GCPBA RiverNews 12/2/14 – Martin Litton, February 13, 1917 – November 30, 2014
John Blaustein sent out the sad news about Martin Litton’s passing, quietly in his sleep with his wife, Esther, at his side. Some of us directly had our lives greatly impacted by this man. Because of what he and others successfully did to fight proposed dams in the Grand Canyon we have a river to run today.
From Ryan Cooper of The Week:
Conservationist Martin Litton, who kept dams out of the Grand Canyon, has died at 97.
Boatman, conservationist, businessman, journalist, and political activist Martin Litton passed away yesterday at his home in Palo Alto, California. He served as a glider pilot for the Army Air Corps in the Second World War, and later worked as a journalist for Sunset magazine and the Los Angeles Times.
Environmental activism would become his lifelong passion. In 1955, he was the 185th recorded person to traverse the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, and still holds the record for oldest person to row himself down the river, from a 2004 trip he did at age 87. He also founded and operated his own river company, Grand Canyon Dories, which ran unconventional wooden boats.
He is best known for the political struggle in the 1960s over damming the Grand Canyon. Dams were one of the major vectors of pork-barrel politics in those days, and the Bureau of Reclamation had large hydroelectric dams planned at two points within the canyon. Together with David Brower, then-director of the Sierra Club, and other activists like Edward Abbey, Litton managed a successful political mobilization against the projects.
From Dave Boyce of The Almanac:
Portola Valley environmental champion Martin Litton dies.
Martin Litton of Portola Valley, California, a World War II glider pilot and a writer for Sunset magazine, was a great friend to the natural world, working tirelessly to preserve its wonders.
Mr. Litton was instrumental, for example, in preventing construction of several dams in the American West, including in the Grand Canyon and at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado, he told the Almanac for a 2012 story. He also helped foil plans that would have put transmission towers through Portola Valley to provide electricity to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, he said.
Someone else will now have to tell his stories. Mr. Litton died peacefully at his home on Bear Gulch Drive on Sunday, Nov. 30, according to his wife Esther. He was 97.
Mr. Litton came to the Peninsula in 1954 with Esther to take a job as travel editor for Sunset magazine in Menlo Park. He had acquired a reputation for nature writing with the Los Angeles Times and as an ardent defender of natural wonders. He also had a recommendation from David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, Mr. Litton said.
After residing in Menlo Park for a year and Los Altos for four years, the Littons in 1959 moved to a steep four-acre parcel in Portola Valley and built a house on the one spot suitable for construction, a house in which they stayed and raised four children, he said in the Almanac interview.
It was Mr. Litton’s idea to bring wooden dories to the Grand Canyon, and he owned a river-running business there for decades. A recent documentary of Mr. Litton’s life shows him making the case against a Grand Canyon dam by familiarizing reporters with the thrill of wild river rides in wooden dories, according to Mr. Brower.
The group “Save our Skyline,” of which he was a member, went to court in 1965, and beat back a plan by the Atomic Energy Commission to run power lines to feed the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park. “They were going to come right through here,” Mr. Litton told the Almanac, looking around Triangle Park at the corner of Alpine and Portola roads. “We beat them out of Portola Valley. They would have really been ruinous here.”
Mr. Litton continued as a champion of the environment well into his 90s. Asked about climate change, he was pessimistic. “It’s too late, too late,” he said. “It’s unbelievable that (the debate) has gone the way it has.”
What should be done? “Stop multiplying right now,” he said. A big part of the problem, he said, are religions that encourage large families and preach human subjugation of the Earth. “A lot of them aren’t reachable because they don’t care,” he said. “They don’t feel the problem in their individual lives.”
“It’s not a popular subject because it’s unpleasant,” he added. “People don’t want to hear about it (but) who’s kidding who. Global warming is here. The polar ice is breaking up.” There used to be ice in his birdbath for three or four days every winter. No longer, he said.
John Blaustein: This is a profound loss for all of us who knew and loved Martin. He lived a long and incredibly full life, and we all will miss him. His legacy will live on!
GCPBA President’s Report – October, 2014
Wally Rist, GCPBA President, has his President’s Report posted here on our website:
There is a lot of information in it, including reports of meetings with Grand Canyon National Park officials Superintendent Dave Uberuaga, River Permits Program Manager Steve Sullivan, and Chief River District Ranger Brian Bloom.
GCPBA Adaptive Management Considerations Meeting Follow Up
October 24, 2014
Permits Manager, Steve Sullivan
River District Ranger, Brian Bloom
Wilderness Planner, Linda Jalbert
CC: Superintendent, Dave Uberuaga
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Re: GCPBA Adaptive Management Considerations Meeting, Friday, October 3, 2014
Dear Steve, Brian, and Linda,
Thank you for meeting with us. We appreciate your dedication and the frank and thorough discussion of the Adaptive Management Consideration paper we had previously submitted. The meeting was very productive. I think we learned a lot from each other.
Your prompt implementation of posting up-coming lottery dates on your lottery site(our R-1, recommendation) is being well received. People are able to get a jump-start with their planning. That along with our new trip passenger exchange list https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gc_river_trip_planning/info (which we are hoping you will also post on your web site) should help in utilizing some of these last minute trip opportunities. It’s a good example of GCPBA/GCNP collaboration and cooperation to achieve something positive.
It was our impression that you would give further consideration to our discussion item D-5, adding a few small trip launches in March and October. In that vein you were going to send us the TAOTs for the different seasons and/or the criteria used as the guiding principles for river use during those seasons. We look forward to getting this information so that we can further explore this concept with you.
