Page One – Let’s Go Boating!

Grand Canyon Colorado River Flows - October & November

This is a September 27, 2019, update from Heather Patno at Glen Canyon Dam.

The release volume from Glen Canyon Dam for October, 2019, will be 625,000 acre-feet.  Hourly releases during weekdays in October will fluctuate from a low of approximately 6,740 cfs during the early morning hours to a high of 12,500 cfs during the afternoon and evening hours.

The anticipated release volume for November, 2019, is 625,000 acre-feet.  This will be confirmed with a subsequent notification toward the end of October.

Best Regards,

Heather E. Patno

Hydraulic Engineer, Glen Canyon Dam

Bureau of Reclamation

O: 801-524-3883

C: 801-913-0744

Cooler Research:

GCPBA board member Blakely LaCroix and Peter Werness, Ph.D. did a formal scientific analysis of the performance of coolers in different configurations.  Their released results are available here:

Article 1:  Evaluation of Drained vs. Un-Drained Coolers Cooler Research Article 1 Drain vs No Drain

Article 2:  Evaluation of Block ice vs. Cube ice Cooler Research article #2 - Block ice vs Cube ice

Article 3:  Evaluation of Block ice vs. Bottle ice Cooler Research article#3- Block ice vs Bottle ice

Article 4:  Evaluation of a Damp Towel Cooler Cover Cooler Research article #4 - Evaluation of Damp Towel Cooler Cover

GCPBA RiverNews 5/7/2019 - Pay Phones At Phantom Ranch Are Permanently Gone

From GCPBA board member Dave Mortenson:

Pay phones at Phantom Ranch are permanently gone!

For those of you who have every hiked down or run the Colorado River and spent some time at Phantom Ranch will find this information interesting. Peggy Kolar, the River Ranger at Lees Ferry sent me an email with the news.

The pay phones at Phantom Ranch have been permanently disconnected. There will no longer be public phones available at Phantom Ranch. Emergency phones are still active and in place, but will only connect to emergency dispatch. As Peggy said, " Kind of a bummer, since many folks like to check in with home."

Like the Phantom Ranch swimming pool the phone will now be part of history. Her is just one story about that phone.

In 1957 when the P.T. "Pat" Reilly river trip made Bright Angel, they decided to abort their river trip since the 126.000 cfs river was too high and unsafe. My father, "Brick" Mortenson ,along with Moulty Fulmer were Pat's two boatman. My father decided to let my mother know what was happening and used the phone at Phantom Ranch to contact her.

My mother "Bonnie" had receive a call from probably Bill Belknap that he would not be able to meet the Reilly party when they reached Lake Mead as there was a large many miles long log jam in upper lake. He had been scheduled to tow the river party and their three boats to Temple Bar. Bill wanted desperately to let Reilly know what was occurring and reached out to contact numbers given him. My mother, who received the alarming news, decided to try to contact someone at Phantom Ranch to hopefully let the river runners know about the Lake Mead issue. She had planned schedule and hoped she could get the word to the river party.

In those days long distance calls to and from Phantom Ranch had to go through a live operator. Amazingly, both my parents tried to reach each other at the same time. The operator simply connected to callers from Phantom Ranch and Los Angeles.

Just imagine how many personal stories are related to the public phone at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

GCPBA President's Letter - December 2018

Greetings All, Time to catch up on what's been happening......

Click the link below to read our President's Letter containing an update of various topics:  The boundary dispute between the Hualapai and Grand Canyon National Park, defunding of the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, and various National Park Service topics applicable to private boaters in Grand Canyon.

GCPBA President’s Letter – December 2018

Colorado River Historic High Water Level Report

This report was commissioned by GCPBA for the benefit of the private boater.  John Vrymoed, author of the report, is a registered civil and geotechnical engineer in California, now retired.  He is a published author on topics related to earthquake engineering and dam performance, has served on a panel of experts for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and has given presentations at various conferences.

Synopsis:  The purpose of this report is to define the Colorado River's high water level's location and thereby assist the private boater in recognizing the extent of the disputed boundary between Grand Canyon National Park and the Hualapai tribal lands.  The Colorado River high water level within the grand Canyon is determined to be 80 feet above a base flow of 8,000 cfs between Lees Ferry and the confluence of the Little Colorado River, and 100 feet above the base flow from there to the Grand Wash Cliffs.

