July 2002. You may be aware that the 16 river concessioners in Grand Canyon formed the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association (GCROA) several years ago to represent commercial interests in the Colorado River Management Plan planning process. GCROA's paid Executive Director organized a group of selected representatives of interested parties to present an alternative access plan to Grand Canyon National Park Planners. This group is called "Firewalk".
Some of the proposed solutions of FireWalk are:
-Non-commercial boaters will agree to travel on a schedule.
-Trips of 18 to 21 days will be eliminated since they are seen as the cause of campsite crowding.
-A reasonable level of motorized use is compatible with the Wilderness Act.
-Concessions services will give up some user days during peak (summer) months.
-Concessions services will expand commercial use into the shoulder season (spring and fall) to retain their total allocation.
The Wilderness Act clearly states that motors are not allowed in wilderness except in very limited circumstances (i.e. transportation to reach private property), whether its category is "proposed/study", "recommended", "potential" or "designated". Stay tuned to future Riverwires for more on the Wilderness Act.
You might be interested in Firewalk's participant list. They are:
-Mark Grisham, Executive Director, Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association
-Les Hibbert , Wilderness River Adventures
-Richard Quartaroli, President, Grand Canyon River Guides
-Drifter Smith, Board of Directors, Grand Canyon River Guides
-Jason Robertson, Access Director American Whitewater & Board Member, Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association,
-Richard Martin, President, Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association
-Destry Jarvis, Retired National Park Service
-Tom Robison, Director of Government Affairs, Grand Canyon Trust
-Earl Perry, non-commercial boater, retired River Ranger
-Ben Harding, non-commercial boater, river activist
-Jeffery Cross, Science Center Director, Grand Canyon National Park
-Linda Jalbert, Recreation Planner, Grand Canyon National Park.
Is your voice represented here, or do you feel non-commercial boaters have given up too much access and wilderness protection already? Firewalk's scenario could be a reality without YOUR HELP. Please take a few minutes to consider the issues and get involved. Grand Canyon needs your help to protect it from self-serving commercial interests seeking to hurry up your Grand Canyon experience. Your comments are accepted through September 20, 2002. You can send comments or make them in person at one of the 4 scoping sessions. To comment by mail, send your thoughts, along with your name and address, to:
Grand Canyon National Park
PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or attend one of 4 public scoping meetings. For more information on these sessions, visit www.nps.gov/grca/crmp.