Thank You Letter to Superintendent Alston

Superintendent Joe Alston
Grand Canyon National Park
Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

November 17, 2005

Dear Superintendent Alston,

The Board of the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association (GCPBA) wants to thank you and the entire Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP) planning team for the very hard work required to successfully complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) phase of the CRMP project.

We would like to commend the outstanding efforts of Jeff Cross, Rick Ernenwein, Linda Jalbert, Steve Sullivan and your contractor, Mary Orton, in developing a model out-reach program that brought together the entire community, to share their concerns, comments and solutions as to how to manage the river-running element of this wonderful national park.

We'd also like to recognize the good work of Catherine Roberts and her team who developed and made available the Simulator with which your staff and the public as well, could test scenarios and see how they measured up to various benchmarks used for measuring quality of experience and environmental impacts.

As we review the document we are impressed that Park planners obviously spent a great deal of time analyzing the mountains of comments received from individuals and organizations who are passionately involved in a process to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of experience that attracts us all to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.

We are pleased that Canyon access is being expanded to include a larger number of non-commercial river participants, while not reducing access to potential commercial patrons.  We are also pleased that the proposed management scenario will actually reduce the number of trips launching on a daily basis and thereby reduce site crowding and trip contacts, resulting in a higher quality backcountry wilderness experience.

The proposed Permits system, while not exactly what we suggested, seems hopeful and a refreshing change from the virtually stagnant situation we've lived with for so long.  It is obvious that your staff considered and incorporated suggestions from the river running community as to how a permit system should be managed.  Thanks to your staff for listening and analyzing.

We think that the proposed allocation split of essentially fifty percent private and fifty percent commercial is an appropriate and proper way to resolve years of conflict in regard to who should get the biggest slice of the allocation pie.

Due to the average duration of private trips versus commercial trips (private trips on average are longer), we recognize that an even split of launches would be impossible, unless all trips were to be the same length, a concept we oppose.  We are really excited at the doubling of the launch opportunities for non-commercial participation.  We appreciate that your planners reconsidered their first proposal and added nearly 10% more launches to the non-commercial schedule.

The Board of The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association stands with the Park in hoping to see this plan implemented.  We are committed to working with you to see that it is.

Sincerely,
David R. Yeamans
President, for the Board of the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association

Cc: Congressional Representatives of Utah, AZ, Colorado and New Mexico

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