Cut sought in Grand Canyon river trips


The National Park Service seeks to reduce some Colorado River traffic and raise noncommercial river trips in an attempt to balance visitor demand and lessen wear and tear along the water corridor through the Grand Canyon.

The newly released draft of the Colorado River Management Plan would ban motorized river access along 226 miles from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28 (the restrictions now cover Sept. 15 to Dec. 15).

The National Park Service also proposes switching from a waiting list to a weighted lottery for noncommercial boaters. Officials are seeking to increase river trips without commercial guides in spring and fall while keeping commercial river travel close to current levels.


Last summer, a typical day on the river brought one noncommercial launch and three to five commercial launches. The new plan permits one or two noncommercial launches and four commercial launches.

The Park Service also seeks to limit trips along the lower 51 miles of the gorge to 150 passengers daily, but the Hualapai Indian tribe, which permits boating trips on its portion of the river bordering the park, wants as many as 960 passengers on peak summer days, nearly a sixfold increase.

The public comment period ends Jan. 7 and public meetings are scheduled in Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Ariz., San Francisco and Washington, D.C., before a final plan is completed in the spring. For details, go to:

-- Christopher Reynolds