Without any prior notice to the public, Grand Canyon National Park officials began a lottery today for 9 self guided river trip launches. The lottery runs through noon, Wednesday August 22.

The first date available is September 8, 2007,and winners of the lottery for that date will have only two weeks to pull together all that is needed for a multi week river trip.

The dates available for this lottery are September 8 and 20, October 14, 27 and 31, November 3, 8, and 15, and December 22, all in 2007.

The last lottery conducted by Grand Canyon National Park was conducted for one day, from June 26 to June 27. There were twenty applications for one small trip launch date for July 3, 2007. A small trip has a limit of only 8 people allowed to participate.

Interested individuals must have set up a profile with Grand Canyon National Park to be able to apply for the lottery.

River runners who have set up a profile on the NPS web site are e-mailed directly by the NPS at the beginning day of each lottery.

Grand Canyon National Park does not issue lottery press releases or otherwise notify the broader river running community about the lotteries.

River runners who have not set up a profile with the Park, or do not have internet connections have no way of knowing of an impending lottery.

"One wonders if dates that go unused because of the considerable obstacles, will be cited as proof that there is less noncommercial demand," noted Jo Johnson, Co-Directors of RRFW. "That would be false and add to the bias already suffered by self-guided river runners, as evidenced by the procedures now in place to win a permit."

River Runners for Wilderness (http://www.rrfw.org/) continues to offer free lottery assistance through email and a phone hotline for the complicated 25 page sign-up and lottery application process.

The RRFW telephone assistance Help-line is available at (928) 856-9065, throughout this lottery on a first-come first-serve basis.

Lottery applicants can refer to the RRFW online lottery tutorial, available for download as an Adobe PDF file of 9.5MB by clicking on the "Lottery Primer" link at:  http://www.rrfw.org/lotteryguide/.

Additionally, lottery information is available at the free Rafting Grand Canyon WIKI at: http://www.rrfw.org/RaftingGrandCanyon/Main_Page.

Discussion of the Grand Canyon lottery and winning strategies may be found at The Rafting Grand Canyon Yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Rafting_Grand_Canyon/.

River Runner for Wilderness offers these services at no charge supported entirely through your generous donations at: http://www.rrfw.org/store.

The Grand Canyon River Permits Office also offers help at 1-800-959-9164 or by email at grca_riv@nps.gov.