On Tuesday, November 27th, Judge David Campbell released his ruling on the case brought against Grand Canyon National Park’s Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP.) Judge Campbell’s opinion denied all counts brought before him.
“We're disappointed, but not discouraged by the judge's opinion,” said Tom Martin, Co-Director of the national grassroots organization River Runners for Wilderness (RRFW.) “We entered the case prepared to take it as far as necessary, and we'll be discussing the decision with our attorneys in the near future to decide our next steps.” There is a 60 day window to file an appeal.
RRFW joined with conservation groups Rock the Earth, Wilderness Watch and Living Rivers to bring the suit.
The plaintiff groups contend that the Park Service violated its own policies in how it treats the proposed Colorado River wilderness, allowing motorized tour boats and a preponderance of commercial activities versus noncommercial wilderness recreation.
“Judge Campbell's ruling is inconsistent with other recent court rulings,” noted George Nickas of partner plaintiff Wilderness Watch, “and we disagree with a number of his findings.”
John Weisheit of Utah based Living Rivers noted “This plan isn’t about protecting a National Park but about commercialization of a resource. We obviously need to redouble our efforts to bring the Park Service into compliance with the Organic Act.”
Regardless of the lawsuit outcome, the groups note the issues of wilderness protection for the Colorado River and equitable access to the wilderness river are not going to go away. According to Marc Ross, Rock the Earth Executive Director, “What’s at stake is incredibly important to all Americans. If we can’t find peace and solitude in Grand Canyon National Park, then soon there won’t be anywhere in the country where one could go to experience natural quiet.”
RRFW would like to thank all those who have contacted volunteers Jo Johnson and Tom Martin in the last few days, expressing their continuing support and their displeasure with the Judge’s ruling.
The Judge’s opinion can be read at
To see an Associated Press article on this story, see: