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.

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