You mentioned you still had concerns about our discussion item D-6, which is closely related to the exceeding of TAOTS (60) in early May and results from the shorter trips over taking the longer ones. If we understood correctly, you felt there were only two options to alleviate this situation. The first was a few shorter trips in April swapped for some longer trips in early September, as previously considered publicly. The second was the elimination of, say 3 late spring trips with the addition of 3 trips in early September. As you know, the trip length swap concept was not well received by a number of boaters. Our initial reaction to the 3 trip swap was that it too would probably not be well received by a number of boaters. We did give both alternatives considerable consideration at our board meeting and concluded that neither option would not be well received by some sectors. Neither was less unappealing. We will give it further consideration as, I am sure you will as well. We of course realize that this is an issue where no solution will be without vocal objections.
We liked your “front loading” concept as a method to fill unused trips. Further discussion at our board meeting confirmed that we would support its implementation.
The possibility of allowing someone to appear as a PATL on someone’s application as well as applying for his own permit met with mixed opinions. We could not reach a conclusion on its overall benefit. We will give it further consideration as well.
Again, thank you for working with us. We look forward to hearing from you soon. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or thoughts to share, or if there is some way GCPBA can be of help.
GCPBA sends Colorado River Management Plan Adaptive Management Considerations to the Park
In May, we asked GCPBA members for feedback about various aspects of the CRMP, and subsequently put a similar query out on our GCPBA Yahoo Group and in several other internet locations.
The feedback obtained from that project was distilled and included in the first of a series of recommendations and discussion items we intend to present to the Park. Two recommendations for CRMP modifications and six discussion items were presented August, 2014, for the Park’s consideration. We intend to discuss these with park personnel at our regular meeting with them in October in Flagstaff. Those discussions could possibly result in recommendations for additional implementation items in the future.
The full text of the GCPBA presentation is here, as a .pdf file for saving or printing: GCPBA CRMP Adaptive Management Considerations
The text of the presentation can be viewed on our website here: Presentation text
A brief list of our points is below. Please read the full document for our supporting background information.
While the response period for that project is officially over, the Board would certainly welcome your additional comments now. Write to us at email@example.com
R-1. Expedite reallocation of unclaimed and abandoned launch dates. This would be done by announcing information regarding those dates immediately upon availability, so that boaters can begin exploratory planning before lotteries are actually conducted. In this connection, more frequent secondary lotteries should be considered for unclaimed launch dates. (See Appendix item #2)
R-2. Increase maximum trip lengths for selected portions of the boating season. Under this revision, winter trip lengths would be restored to 30 days. (See Appendix item #6)
D-1. Consider changes in the One Trip a Year rule, to include: waiving it completely; waiving it just for the winter months; or, waiving it only for trips that are unassigned within 30 days of launch. (See Appendix item #1)
D-2. Consider changing how lottery chances are awarded, to develop a new system in which everyone would start with one point. In such a system, additional chances would be awarded only for a failed lottery application (and no trip participation) each year. Under this provision, the lottery chances of the applicant and PATL could be added. (See Appendix item #3, 4)
D-3. Consider increasing trip sizes, such that up to 24 participants would be allowed for winter and shoulder season launches. (See Appendix item #5)
D-4. Consider rescheduling unused launches in a manner that recovers lapsed launches later in the same year. (See Appendix item #8)
D-5. Consider revision of the small trip launch schedule. This idea would entail a reduction in the number of winter launches, which would be replaced by a corresponding number of additional launches in March and October. (See Appendix item #9)
D-6. Consider increasing the maximum trip length for a noncommercial standard river trip launched in the period Sept 1-15 from 18 days to 21. (Appendix item #7)
GCPBA Could Use Your Help – Help Us Help You
A reminder that GCPBA’s fund-raising effort is still active. It’s vitally important in helping us to stay in the arena when it comes to representing private boater interests. The three key areas where the Board anticipates a coming need for additional financial support are:
* The Long Term Experimental and Management Plan (LTEMP) for operation of Glen Canyon Dam, which in its final form will have a major impact on river related recreational opportunities on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
* The proposed LCR Escalade development, which (if not stopped) would result in an extensive resort-type development on the rim, a tramway to the river, and a restaurant literally overlooking the junction of the LCR and the main Colorado, as well as the potential for reduced or no access to the Little Colorado River Canyon for river runners.
* The Backcountry Management Plan now under development by the Park, which interfaces with river operations in important ways like closures (such as happened at Deer Creek) and impact of the increasingly popular sport of packrafting.
For those of you who have already donated, joined GCPBA, or renewed your membership, thank you for your generosity and support.
For folks who are new here, or who in the past have stayed on the sidelines, please help GCPBA through your paid membership, membership renewal, or a direct donation. Visit our new website: www.gcpba.org and look for the “Donate” link on the left side.
Thanks for your support.
Welcome to the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association NEW Website!
Our Goal: Ensure the ability for all to obtain, on an equal and timely basis, an opportunity to experience a float trip through the Grand Canyon while protecting the resource.
The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association was established in 1996 to provide the self-outfitted boating public with an advocate and a clear voice seeking to achieve fair access for the non-commercial river runner in Grand Canyon and the rivers of the Colorado Plateau region.
Important note to previous GCPBA website registrants – your previous username will still work on this new site but your password may not. If it doesn’t work, you will be taken to a page allowing you to request a new password that will be emailed to you. Once you are able to log in, you can change your password if you desire. We’re sorry for the inconvenience – building a new website is as challenging as running a heavy boat through Bedrock at low, low water.