Page One – Let’s Go Boating!

Grand Canyon, Colorado River Flows - February, March, April

January 30, 2017 Update:

The release volume from Glen Canyon Dam for February, 2017, will be 715,000 acre-feet.  Hourly releases during February, 2017, are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 9,000 cfs in the nighttime and 15,000 cfs in the daytime.

The anticipated release volume for March, 2017, is 720,000 acre-feet with daily fluctuations between approximately 8,000 cfs in the nighttime and 14,000 cfs in the daytime.

The anticipated release volume for April, 2017, is 620,000 acre-feet.  This will be confirmed in a subsequent notification toward the end of February.

Paul Davidson, Hydraulic Engineer, Glen Canyon Dam

Bureau of Reclamation 125 S. State St. Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Ph: 801-524-3642

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

GCPBA has just received excellent news from Grand Canyon National Park regarding the use of a motor on the flat water of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon from below Diamond Creek to the Pearce Ferry takeout.  Here is our announcement:

The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association would like to extend our thanks to Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Chris Lehnertz for an important adaptive management change she made to the Colorado River Management Plan.  This change is very meaningful to noncommercial Grand Canyon river runners wanting to use the Pearce Ferry takeout rather than the Diamond Creek takeout.

GCPBA requested of the Park that noncommercial river trips again be allowed to stow a motor on a boat at the Lees Ferry ramp, to be used only below Diamond Creek on the flat water stretch of the Colorado River.  We are now allowed to do so.  Clearly Supt. Lehnertz heard us, and she approved and implemented the following change.

The new regulation reads, “Non-motorized trips launching from Lees Ferry in the motorized season may stow or pack motors from the launch but are prohibited from using them above Diamond Creek for any reason. Trip leaders must declare and acknowledge to the Lees Ferry Ranger that there is a motor and must sign a motor waiver form provided by at Lees Ferry by the Ranger. All equipment and registration as such for a motor vessel must be present.”

We have been talking with the National Park Service about this issue since 2006, when the Colorado River Management Plan was last revised.

New noncommercial river trip regulations that resulted from the 2006 revision did not allow stow away motors.  After a conversation GCPBA had in 2006 with Grand Canyon National Park personnel, the regulations were rewritten to allow for them.

However, approximately 1-1/2 years ago, GCNP reversed this, putting back the "no stow" regulation.  This was due to reported violations of the regulation; motors were reportedly being used above Diamond.  Some violations were observed by river ranger patrols.

GCPBA immediately challenged this change and advocated for a reversal.  After discussions with the previous Superintendent and Chief Ranger in 2015, and Supt. Lehnertz and current Chief Ranger Matthew Vandzura during 2016, including at GCPBA's October, 2016, meeting with GCNP personnel, we have secured the reversal.

GCPBA member John V. was another voice in achieving this change.  His letter to the Park echoed our sentiments about this matter, and was no doubt helpful.  It included, "I'm now physically taxed to row the miles from Separation to Pearce".  (This is approximately 40 miles, and can be against upriver winds).  "Picking up a motor (at Diamond) is not practical and is costly,... in the $700 range".

GCPBA greatly appreciates Supt. Lehnertz and Chief Ranger Vandzura for hearing our request and implementing this change.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Park and encouraging further improvements and opportunities for private boaters to enjoy "the trip of a lifetime" on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.

GCPBA RiverNews 9/25/16 - Grand Canyon's New Granite Springs Rapid

Boaters beware!

GCPBA has learned of a change in Granite Springs Rapid at about mile 220.5, just after the popular mile 220 camps.  This stretch of the river with "minor" rapids between mile 220 and Diamond Creek is often taken for granted by boaters as an easy six miles to the Diamond takeout, but no longer should that be so.

Reports are that debris washed down Granite Springs Canyon during a flash flood, narrowing the river at the mouth of the canyon and depositing boulders in the river.  At various flows there is a very large hole just right of center of the rapid, hidden about halfway down the wave train.  It is not very visible at the entrance to the rapid.  Be aware if you scout from your boat at the approach!

This hole has flipped 16' and 18' boats and washed people out of other boats.  It is suggested by boaters who have seen the hole and the new rapid that we should look at running the left side of the rapid, although that, of course, can also change at any time.

You can see it here, on Youtube, nearly flipping a raft and giving people an unexpected swim:

From another perspective, this is a wonderful example of how dynamic the river is, how it can change at any time.

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

The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association would like to extend our thanks to Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga for an important adaptive management change he made early this year to the Colorado River Management Plan.  This change is very meaningful to noncommercial Grand Canyon river runners seeking a permit to launch a river trip.

GCPBA requested that unused noncommercial river trip launch dates during a year be rescheduled, rather than lost.  We wrote to the Park:

"We would like to discuss and perhaps develop a method for rescheduling unused noncommercial trips.  With the 2006 CRMP, noncommercial river runners achieved long awaited gains in the number of trips allowed to launch.  They are very valuable to us and highly sought after, as every year’s river trip lottery application data shows.  Unfortunately, sometimes for reasons beyond their control, permit holders must cancel their trips.  Sometimes these trips cannot subsequently be awarded to anyone else to use on the original launch date.  Unused noncommercial river trip launches, for any reason, perhaps could be placed back on the launch schedule, on dates later in the same year, chosen at the River Office’s discretion so that the Trips At One Time parameter is not exceeded."

Clearly Superintendent Uberuaga heard us and other members of the public, and he approved and implemented the following change early in 2015.  The announcement from April 3, 2105, says:

"Up to 20 unused noncommercial launches (last minute cancellations) will be added to the subsequent year’s list of available dates and made available through lotteries to the public. Launches will be scheduled in the subsequent year near the date of the original planned launch.  Noncommercial launches canceled more than 30 days in advance will continue to be distributed through a lottery system for the original launch date. This change will apply to last minute cancellations and no-shows."

Immediately upon approval five unused launch dates from March, 2014, onward were added to the 2015 launch calendar.  Eleven unused 2015 dates have been added to the 2016 launch calendar.  Launch dates that are canceled from now through the end of 2015 and remain unused will be released in a future lottery.  All unused dates that were rescheduled to the next year were offered in secondary lotteries, including the one that ended October 15, 2015.

This is expected to go on indefinitely.  Further details of the implementation of the plan to reschedule unused launch dates will be coming soon.

GCPBA greatly appreciates Superintendent Uberuaga, River Permits Program Manager Steve Sullivan, and other Park personnel for hearing our suggestions and implementing these changes.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with the park and encouraging further improvements and opportunities for private boaters to enjoy "the trip of a lifetime" on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.

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.

Dave Mortenson

Read the entire RiverNews here:  Martin Litton, deceased at age 97

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 (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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