Grand Slam: How to Get a Grand Permit!


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How to Get a Grand Permit
Grand Canyon Lottery Primer now on line

So you want to run the Grand? So does everyone else and his brother (and Paddling Life’s own Nick Hinds just got off the trip—look for a complete Grand Canyon gear review soon).

With the recent overhaul in lottery regulations, coincidentally we here at Paddling Life have heard of more and more people heading down to the Big Ditch of late. Paddlers are teaming up to pool their allocation points, and many seem to be finally getting their chance. The bad news is that with the pooling comes less space for tag-alongs. To get high enough up on the list to get a permit usually takes three or parties’ worth of points, and with trip sizes capped at 16, that doesn’t leave much room for riff-raft.

Many also feel the new regulations still aren’t equitable to private boaters. “The allocation is still way out of line,” says Tom Martin, co-director of River Runners for Wilderness. “The self-guided river runners go through a lottery for 13 percent of the summer access vs. the concessionaires pay-and-go for the other 87 percent. While the Grand Canyon goes back to a lottery they tried in the 1970s, other rivers are moving away from lotteries to posting an on-line calendar. Let’s face it, lotteries are government-sponsored gambling, nothing less. The Grand Lottery is the costliest of all river lotteries in the U.S., as are the other permit fees Grand Canyon National Park hits self-guided river runners with.”

To help private paddlers run the Grand, Martin’s River Runners for Wilderness has published a Grand Canyon Lottery Information Primer online for self guided river runners looking to try their luck in the Grand Canyon Lottery scheduled for May 2007, for the 2008 river season. This step-by-step tutorial features Web page images captured from the Grand Canyon National Park Web site during last year’s lottery with text explanations to help navigate the process. The Primer covers the two-step registration and lottery process, beginning with how to set up a free User Profile to be eligible to register for the lottery and then walks you through the second step—the actual lottery entry which takes place when the NPS conducts the online permit lottery. Topics covered include group size, fees, and Potential Alternate Trip Leader information.
The Primer is available for download as an Adobe PDF file of 6.3MB at: by clicking on the following link:
Detailed information with copies of actual NPS web pages about the lottery application process (6.3MB PDF).

More Info
According to the National Park Service, online applications for this spring’s lottery will be accepted from May 1 through noon on May 28, with the drawings taking place May 31. A calendar is posted on the Grand Canyon National Park Service Web site showing available launch dates through the lottery. The Park Service expects to hold the calendar year 2009 main lottery in February 2008. To receive RiverWire alerts, email Info:
The monthly online launch calendar is available on the Park’s Web site at under the “Download the April 2007 Recreational Launch Calendar here” link. The calendar includes non-commercial, commercial, research, NPS and other administrative trips as well as calendars for Phantom Ranch exchanges, Whitmore exchanges, and Diamond Creek takeout information. The monthly calendars are anticipated to be posted a month in advance, as information availability and staff workload allows. “Creating the calendars is a bit labor intensive but we will make every effort to provide the best possible information,” says the Park’s Outdoor Recreation Planner Kirstin Heins, adding that the information is consolidated from four different sources. Adds Martin: “This will be a great help to self-guided river runners. It’s great that the Park has now made this effort to foster more communication in the river running community.”

How to Run the Grand Primer

River Runners for Wilderness has also released a new online resource for planning a self-guided rafting journey through the Grand.

Based on the popular “Wikipedia” format and called “Rafting Grand Canyon”, the web based site is a free web-based “how-to” guide for all aspects of river rafting in Grand Canyon. Written by river runners for river runners, the topics include pre- and post-river trip planning information, on-the-river information, the Grand Canyon National Park river runner orientation video, and a resources section. Visitors can read from beginning to end or search on a particular topic of interest.

Anybody wanting to update or add information can simply set up a user ID and password for the site, then go to the topic you are interested in and click the “discussion” tab. Discussions will be read by the editors and appropriate content added to the topic.

Jo Johnson, Co-director of River Runners for Wilderness, says the concept is simple. “This RiverWiki is a work in progress about rafting Grand Canyon. The wiki style allows users to participate, learn from others, and share information, so it will constantly evolve. The site is able to adapt to on-the ground changes as they occur and includes a wide array of topics and alternatives.”

The RiverWiki has an eleven person editorial board that will edit readers’ comments and add them to the site. The editorial board consists of Steve Christenson, Hazel Clark, Mary Fleishman, Jo Johnson, Tom Martin, Tom Robey, Jenny Russell, Len Thurman, Nancy Seamons, Richard Stoops, and Kerry Walsh.

The Rafting Grand Canyon web site is at and is a free service to river runners, sponsored by River Runners for Wilderness. Check it out today—read, join, contribute and tell your friends to make this the best source of Grand Canyon river running information anywhere.

Staff Post
Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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