GCPBA President’s Letter – December 2017

Greetings All,

Time to catch up on what's been happening. As many of you know, the Navajo had a council meeting on the Escalade project in November, and I am happy to report that the vote was 16-2 against. This doesn't signal the project’s end, it is just the latest defeat for the developers. This project will never be fully dead and we may need to fight more battles. GCPBA contributed financially to Grand Canyon Trust in 2016 and 2017, which allowed them to continue their public outreach throughout the Navajo Nation.

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Roger Clark and Grand Canyon Trust for taking the lead in helping the Navajo People determine what is in their own best interest. Additionally, Helen Howard of our Board took 14 Navajo Elders to the Council meeting in Window Rock so they could register their opposition to the project. Helen did this on her own time and money … Thank You, Helen!

On Dec. 3, 2017, GCPBA's Vice President, John Vrymoed, filed a complaint with Grand Canyon National Park regarding the Hualapai River Runners doing an upriver run. John’s group took pictures and videos of two Hualapai motorized craft about three miles upstream from Diamond Creek. As is well known, all upriver traffic, starting from Separation Canyon to Lee’s Ferry, is prohibited. In 2014, the Hualapai asked then Superintendent Uberuaga for approval to run trips upriver. The request was withdrawn before the Superintendent could respond. I have spoken with other boaters who tell me they have seen upriver runs as well. If any of you have any pictures, video or direct eyewitness accounts of upruns, please forward them to me at gcpbamail@gmail.com with as much detail as possible and I will forward them to the appropriate NPS personnel.

This is a serious issue and is related to the recent posting of the “No Trespassing” signs at National Canyon by the Hualapai. The core issue being the disputed boundary of tribal lands, which affects all river runners. GCPBA has written to the Park expressing our concerns and have asked them to enforce the long standing historic high water mark as the boundary. The Hualapai maintain that boundary extends to the middle of the river. The Board is following this issue closely as it not only concerns the Hualapai but other issues as well, such as the Navajo Escalade project. We will keep you informed on future developments regarding this issue.

It must be noted that the River District has started river patrols once again and will continue them into the foreseeable future on a regular basis. I have been informed that on the first patrol there were a number of citations written for no PFD worn while on the river, campfires built directly on the beach with no firepan or blanket, drinking while boating (we are awaiting clarification of the circumstances of the citations), and several for drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession. All permit holders should be aware of the rules, regulations, and laws that govern their trip and assure that all of them are followed by all trip participants. There is no excuse for not taking proper safety precautions and for not protecting the Canyon that we all love so much.

I hope everyone enjoys reading our Facebook page and I encourage you to share your thoughts, videos, pics, or whatever else you feel is appropriate. It is a great source of knowledge and positive energy. I trust that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and wish all of you a great Holiday Season…….. and, may we all get the trip we want in 2018.

Rich Harter
GCPBA President

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