The one upside of the Government shutdown: more time to get your Grand Canyon bid in.
With the possibility of another Federal Government shutdown deadline looming, officials at Grand Canyon National Park have decided to accept applications to the main public river permit lottery from February 16, 2019 to March 12, 2019.
This lottery, held at the end of February since 2006, decides which do-it-yourself river runner will win and lose river permits for the entire 2020 river year. During the 2018 main lottery, there were 6,650 applicants competing for 463 public trips.
While there are additional lotteries conducted throughout the year, called follow-up lotteries the pickings are still slim. In 2018, one follow-up lottery had 2,345 applicants competing for 25 permits.
As one lottery loser noted, “It’s not the river that is hard to boat, but getting a permit has become the hardest part of the whole trip.” It is not known how many do-it-yourself river runners have opted out of playing the Grand Canyon river permit lottery, but the guess is many, given the fact that you can play for thirty years and never win a permit.
The Grand Canyon river permit lottery is one of the last river lotteries that has not been privatized out to the rec.gov
website. The lottery is strictly online based, and winners are notified solely through email.