April 2003. T. Destry Jarvis has recently been hired to lobby for the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, a trade association established to protect the economic interests of 16 Grand Canyon river concessionaires. Mr. Jarvis will be influencing the CRMP to benefit his employers, especially in Washington D.C., where he lives. Mr. Jarvis recently noted that powerboats on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon are "necessary for the future good condition of the park and the provision of high quality visitor river experience there." He also stated in a recent article for the Boatman's Quarterly Review (Spring, 2003), that "...all concerned should come to realize that the river experience is enhanced, and the park's resources are better conserved, with motors, while both the experience and the resource are diminished without."
Jarvis' position is that the exceptions to the Wilderness Act that have allowed motors shape the real application of it more than the Act's actual language. This is relevant since his various interpretations of the Wilderness Act appear to hinge on where his paycheck comes from. While employed as Federal Policy Director at National Parks Conservation Association, Jarvis wrote a letter defending the 1980 CRMP's proposed phase-out of motors in Grand Canyon National Park to NPS Director Russell E. Dickenson.
"...the decisions to ban motors in the Grand Canyon...were not made lightly, but only after years of discussion, study and consideration." he admonishes the Director. Mr. Jarvis went on to say, "The Service can not afford to allow additional years of contentious debate on these issues, if progress is to be made in any other of the many problem areas deserving your attention. NPCA urges you to stand firm on these important principles."
"What changed his mind? There have been no amendments to the Wilderness Act, no changes in the underlying spirit, values and principles of Wilderness. The intent of Zahniser and wilderness advocates and contemporaries Olaus Murie, Aldo Leopold, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and Bob Marshall is clear. Time and again they wrote that motorized transportation is antithetical to Wilderness." notes Jo Johnson, co-director of River Runners for Wilderness.
Johnson went on to observe "If Jarvis is so sure powerboats are fine in Wilderness, why is it necessary for him to lobby legislators for a Grand Canyon Wilderness Bill that leaves its heart--the Colorado River--out? Why not just allow Congress to designate the entire Grand Canyon, with the River, Wilderness? Is it possible he isn't convinced and therefore must hedge his, or rather, GCROA's, bets?"
"Now more than ever, we need the peace and solace of motor free Wildernesses in Grand Canyon and elsewhere. The meaning of Wilderness was clear in 1964, it was clear at the time of Mr. Jarvis' 1980 impassioned plea to get rid of motors, and it remains clear now. If there is any place on Earth that deserves to be free of motors, it has to be Grand Canyon." Johnson remarked.