GCPBA President’s Letter – December 2019

GCPBA held our meeting in Flagstaff October 5 & 6, 2019. All Board members running for reelection were reelected. Officers for the coming year are:

President……………Richard Harter
Vice President….…John Vrymoed
Secretary……………Blakely LaCroix
Treasurer……………David Levine
At large members are:
Helen Howard
Rich Turner
Wally Rist.

It was with deep regret that we accepted the resignation of Dave Mortensen from the Board. We hope he finds retirement fun and full of adventure.

There were a number of topics that had the Board’s attention this year.  Among the top was the River Patrols. Last year there were a number of citations written for boaters not wearing a PFD, drinking while boating, no or improper fire pan and blanket at camp, and contraband found in camp. I am happy to report that those issues seem to have been resolved by participants better understanding and following the rules. When we spoke to the Park regarding these issues last year and early this year we had some questions regarding boatmen having a beer while rowing on the river.  We were told that NPS was enforcing Arizona State Law on boating while drinking. After checking AZ laws it seems pretty obvious that AZ law is only interested in the operation of motorized craft. You can read the statute at  https://www.azleg.gov/ars/5/00395.htm. Regardless, it is imperative that we all have a “Safety First” attitude while on the river. Please be responsible.

We are still keeping an eye on the boundary issue with the Hualapai tribe.  In association with our friends at Grand Canyon Trust, we are happy to report that this issue seems to have abated some this year.  We have received positive attention from Grand Canyon National Park.  GCPBA will continue to work with GCT and GCNP and other organizations to address boundary issues.

Our Secretary, Blakely LaCroix, has taken the time and effort to archive the entire history of the old Yahoo Groups listserve before it goes away forever. This was a monumental task that will allow all of us to have a record, from one perspective, of what it took to get to the river access point we are at now.

We also had a long discussion with GCNP about changes to the noncommercial regulations for private boaters and increasing the number of Spring, Summer, and Fall season trips on the launch calendar.  We presented our case to Steve Sullivan of the River Permits office, referencing the parameters of the 2006 Colorado River Management Plan now in place.  However, since there is no permanent GCNP Superintendent appointed yet to replace former Superintendent Christine Lehnertz, there is no way to get an approval of any changes at this time. GCPBA feels it is imperative that the Park get a new and permanent superintendent at the earliest possible time. We will have more on this issue as it develops.

I have saved the most discussed, and at times contentious, issue for last. A couple of months ago there was a permit holder that, tragically, took his own life before the trip could launch. Unfortunately, there was no potential alternate trip leader designated.  Therefore the Park did not let the trip go forward.

Sometime around the beginning of 2016 GCPBA and the River Permits Office began looking into adaptive management of the CRMP. One area we've been discussing often with them since then was to extend the ways in which a PATL could be named.  Again, the big obstacle is that since there is no superintendent there is no way to get a sign off on the change. No one else at the Park has the authority, or wants the responsibility, so it appears that we all must wait for a new superintendent to be named before this issue can go forward. As we work with the RPO regarding adaptations to the PATL rules we will continue to report our progress.

Rich Harter,
GCPBA President

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One Response to GCPBA President’s Letter – December 2019

  1. Jack Billings says:

    Hello, Wally,

    Many years ago we were in contact. I am seeking a spot for an oarsman (me!) between June 1 and September 30, 2020. Can you advise me about a site or sites where searchees and searchers can interact? Many thanks.

    Jack Billings

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