Grand Canyon National Park has initiated its online lottery for river trips to raft the Colorado River in the park for the 2008 self-guided river running season.
River Runners for Wilderness has updated an online Lottery tutorial, with pages captured from this year's lottery application.
Please note that entrants who use Internet Explorer version 7 are having trouble locating the trip calendar when attempting date selection. Upon clicking the calendar icons next to the date selection, the pop-up launch calendar appears at the extreme top of the page. Careful alignment may be required to view the entire calendar. The Park is aware of the problem and has engaged programmers to re-align the pop-up window for IE7 users.
The RRFW Grand Canyon Lottery telephone assistance line is also available through the River Runners for Wilderness Lottery Help Line, at (928) 856-9065, or by email:email@example.com on a first-come first-serve basis. This help line has been set up to assist lottery candidates in navigating the myriad web pages required to be profiled, submit an application and pay the required fee. The Grand Canyon River Permits Office also offers help at 1-800-959-9164 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lottery applications are being accepted through May 28, 2007. The online lottery registration and application can be found at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weightedlottery.htm
The "Waited Lottery" has two steps, a registration component and a lottery application component. Completion of the registration process allows entry to the lottery but does not require it. Registration is free and collects profile information on the lottery permit applicant.
Once registered, the second step is to submit an online lottery application. Unlike any other lottery in the country, up to five preference points are awarded to applicants who have stayed away from rafting the canyon for the last five years. No points are awarded for losing previous lotteries (and the $25 application fee), as is standard practice for hunting lotteries across thecountry.
The application costs $25, the highest lottery fee for any riverrunning permit in the United States and allows hopeful rafters to choose up to five dates from an online calendar.
River runners will need to decide the size of their group, as the available launch dates shown on the calendar are based on trip size. The two choices for trip size include a small trip size of 8 people or less, and a standard group size of 16 people or less.
Although th e online calendar is divided into motorized and motor-free seasons, none of the small trips are available in the motor-free season.
The number of permits available in the off season greatly exceeds the number of permits in the primary season, so much so that only 13% of river runners in the primary summer season are self guided.
Trip lengths also change based on the time of year, from a forced-march sixteen day primary season trip to a more casual boat-in-the-snow twenty-five days in December and January.
Permits will be awarded shortly after the lottery is held. Be advised that all winners will be charged a $400 deposit prior to actually receiving a launch permit.