As you may recall, two weeks ago GCPBA reported that the Hualapai Tribe is trying to institute a permit fee of $100 on river runners for using river left from mile 168 down to mile 287. (Read our RiverNews that announced this here: Hualapai Land & River Access Permits/). They are also planning on doing enforcement patrols using Hualapai Fish and Game law enforcement officers to make contact with river runners between July 9 and July 13 to ensure the permits are purchased.
GCPBA wants to make it abundantly clear that we disagree with this action. We believe that it is in violation of Grand Canyon National Park boundaries and provisions of the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan that the Hualapai were involved in forming. We have sent a letter to GCNP Superintendent Chris Lehnertz regarding this issue, asking for any information or clarification the Park can provide.
There are some actions that need to be taken if a trip encounters tribal law enforcement while on the river. First, and foremost, be polite. There is no reason to escalate any interactions beyond civil conversation. Nothing will be settled on the river. Second, avoid going above the high water mark at any camps. While the high water mark may not always be apparent, it will almost always be far enough off the bank to allow a large enough camp for any size group. Third, report any contact by the Hualapai to GCNP. We would also like to hear about any interactions so we can follow up with the Park and store all documentation in one place for future reference. Last, if anyone observes upriver travel, air traffic, or any other behavior that is against Park rules it is imperative that it be reported to GCNP as soon as possible. We would also like to hear about it as well.
We contacted the Hualapai Game and Fish Department and asked questions. We actually called them twice and spoke with two different people. Each time we were we unable to get information of:
How the Hualapai would get to the river left camps in order to check people for permits.
What they would do if someone claimed they were following the NPS boundary claim, asserted a right to be there, and refused to identify himself.
How the Hualapai would ensure that someone issued a ticket would show up in their tribal court to answer for the charges.
What would happen to someone if they didn't appear in tribal court.
The NPS has not yet made it clear if and how they intend to challenge the Hualapai boundary claim and their intent to issue citations on land the NPS claims as theirs.
Finally, have a great trip, enjoy yourselves and, above all, be safe and healthy.