Pressed for time? Haven't weighed in with your thoughts on how the Colorado River in Grand Canyon should be managed? Good news! Grand Canyon National Park's extension of the comment period to February 1, 2005 gives us a great opportunity to enlist more commenters, expand our own comments and broaden public participation.

River Runners for Wilderness urges you to submit your thoughts any way you can. We've made it easy. RRFW's improved letters site at www.rrfw.org/letters.php allows you to choose a topic, see bulleted suggestions and craft your own remarks (talking points option) or simply use ours (form letter option). You can spend a little time to make a big difference or spend a little more to make an even bigger difference.

We've heard many times how our federal agencies tend to minimize form letter submissions. While this may be true, logic also tells us that form letter-type submissions, especially if they contain personalized elements, are better than no letters at all. An absence of letters and comments gives the agencies carte blanche to institute whatever is easy or politically expedient and forfeits the valuable right of the public to influence agency decisions.

All of us who love rivers and love the Colorado River in Grand Canyon need to expand awareness of its vulnerability. We need to elevate this issue outside of the domain of recreational river runners and into the minds of the general public. The Grand Canyon belongs to all Americans and the management of it needs to be decided on a much broader scope than it has been in the past. The idea of a wilderness in the Grand Canyon backcountry and its river is a very powerful force. Please get your friends and family involved. Urge them to see our less-than-2-minute-long movie at www.rrfw.org/video.php, which will guide them directly to the form letter option mentioned above to submit comments. It isn't necessary for citizens to know all the details, they only need to urge the Park to enforce the highest level of protection (wilderness) for the river.

Want more background information? Please refer to the "Talking Points" page and "Guide to the Draft CRMP" enclosed. Our site has much more, including past issues of River Journals and our electronic Riverwires (click on Headlines), a slide show, and our Paddle the Plan pages. But that's just the beginning. The ultimate resource for the Colorado River Management Plan and the controversies surrounding the management of the Colorado River is Hijacking a River: A Political History of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park, available in our store (www.rrfw.org/store). For the latest developments, be sure to sign up for our free electronic Riverwires by sending an email to us if you haven't already.