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 unused five 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 is a service of Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association.
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