers on all sides have wrestled with
The groups' core recommendations are for a small number of important modifications
of the National Park Service river management proposal currently open for
public review and comment. The groups are building on the NPS proposal,
not proposing an entirely new plan or concept. The recommendations include
equal annual allocations of commercial and non-commercial use, support for
the park's proposal to continue with an appropriate type and level of motorized
use, seasonal adjustments that would result in fewer river trips happening
at one time, and improvements to the non-commercial river trip permitting
"This effort succeeded because people on all sides
wanted to move past endless controversy and divisiveness to find real solutions
to real problems. It's time to heal and reunite the Grand Canyon boating
community," said Jason Robertson of American Whitewater. "To do
that, each of the groups has been willing to compromise and look at issues
in new ways. There's still a long way to go, but we're excited because we
think we're off to a good start."
The groups' joint recommendations filed with the NPS state in part: "The
joint recommendations are the product of what we regard as a major and historic
achievement, the coming together of Grand Canyon river user groups that
traditionally have been embroiled in deep conflict regarding core Colorado
River management issues. We have worked very hard to move beyond past differences.
Our united purposes are to constructively participate in and support the
NPS in its effort to advance Grand Canyon river management and, most importantly,
to meaningfully resolve major outstanding controversies. Our shared focus
is on problem solving and the implementation of sound, responsible and lasting
solutions to outstanding issues."
"We hope very much
that the NPS will take a good hard look at our proposal," said Pam
Whitney of the Grand Canyon River Runners Association. "We've worked
hard to respond not only to the issues but to all of the NPS laws and policies
that govern how the river in Grand Canyon National Park is managed. We’ve
taken these matters very seriously, and we believe we’ve come up with
a very responsible set of recommendations."
The groups' joint Colorado River management recommendations document is
available on each of the participating groups' websites. The website addresses
for each are listed below.
The Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association (www.gcroa.org)
is a non profit trade association whose membership consists of the sixteen
independent river-running concessionaires who make available to the public
professionally-outfitted and guided Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trips,
while working in partnership with the NPS to help conserve and protect the
resources of the Park. Each year, the Association’s member companies
assist roughly 19,000 people experience the Grand Canyon by river.
The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association (www.gcpba.org)
is a non-profit public interest group formed in 1996. Its purpose is to
represent and advocate for the interests of recreational river runners in
regards to management issues surrounding the Grand Canyon. More than one
thousand river runners have joined the all-volunteer organization, which
played a key role in NPS decisions to resume river management planning after
the effort was first cancelled in 2000.
is a non-profit public interest group that works to conserve and restore
America’s whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to use
and enjoy them safely. American Whitewater represents nearly 8,000 members
worldwide and an additional 80,000 boaters through its 115 local or regional
affiliate canoe and kayak clubs. Many of its members have visited or seek
to visit the Colorado River within the Park and are currently on the non-commercial
The Grand Canyon River Runners Association (www.gcriverrunners.org)
is a non-profit public interest group committed to the protection of the
Colorado River corridor within the Grand Canyon in an unimpaired condition
while preserving public access to the Grand Canyon river experience for
those who rely on professional river services. Because both are necessary
to appropriately respond to the public’s diverse needs, this all-volunteer
organization with 1,800 members supports both motorized and non-motorized
Colorado River trip opportunities.
On October 1, 2004, the National Park Service released their draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of their ongoing Colorado River Management Plan revision process. This draft of the plan includes the agency's proposal for how to manage the Colorado River corridor within the Grand Canyon for perhaps the next decade or more. It also includes the agency's analysis of several other possible river management alternatives.
The release of the draft CRMP EIS initiated a public review and comment period that will run through February 1, 2005. This is the public's major opportunity to express its views about the NPS proposal via a letter, fax, or the internet.
To view an archive of previous GCRRA and NPS news releases, click here.
Grand Canyon National Park News Release
For Immediate Release
NATIONAL PARK EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT
PERIOD ON DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
TO REVISE COLORADO RIVER MANAGEMENT PLAN
Comment Period Extended Until February 1, 2005
Canyon National Park Superintendent, Joseph F. Alston, today announced
an extension of the comment period on the draft environmental
impact statement (EIS) to revise the Colorado River Management
Plan (CRMP) for Grand Canyon National Park. The timeframe has
been extended from January 7, 2005 to February 1, 2005.
"Given the complexity of the document and the intense level
of interest, we felt it was best to extend the comment period
until February 1," Alston said. "This will give everyone
additional time to study the draft and provide us with the most
substantive comments possible."
The National Park Service prepared the draft EIS for the CRMP
under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act
of 1969. The initial 90-day public comment period began on October
8, 2004, with publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register.
This extension will be announced in the Federal Register as well.
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
During the past two months, seven public meetings were conducted
to receive comments about the draft EIS. The meetings were held
in Las Vegas, Nevada; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah;
Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C;
and Flagstaff, Arizona.
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.
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; or
• Hand-deliver to Grand Canyon National Park
A summary of the scoping process and planning materials are also
available on the Internet at www.nps.gov/grca/crmp.
For further information on this planning process, please contact
Rick Ernenwein at 928-779-6279, or Mary Killeen at 928-638-7885.
- NPS -
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