Meet GCPBA’s Board of Directors – veteran boaters dedicated carrying out the GCPBA mission, serving as a voice for the non-commercial private river running community, working to preserve and expand opportunities for boaters in the Grand Canyon and other Southwestern rivers.
I was born in 1941 in St. Louis, Missouri. My first view of the Grand Canyon was in June of 1958. I have been addicted ever since. My first Colorado River trip was in the summer of 1958. It was through Glen Canyon, a one boat 4 person 3 week trip.
Ten years later I took my first Grand Canyon River trip as a boatman rowing a Nevils Cataract boat for Mexican Hat Expeditions. My next trip was in 1970 rowing for Martin Litton. I rowed and led trips for Martin until about 1981. At that time I began my career in commercial real estate. I have made private trips in the Canyon in 1983, 1985, 2004, 2006, and 2008 for a total of 53 trips..
I was very active in Colorado River issues and politics until about 1985. From 1985 to about 2003 I stayed abreast of issues, made a few calls, and wrote my congressmen on occasions. Since 2003 I have been much more active in GC issues again, mostly in conjunction with GCPBA.
Currently, I live and am in the real estate business in the Kansas City area.
Born in 1952 in Indiana, not a particularly great white water state, I took my first trip in 1966 on the Wolf River in Wisconsin. After canoeing for the next 25 years, and after moving to Arizona, I started running the Salt in 1992.
My wife and I took a commercial oar trip from Phantom down in 1997 and we were both hooked. After a couple of other commercial trips I purchased my first oar rig and have been running inter-mountain west rivers ever since. I have six Grands total and have been politically active in river management issues since 1998.
I view my service to the private boaters through GCPBA as a way to give others the chance to enjoy what I love so much. As I have stated in the past, I will continue to fight for more access for the private boater and try to represent their interests in my dealings with the NPS.
About 25 years ago the Boston Ski Club had a weekend outing in Maine. One day of that was a river trip on the Penobscot River. I still remember the excitement of my first time paddling the rapids and the relaxation of watching the scenery come by, and everything in between. From that day on I was hooked. I knew that this river rafting would be something I’ll want to do for the rest of my life. Now, in Colorado, I’m fortunate to have many rivers throughout the West less than a day’s drive away. None, of course, compare to the Grand Canyon. My first time there I joined the group late; they already had enough boats. So, I went as a passenger. For many of those 18 days my boatman was the renowned Ricardo Martin. We drank a few tonics and spoke of many things, including the access issues facing private boaters in the Grand Canyon.
I’m glad to do my part for the GCPBA to make it more fair and easier for private boaters to access and enjoy their rivers, especially the Colorado through the Grand Canyon.
I was born in Chicago and spent all of my summers going to and working at a camp in one of Aldo Leopold’s sand counties of Wisconsin. It was there that I fell in love with the outdoor world.
I first saw the Grand Canyon in 1955, when I was 9, and resolved then that I would spend the rest of my life where there were contour lines. Between my junior and senior years at Knox College, I participated in a program at the newly opened National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Lander, Wyoming. We spent 33 days hiking and climbing the length of the Wind River Range. Our trip was led by the charismatic founder of NOLS, Paul Petzold. I decided that I would return and go through the instructor’s course that Paul was setting up. Then, after graduating from Knox, I would return to NOLS to work. Upon graduating with a BA in History, Richard Nixon decided that my talents (or lack thereof) would be best suited to ridding the world of the communists hiding in the jungles of Viet Nam. Immediately after returning home in 1971, some friends invited me to go along on Grand Canyon Dory trip. Instead of going back to NOLS, I took the river trip. It was on that trip that I met Martin Litton and essentially got hired to work for him as a boatman/guide. I continued working for the Dories until 1986. I have been doing private river trips on and off since 1980 (whenever I, or a friend could wangle a permit). I was fortunate to have been on the river in 1983 when the Colorado was running 98,000 cfs. It was an experience I wouldn’t have missed for anything, although I’m not sure I would want to repeat it.
In 1972, one of our dory passengers, a principal from Phoenix, hired me to teach 5th graders (probably not the best decision he ever made). I earned my Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, and after 36 years, I retired in 2008. I live in both Phoenix and Flagstaff, and hope that this close proximity to the Canyon helps me contribute to GCPBA.
I’m a life-long boater, starting with canoes and kayaks, and in my later years, as a rafter. I’m in my mid sixties, retired, and a resident ofIllinois. I’ve made nine Grand Canyon trips – two as a commercial passenger, two as a commercial swamper, and five private trips (three as trip leader). In addition to boating rivers in the East and Midwest, I’ve made trips on a number of Western rivers. I also worked for ten years as a long-term volunteer river ranger at Westwater Canyon on the upper Colorado.
My principal goal in serving on the GCPBA Board would be to continue to advance the cause of equitable access to the Colorado Riverthrough the Grand Canyon for all interested parties. To achieve that goal, I believe strongly that there should be an emphasis on the unity of interests within the river community. I think most of us believe that there should be timely availability of the Canyon river experience to people of all walks of life and levels of ability. And we also hold many common values related to preservation of the unique Grand Canyon wilderness environment. In addition, I think we have to acknowledge the inevitable need to interface effectively with commercial GC river activity. And finally, I also think we need to work harmoniously with officials charged with the responsibility of managing the Canyon for posterity, while making it reasonably available to all of us today.
