September, 204. River Runners for Wilderness has learned that Notice of Availability (NOA) for Grand Canyon National Park's draft Colorado River Management Plan has been signed by Secretary of Interior Gale Norton. This authorizes the National Register, the federal government's equivalent of a daily newspaper, to publish a notice of the draft plan's availability on behalf of the park and features a short description of the process and deadlines to comment on the plan. The announcement should appear in the National Register next week, possibly later, at http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/publications/hot_off_the_press… .
The draft plan is expected to be lengthy, in the neighborhood of 800 pages, which will be published in paper versions by the Government Printing Office. Typically, proposed management plans are also made available as downloadable files on an agency's website, with files available on CD on request.
After the announcement in the National Register and public release of the draft, the park will hold a series of public meetings during November, with comments accepted until the end of this year or soon after the beginning of next year. By settlement agreement, meetings must be held in Phoenix and Flagstaff, Arizona, and in Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. It is likely the park will again hold meetings in California and in the Washington, DC area. Less likely is a meeting in Las Vegas since this location was very poorly attended during the park's first round of meetings. Copies of the draft plan will be available in selected city libraries.
At its first availability, River Runners for Wilderness will diligently digest the draft plan and report in Riverwire alerts, on our website at www.rrfw.org, and in our newsletters our findings and recommendations. November, with election day and holidays, will be a busy and challenging month for everyone interested in the outcome of the Colorado River Management Plan. Still, we at River Runners for Wilderness strongly urge vigorous public involvement at this most crucial time for concerned citizens.