GCNP: Proposed Legislative End-Run (6/4/2001)

Posted: 01/16/2002
by Jason Robertson

The Grand Canyon river concessionaires, through their trade association the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association (GCROA), suggested draft Congressional legislation purportedly to "move forward" the National Park Service's management planning process of the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park.

The introduction of this proposed legislation came in spite of two ongoing court cases seeking to resolve access inequities between private river runners and commercial river concession operators. American Whitewater and the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association (GCPBA) filed one of the refernced lawsuits. Our lawsuit is attempting to restart the comprehensive planning process and is currently in court-ordered settlement discussions. The second case (Randall et al.) asks the court for immediate reallocation relief.

The following is the full text from the proposed legislation:

AMENDMENT TO THE FISCAL YEAR 2002 INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS BILL

SEC. ____. Grand Canyon National Park Colorado River Management Planning.

For the development and completion of a revised Colorado River Management Plan for Grand Canyon National Park, a total amount not to exceed $2,400,000 shall be made available from existing monies heretofore collected for the Colorado River Fund Government Improvement Account: Provided, That, not later than three years after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall complete and adopt a revised Colorado River Management Plan for Grand Canyon National Park:

Provided further, that, in developing the revised Colorado River Management Plan, the Secretary shall consider whether the overall current level of recreational use of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park can be increased consistent with the goals of maintaining or enhancing resource values and providing a quality visitor experience:

Provided further, that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, until the effective date of new Grand Canyon National Park river running concession contracts, awarded upon the basis of a prospectus issued in conformance with a revised Colorado River Management Plan, there shall be no interruption in the availability to the public of self-outfitted or professionally-outfitted recreational river running opportunities at Grand Canyon National Park and the existing concession contracts for the provision of river running services at Grand Canyon National Park shall remain in effect:

Provided further, that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the availability of motorized recreational river running opportunities at Grand Canyon National Park shall not be significantly reduced or eliminated, absent a written finding by the Secretary that allowing the continuation of such motorized use results in an irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources, until such time as Congress acts with respect to wilderness at Grand Canyon National Park.

Jason D. Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349