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Westwater Issues New Reservation Permit System (UT)

Posted: 11/14/2002
by Jason Robertson

Moab, Utah - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has changed the permit system on Westwater Canyon for 2003. According to the BLM website (www.blm.gov/utah/moab/ww-info.html the permit system was changed "in response to high cancellation rates associated with the annual lottery over the last several years."

The BLM received 2500 permit applications and only issued 431 permits via the lottery this year, unfortunately there was a 60% attrition or cancellation rate during July-Sept. While 2002 was a low water year, this extremely high attrition rate has been representative of the past several "normal" water years.

The new system is in some ways a gamble; the BLM is waiting to see whether the streamlined application process is generally accepted and if it reduces the high percentage of cancellations during the summer. If the system proves efficient and meets the public's needs, then there is a possibility that the permit system may be used elsewhere.

Under the new system a permit is required year-round to run Westwater Canyon. Permits are issued only through advance reservation to individuals 18 years and older. The maximum group size is 25 people.

American Whitewater is optimistic about the new permit system, which has several interesting features:

  1. Launches are available 2 months in advance.
  2. Launches are alloted on a first-come first-serve basis by phone at 435-259-7012.
  3. Five permits or 75 people (whichever capacity is utilized first) are allowed access each day.
  4. No application forms are required, all you do is call.
  5. The phones will be answered Monday-Friday 8 am - 12 pm (excluding federal holidays).
  6. Walk-in reservations may also be made after 9 am.
  7. Payment ($7/person) must be made in advance, and is due 30 days in advance of launch.
  8. There is a cancellation system for permits to be redistributed if payment is not recieved or if a group notifies the office that they are unable to use their permit.
  9. Permits may be modified... twice.
  10. An online calendar shows the permit availability. 2002 Calendar. 2003 Calendar.
  11. Visitor rules are clearly defined.
AW will be tracking the effectiveness of the new system. If you have any experiences with the new Westwater permits that you would like to share with us, we will be glad to forward your comments to the BLM.
Jason D. Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349