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RRFW Riverwire – Grand Canyon Concessions River Trip Passenger Presumed Drowned
July 2, 2019
Mr. Peter Schwab of Healdsburg, California, is “presumed to have drowned in the Colorado River” according to officials at Grand Canyon National Park.
In an article from the Sonoma California based Press Democrat, Mr. Schwab loved the out of doors and had hiked across the Grand Canyon from the South to North Rim in 1998. A retired San Francisco Unified School District employee, the sixty-six-year-old Schwab signed up at the last minute for a motorized tour through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River with river concessioner Grand Canyon Expeditions.
According to the above sources, on the fourth day of the river trip, Friday, June 28, 2019, a morning hike was planned into National Canyon from Lower National Camp. Those hiking were to return to the river by lunchtime. Mr. Schwab participated on this hike, then returned to the river. He was last seen on a small sandy beach downstream of Lower National Camp. He was not wearing a life jacket.
A search was initiated for Mr. Schwab on the afternoon of Friday, June 28, 2019, and was scaled back on July 1, 2019, the day Grand Canyon National Park officials posted on FaceBook that they presumed Mr. Schwab had drowned.
All river runners are reminded to chose carefully where they enter the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, especially if they are not wearing a life jacket. High flows for the month of June and July exceed 18,000 cubic feet per second and the force of the river moving past the shoreline can be surprisingly powerful.
On entering the river to cool off, bathe or urinate, wading into the river to a depth just above the ankles and then sitting down is sufficient to preform these functions. Diving and swimming is never recommended.
If Mr. Schwab is in the Colorado River, it is possible his body will be spotted. The river has been fairly clear this last week as the monsoon season has yet to start and there are a lot of river runners in Grand Canyon currently. Should your river trip locate a body in the river, secure the body, wrap it in a tarp and notify Grand Canyon National Park Dispatch at 928-638-7911 via satellite phone with your location.
April 13, 2019
On April 10, 2019, the Hualapai Reservation Tribal Council voted to increase the camping fee for river runners from $100 per river trip to $100 per person. This fee increase impacts all river trips on the 109.4-mile-long border of the Hualapai Nation where reservation lands meet the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
The increase in the cost of a camping permit comes on the heels of a change in the members of the Hualapai Nation Tribal Council. The previous Council had approved a decrease of the fee from $100 per person to $100 per river trip in January of 2019.
According to Tribal officials, the number of river runners who purchased camping permits greatly increased after the fee decrease in January was announced, with almost full compliance of all river trips. They also stated that camping permits issued prior to the increase in fees April 10, 2019, will be honored
On June 1, 2018, the Hualapai Nation Game and Fish Department issued a public notice about camping on Hualapai land along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The notice stated that river runners who pay a $100 per person fee would be allowed to camp, stop for lunch, and visit riverside attraction sites anywhere along the Colorado River that abuts Hualapai Nation land. The Hualapai Nation touches the edge of the Colorado River from River Mile 164.5 to River Mile 273.9 on the east side of the river, known as “river left” when looking downstream.
According to Hualapai Nation officials, Tribal Police plan to check river runners found camping on Tribal lands for the appropriate permits this summer. Anyone found on the Hualapai Reservation where it meets the Colorado River that does not have a valid camping permit may be subject to impoundment of all their river and camping equipment, arrest, and face immediate prosecution in Tribal Court.
River Runners For Wilderness Council Member Tom Martin was saddened by the change. “While we greatly respect the Council and support a permit system for camping on Reservation land, we find this fee increase unfortunate. It was very encouraging to see river runners comply with the lower fee permit. Raising the fees to such a high level for one- or two-nights of camping will simply cause river runners to camp on the other side of the river in this area, decreasing tribal revenue. We certainly understand if river runners decide to forgo this purchase and camp on river right.”
River runners are encouraged to write the Hualapai Tribal Council, respectfully encouraging the Council to reconsider this action. A low-cost fee ensures compliance with Tribal laws and raises awareness of Tribal sovereignty. Comments should be respectful and avoid personal attacks to uphold Hualapai values and respect for one another.
Comments may be mailed to
Hualapai Tribal Chairman Dr. Damon Clarke
PO Box 179, Peach Springs, AZ 86434
River runners are reminded that the boundary between the Hualapai Tribe and the National Park Service has yet to be decided in court. That means that if you step off your boat onto dry land between River Mile 164.5 and River Mile 273.9 on the east side of the river, you are on Hualapai Tribal land, as per the Hualapai Tribe. According to Tribal officials, river runners who are found camping, having lunch or visiting attraction sites along the south side of the Colorado River on Tribal lands are committing trespass if they do not have a valid permit.
In July of 2017, Tribal Chairman Dr. Damon Clark announced the Nation would be offering camping permits for river runners. He also stated river runners who are scouting rapids may continue to do so without any sort of permit.
River runners who chose not to camp or stop for lunch on river left between River Mile 164.5 and River Mile 273.9 are not required to pay the above fees. Should river runners still desire to purchase a Hualapai Nation river camping permit, they may be obtained by calling the Hualapai Nation Game and Fish Department at 928-769-2227 or 928-769-1122 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Why We Boat: Running Rivers On Our Own
River Runners come from all walks of life, all ages, and all backgrounds. Their reasons for taking to the water are varied, yet many recurring themes run through their stories. This anthology presents a picture of those commonalities, weaving tales of adventure and growth with retrospectives on memories and connections. We’ve gathered stories from 32 authors around North America to share why they boat so anyone who has been soothed by the sound of running water, longed to travel a wilderness river to escape modern life and bond with friends, or been thrilled by explosions of whitewater will find a story here that will ring true and speak to them.
Bev Kurtz is the editor of Why We Boat. A Coloradan who has been running rivers since the mid 1980s, Bev has worked as an archeologist, middle school teacher, and a project manager at IBM. Now retired, she spends much of her energy fighting dams, traveling, writing, and playing in the out of doors with her husband, Tim, and her river tribe.
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