The National Park Service (NPS) is planning to release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP) for public review and comment in May 2004. The NPS will seek public comment on the Draft EIS once a notice of availability has been posted in the Federal Register. A schedule of public meetings will be announced following release of the draft. The Draft EIS will analyze a full range of reasonable alternatives as well as a draft preferred alternative for managing recreational use on the Colorado River from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead. Issues being addressed in the planning effort include, but are not limited to:

. the range of services and opportunities provided to the public,
. appropriate levels of visitor use consistent with natural and cultural resource protection and preservation mandates,
. allocation of use between commercial and non-commercial groups,
. level of motorized versus non-motorized raft use,
. non-commercial river permit system, and
. continued use of helicopters to transport river passengers from the Colorado River near Whitmore Wash.

Public and stakeholder involvement has been and continues to be very important in this planning process. Information relating to the release of the Draft EIS and how the public can be fully involved in the process will be provided in a variety of ways including postings on the park's website at www.nps.gov/grca/crmp.

The NPS is committed to completing a final NEPA compliance document by December 31, 2004. We appreciate your interest in Grand Canyon National Park and look forward to your continued participation in the revision of the CRMP.

Sincerely, Rick Ernenwein CRMP Planning Team Leader