I see GCPBA as the most effective available means to private boaters to advance those common interests, and continue the gains that have been made in the past. Having experienced some of the key aspects of the river experience – as a passenger, commercial crew member, river ranger, and private boater – I’m pleased to have an opportunity to help GCPBA be an even more effective voice for private boaters in the Grand Canyon on into the future.
At large – Dave Mortenson
For many the Grand Canyon is a place they found on their own but I had a dramatic introduction. When I was 13 my father, who was a 1950s river runner, took me on my first hike into the Grand Canyon off the end of the Great Thumb to visit Keyhole Bridge. Only my father and Harvey Butchart had been there. A year later in 1962, we traveled down the wild Colorado River in our home-made boat before Glen Canyon Dam changed the river forever. Thus I became one of the 1800 people to go down some part of the wild Colorado through the Grand Canyon before it was dammed. It took years to realize how fortunate I had been. Over 51 years of Grand Canyon trips, my hiking focus has been on the remote western half of the Canyon. In the last ten years I’ve worked on fulfilling my desire to replicate historic Colorado River boats and then to run them though the Canyon. So far, five replica boats have been built and run down river with more boats and trips being planned.
My Grand Canyon passion on one hand is exploring and photographing the places nobody sees. On the other is my zeal to understand the history of those adventurers who proceeded my time in the Canyon. My half century of Colorado River and Grand Canyon experience has resulted in a great deal of first hand knowledge. Enjoyably, I’ve been able to share my experiences at river running, hiking and history gatherings. But, more importantly, I’ve learned much from others. Currently, I’m showing my documentary film “Big Water Runners of the Colorado River” about pioneers of private river trips through the Grand Canyon who ran on the highest water ever run in 1957 at 126,000 cfs.
Being a GCBPA Board member is a great responsibility and opportunity. All my river experiences have been on self guided trips. I was on the waiting list for years and I have put in for the lottery and know what it is to continue to “wait’ for a launch date. Being a member since January 2001, I’ve followed the dialog daily and once in a while have jumped in the fray. Mostly, I read the daily summary, learned and absorbed the wisdom so many members have shared. Both my son and daughter are Grand Canyon river runners and hikers and my only grandchild, age 11, has already done two Colorado River trips running in the replica of her great-grandfather’s first boat. Introducing and passing on my family heritage of private river running has been my greatest Grand Canyon experience.
At Large – Earl Perry
I started river running in 1962 using yellow Air Force 4- and 7-man rafts. Worked as a professional boatman in Grand Canyon, the Utah Rivers, and Idaho for 8 years, running oars, motors, and paddle rigs. I have singlehandedly rowed 33’ pontoons with up to 13 passengers down the Yampa, through Lodore, and through the major rapids of Grand Canyon, a distinction I share with President Dave Yeamans, and one we both hope no one else will ever be able to claim. I was the river ranger for Dinosaur National Monument 1980 – 1983, and an NPS environmental planner for a couple of years, specializing in writing Wild and Scenic River Studies and the Environmental Impact Statements for them. With Richard Martin, Mark Grisham, and Ben Harding, I helped to start Firewalk, a group of private boaters, environmentalists, boatmen, and outfitters who attained consensus on recommending ideas to the Park Service for the CRMP. I analyzed a number of alternatives, from as many of the major players in the game as would offer them to me, for the Grand Canyon Management Plan (see Waiting List Volume 6 Number 2, Winter 2002 – 2003) and served as an expert on the Park’s planning panel. Recently I helped revise the bylaws for the Colorado Plateau River Guides. I’ve been the conservation chairman for the Colorado Whitewater Association. I’ve written articles and stories for the Boatman’s Quarterly Review, The Confluence, and the Waiting List. Former Board Member NORS, present board member GCPBA. Considerable knowledge of river planning and administration.
At Large – Kevin McElhinny
I started creeking in 1956 at the age of four in a then rural neighborhood west of Chicago. This ability to wander the countryside lit a flame that has burned since. Now firmly a Californian, I was reintroduced to rivers in the late 60’s by my brother in law a guide for ARTA. The Stanislaus was my playground but the Middle Fork of the Salmon was the dream. I missed the cut to become an ARTA guide, too much of a hippie, to those in the know this would seem a joke. The gift here, I’ve come to discover, is that boating was never a job it’s always been a choice, I’m a private boater.
My first Canyon trip was around ’98 for the return trip in the filming of the Sundance released documentary, The Same River Twice, by Rob Moss. I got religion and never wanted to leave the Canyon, thus started the halcyon years, beginning seasons on the Colorado, trips only made possible by the institution of the CRMP; moving north to the Yampa or Green, moving west to Idaho for the Middle Fork and Selway and wrapping it up with a Tuolumne or Rogue. We were so lucky to have the West.
It wasn’t luck though, I had already tracked the rise of the New Melones knowing that Mark Dubois had chained himself to a rock to slow its progress, and like him others had walked and floated these wild lands before and recognized its importance and fought to preserve it. I want to continue this work with the GCPBA, a vital voice, unbiased by the economic blinders of commercial interest. A rational voice that attempts to harmonize the diverse interests of the private boating community. We’ve got one planet, we have to figure out how to preserve a place where we can live in a world that has days, nights, hot, cold, the seemingly unyielding hardness of the rock that the ever yielding waters carve away. We’ve got to figure out how to share it.