November, 2003. Thanks to all the folks who called into your elected officials about Representative Radanovich's (R-CA) river-less "wilderness" proposal. The wilderness documents, with the Colorado River omitted, were requested from Grand Canyon National Park by the representative's office. RRFW has learned that these documents are being forwarded to his staff, but the representative has not yet submitted a bill based on this material.
Your congressional leaders heard you loud and clear, and it helped! It turns out many congressional members do not take kindly to this sort of back door approach to wilderness management, especially at a place like Grand Canyon National Park. Indications are that a member of congress will submit a counter bill with the river included. This will be done in the event a bad river-less wilderness bill is introduced, to stop the bad bill so that the public process is allowed to continue.
The Radanovich spurn-the-river proposal would circumvent the public management plan that has already generated over 50,000 comments. The clear signal from congress is that the on-going Colorado River Management Plan should be allowed to run its course without pressure from the park's own river concessionaires to bypass the public process. "There is no doubt we will need to keep up the pressure with more phone calls in the future" notes Jo Johnson, River Runners for Wilderness co-director. "We are grateful to Grand Canyon lovers who have been responsive to this issue. Circumventing the process allows the nightmare of fixed allocations to continue while trashing park wilderness values."
RRFW will continue to keep you informed of developments as they happen.