Grand Canyon Wilderness

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chumley
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Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by chumley » Sep 18 2014 10:00 am

split from this post in Trail Courtesy Reminders
Darth Stiller wrote:Go to a WA for that, not a National Park.
All except the corridor in GCNP is federally designated as a Wilderness Area. True for most of Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc.

Many National Parks are tourist meccas, but I think the NPS generally strikes a reasonable balance funneling crowds of tourists into specific areas while leaving the vast majority of the park as a pristine wilderness.
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Re: Trail Courtesy Reminders

Post by DarthStiller » Sep 18 2014 10:08 am

chumley wrote:All except the corridor in GCNP is federally designated as a Wilderness Area
I didn't know that. Still, most of the yelling into canyons I think happens near the top, where the tourons dwell.

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Re: Trail Courtesy Reminders

Post by chumley » Sep 18 2014 10:11 am

I should correct that somewhat. There are obviously areas of roads within the park on both the north and south rim that are not wilderness. But there are also parts of the park above the rim that ARE wilderness (such as Cape Solitude) ... not just below the rim areas.
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Re: Trail Courtesy Reminders

Post by joebartels » Sep 18 2014 10:18 am

Albeit a wilderness, I've seen chainsaws in use at cottonwood camp. Is the corridor a right-of-way for NPS visions?
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Re: Trail Courtesy Reminders

Post by chumley » Sep 18 2014 10:35 am

I stand corrected. :sorrry:

After looking for the exact boundaries of Wilderness in Grand Canyon National Park, I learned that wilderness has never been officially designated. There have been varying revisions to the proposal for about 40 years now but nothing has never been enacted. The NPS manages the park based upon it's proposal, despite not currently being official.

The map of proposed wilderness is on their website here: http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/upload ... ss_Map.pdf

All kinds of fun reading from 40 years ago in the attached PDF.

Note that one sticking point is motorized rafts on the Colorado. By officially designating the entire canyon as a WA, no motorized rafts would be permitted anymore. Currently the NPS allows motorized rafts for part of the year only.

And Joe, Cottonwood is in the corridor ... thus not managed as wilderness. That includes Phantom Ranch and the pumphouse at Roaring Springs too.
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Re: Trail Courtesy Reminders

Post by The_Eagle » Sep 18 2014 10:49 am

@chumley
Good stuff in there!...Did they ever remove the feral Burros? I don't remember anyone seeing any below the rim.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by Dave1 » Sep 18 2014 10:55 am

@The Eagle
They did eliminate some of them by helicopter and :gun:

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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by nonot » Sep 18 2014 6:58 pm

I would like to see the canyon get designated a wilderness to keep the rafts out, but it will never happen as the rafts are major money for the park service.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 18 2014 7:09 pm

No rafts at all, or just no motor rafts? If you mean no motor rafts, I kind of tend to disagree, because private boaters use motors, too. I would like to see more private boater launch dates, and fewer commercial launch dates, but continue to allow limited use of motors (as they do now in summer, but maybe a bit more limited).

The Park Service does not want wilderness status for some very good reasons. It would make it very difficult for them to manage the river, for one thing, since they also would be prevented from using motors. And I would not like to see rangers hampered from helping people on the river. For example, their boats can go upstream if necessary, to help people, and they do. I would not want to make it more difficult for them to manage the park.

This is an ongoing debate amongst river runners. There are several organizations which have various points of view.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Sep 18 2014 7:22 pm

Wouldn't it be easy enough to allow the river corridor to remain non-wilderness, and designate most of the non-river Inner Canyon as wilderness? Such happens all the time with roadways and other access points in NFS wilderness areas. A whole bunch of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness boundary was affected by the system of dirt roads that allow the City Flagstaff to access their wells in the Inner Basin by truck. The Waterline Road itself shoots right through the Wilderness and is essentially a 20 foot wide corridor of non-wilderness as it passes through. Snowbowl on the west side of the Peaks also takes up a big chunk of space that would otherwise be designated wilderness to allow access by truck/snowmobile.
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chumley
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by chumley » Sep 18 2014 7:38 pm

azbackpackr wrote:The Park Service does not want wilderness status for some very good reasons
:-k
Perhaps you didn't have time again, but if you read the attachment, it is quite clear that the Park Service does want wilderness status. They have lobbied for it for 40 years.
azbackpackr wrote:It would make it very difficult for them to manage the river
First of all, wilderness regulations allow for motorized/mechanized use when necessary. If somebody needed to be rescued, there is nothing stopping the NPS from driving a boat upstream to help. Just as when a wildfire threatens valuable resources, mechanized equipment may be used to fight the fire.

On top of that, boating could be written right into the wilderness designation IF the park service wanted it that way:
However, section 4(d)(1) of the Wilderness Act (16 USC 1133(d)(1)) authorizes the Secretary—where legislation designating the wilderness specifically makes this provision applicable—to allow the continuation of motorboat and aircraft use under certain circumstances in which those activities were established prior to wilderness designation.
hippiepunkpirate wrote:Wouldn't it be easy enough to allow the river corridor to remain non-wilderness
Yes if that was the direction they chose to go. You can see there are roads on the north rim that are exempted in the planned wilderness area for just such purposes.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by mazatzal » Sep 18 2014 8:27 pm

Similarly, helicopters are often used in wilderness areas to rescue people or to drop SAR folks.

