New GC Orientation Video Available

Grand Canyon National Park has just released a non-commercial trip orientation video on DVD. The video, produced by Round House Productions and narrated by Durango based Tom Bartels, uses stunning photographs and river trip footage and is set to music by Mark Simons and Mellissa Crabtree. Grand Canyon National Park Inner Canyon Ranger Pam Cox plays the leading role as the National Park representative. In one humorous scene, Cox sets up four dishwashing buckets by simply pointing and commanding it to be so. Creative use of time lapse photography adds an additional element to this stunning video.

The video opens with the delightful trill of a Canyon wren while boaters study the Martin-Whitis Grand Canyon Colorado River Guide (available at The video is divided into two sections: Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek, and Diamond Creek to South Cove, and covers a  broad spectrum of river running information. Topics include on- and off-river safety, resource preservation and archeological protection. Campsite tips including dishwashing, handwashing and personal hygiene are also covered.

"This presentation is a huge improvement over the old Lee’s Ferry orientation slideshow” notes Jo Johnson, co-director of River Runners for Wilderness (RRFW). “We have been encouraging the NPS to produce an updated orientation for some time now, and the Park has done a terrific job on it.”

Tom Martin, also with RRFW, hopes the new DVD will streamline the Lee’s Ferry put-in, allowing for earlier trip launches from Lee’s Ferry on launch day. “With new regulations decreasing maximum trip lengths from 18 to 16 days, this new program may eliminate the delay of an entire morning at Lee’s Ferry going through orientation. A simple gear check, mentioned in the video, should be all that’s needed to send non-commercial river runners on their way for an earlier start, provided they have all seen this video.”

The National Park Service is now sending the DVD to all non-commercial trip permit holders. The NPS is also planning to make the entire video available as a download from their web site within the next week or so. Follow the link at Martin recommends all river runners check it out, even if their river trip is years away, or they just want to learn appropriate river running practices. “It’s that good” he notes.

River Runners for Wilderness has a limited number of DVDs available to send out free (free shipping) while supplies last. Go to our store at to order. The Martin-Whitis map and other fine Grand Canyon books are also available in the online store at or by calling (303) 443-1806.