Read the full report here:  Colorado River High Water Mark Report

GCPBA RiverNews 10/6/2018 - Grand Canyon Noncommercial River Trip Regulations Are Updated

Grand Canyon National Park recently updated their noncommercial river trip regulations.  The new regulations are dated October 2, 2018.  River trips are required by the Park to have a printed copy of the regulations with them at all times.  Regulations dated earlier than this are not sufficient.  The new regulations can be viewed and printed at this link:

Noncommercial River Trip Regulations

River trips without the current regulations will have delays during the river trip orientation with the Lees Ferry ranger.  The river trip permit holder has the responsibility of ensuring that all participants comply with the terms and conditions of the river trip permit as stated in the Noncommercial River Trip Regulations.

Included in the new regulations is language GCPBA discussed with the Park about various topics, noted in Appendix B on page 31.

GCPBA RiverNews 7/3/2018 – Hualapai Reverse Decision To Issue Citations

GCPBA has been reporting on the intent of the Hualapai Nation to require Grand Canyon river runners buy permits to be on land along the left side of the Colorado River from river miles 164.5 to 287. The Hualapai claim the land as theirs. The National Park Service disputes that claim.

Read about it here: Hualapai Land & River Access Permits Followup

GCPBA RiverNews 6/27/2018 - Hualapai Land & River Access Permits Followup

As you may recall, two weeks ago GCPBA reported that the Hualapai Tribe is trying to institute a permit fee of $100 on river runners for using river left from mile 168 down to mile 287. (Read our RiverNews that announced this here: Hualapai Land & River Access Permits/).   They are also planning on doing enforcement patrols using Hualapai Fish and Game law enforcement officers to make contact with river runners between July 9 and July 13 to ensure the permits are purchased.

GCPBA wants to make it abundantly clear that we disagree with this action. We believe that it is in violation of Grand Canyon National Park boundaries and provisions of the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan that the Hualapai were involved in forming. We have sent a letter to GCNP Superintendent Chris Lehnertz regarding this issue, asking for any information or clarification the Park can provide.

Read our full report here: Hualapai Land & River Access Permits Followup

GCPBA RiverNews 6/10/2018 - Hualapai Land & River Access Permits

The Hualapai Game and Fish Department sent out the following notice on June 4th:

Public Notice:  Hualapai River Access Permit Checks Upstream Of Diamond Creek (RM225)

The Hualapai Tribe will be conducting river access permits the week of July 9, 2018 through July 13, 2018 on the Colorado River upstream of Diamond Creek.  Hualapai Tribal boundaries began (sic) at RM 164.5 to RM 287 river left.

Read our full report here:  Hualapai Land & River Access Permits

GCPBA RiverNews 3/27/2017 - Grand Canyon Noncommercial River Trip Regulations Are Updated

Grand Canyon National Park recently updated their noncommercial river trip regulations.  The new regulations are dated March 9, 2017.  River runners are required by the Park to have a printed copy of the regulations with them at all times.

Read the rest of our announcement here: Grand Canyon Noncommercial River Trip Regulations

GCPBA RiverNews 1/15/17 - Stow Away Motors For Diamond Down Allowed Again!

Read our announcement here: Stow Away Motors For Diamond Down Allowed Again

GCPBA RiverNews 11/6/15 - Unused Grand Canyon Noncommercial Launch Dates Are Rescheduled, Not Lost

Read the rest of our announcement here: Unused Noncommercial Launch Dates Are Rescheduled, Not Lost

GCPBA RiverNews 12/2/14 – Martin Litton, February 13, 1917 – November 30, 2014

Read the entire RiverNews about Martin Litton’s passing here:  Martin Litton, deceased at age 97

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 (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.


Wally Rist

President, GCPBA

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


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)

Discussion Topics

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)

Launching at Lee's In Fifty-Six (Katie Lee)
Great trips to all!

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: and look for the "Donate" link on the left side.

Thanks for your support.

Rich Phillips
Secretary, GCPBA

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.

Early Morning Full Moon - Launch Day at Lees Ferry, by Bruce McElya © 2012
Used with permission

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