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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by Hippy » Sep 19 2014 3:56 pm

There's a book all about the river politics and wilderness bills. Hijacking a River is the title I think.
Politics surrounding the GRCA land is chaos what with national park, native tribal lands and the river itself which should be wilderness but isn't...
If people weren't so greedy we'd be able to have this all settled in a week!!

Edit: btw we totally spotted a feral burro out near Boucher about a month ago!!

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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by hikeaz » Nov 28 2014 12:49 pm

After millions of dollars and an exhaustive environmental impact study, the Feds have finally come up with a plan to drastically reduce flyover noise in the Canyon......

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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by nonot » Nov 28 2014 2:03 pm

To keep out the motors, allowing only human powered rafts. Wilderness rules prohibit motorized travel.

The rangers would have to put their backs into it. No different than rangers in any other wilderness area.
azbackpackr wrote:No rafts at all, or just no motor rafts? If you mean no motor rafts, I kind of tend to disagree, because private boaters use motors, too. I would like to see more private boater launch dates, and fewer commercial launch dates, but continue to allow limited use of motors (as they do now in summer, but maybe a bit more limited).

The Park Service does not want wilderness status for some very good reasons. It would make it very difficult for them to manage the river, for one thing, since they also would be prevented from using motors. And I would not like to see rangers hampered from helping people on the river. For example, their boats can go upstream if necessary, to help people, and they do. I would not want to make it more difficult for them to manage the park.

This is an ongoing debate amongst river runners. There are several organizations which have various points of view.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by hikeaz » Nov 29 2014 8:11 am

nonot wrote:To keep out the motors, allowing only human powered rafts. Wilderness rules prohibit motorized travel.

The rangers would have to put their backs into it. No different than rangers in any other wilderness area.
azbackpackr wrote:No rafts at all, or just no motor rafts? If you mean no motor rafts, I kind of tend to disagree, because private boaters use motors, too. I would like to see more private boater launch dates, and fewer commercial launch dates, but continue to allow limited use of motors (as they do now in summer, but maybe a bit more limited).

The Park Service does not want wilderness status for some very good reasons. It would make it very difficult for them to manage the river, for one thing, since they also would be prevented from using motors. And I would not like to see rangers hampered from helping people on the river. For example, their boats can go upstream if necessary, to help people, and they do. I would not want to make it more difficult for them to manage the park.

This is an ongoing debate amongst river runners. There are several organizations which have various points of view.
During the last CRMP that discussed designating the river corridor as wilderness Orin Hatch (head of appropriations committee at the time - not the guy you want to piss off if you were to ever want anything for your state) stepped in and threw his weight around to have that part taken off the table. His extended family owns Hatch River Outfitters who run exclusively motor (engine actually) powered rafts.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 29 2014 8:36 am

I am not in favor of the wilderness status of the river corridor. Okay? So burn me at the stake. I don't believe that many who work as rangers in the Park really want it. especially not river rangers. I would guess that few commercial outfitters would want it, and it's been shown that a significant number of private boaters, after having been helped by people on motor rafts, also do not want it. I support GCPBA's (Grand Canyon Private Boater's Association) effort for compromise solutions for issues to do with the river corridor, working together with the commercial outfitters. Although I like Tom Martin and I recently rowed the gear barge on a trip he was on (a D-D, historic replica wooden boats), I don't agree with some of the ideas put forth by him and his group, River Runners for Wilderness (RRFW). We do however agree on one important point: There should be more launch dates for private boaters, and also private boaters should have an option to run the river more than once a year, especially if they will take some of the many unused winter launch dates. Many private boaters also like to use motors.

Motor season is from April 1 to Sept 15, as I recall. The river rangers always use a motor raft. It gives them a lot more speed and flexibility to deal with problems. If I'm not mistaken during the main seasons they always have several rafts in operation in different places between Lee's Ferry and Diamond.

I am not sure why any of this debate about motor season and launch dates for private boaters would concern hikers. If the Park wants wilderness status for some of the hiking areas that seems fine to me, but I'm not sure what it would accomplish since so much of the park is basically inaccessible anyway except to canyoneers and rough country backpackers. What do you need it for, just to add another layer of bureaucracy? It's already off-limits to mining and logging. No one is going to build a freeway down the Tuckup Trail. So what is the point? It would not have prevented the awful mess going on in the LCR on the Navajo Reservation.

In my opinion, if we are going to put our energies into something to help the Canyon retain some of its pristine nature, let's try to prevent the Escalade project in the LCR. Write your congressman, sign petitions, etc.
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Re: Grand Canyon Wilderness

Post by Jim_H » Nov 29 2014 10:07 am

What is really the issue here? I see the NP fine the way it is now, and see no need for change. Why a sudden need for designation or change? We've come a long way from dumping garbage to attract bears for visitors to watch, the park controls access to several places nicely, the views are good, most people don't leave the rim or go very far, so what is all the fuss about? I've never been bothered by rafts or choppers, and the things that do bother me, such as air pollution from the Page and other coal plants, will never be taken care of by some paper based order.
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