NPS, GCPBA join<br>forces on river
GCNP — Although the Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association has a pending lawsuit against the National Park Service over the suspension of the Colorado River Management Plan, the two organizations will join forces in a few weeks.
The NPS, led by recreation resource planner Linda Jalbert, will be conducting a low steady summer flow experiment on Sept. 7-20. The GCPBA joins the trip through a general agreement with Grand Canyon National Park. Volunteers will perform a number of river-based tasks in support of the ongoing recreation study.
"The purpose of the trip is to collect data on river trip characteristics and safety through observations at rapids and also to conduct some documentation and carrying capacity data," Jalbert said.
"All of this is a structured program that I've been doing for a while. I guess it's a new thing because it's the first time we've used this organization to support park-related recreation science," she added.
The GCPBA had no problem filling up 14 volunteer slots for the 14-day, 13-night, 224-mile trip.
"The GCPBA for a number of years has been trying to work with the park to establish a volunteer program where people could participate in doing things for the park," said the organization's Richard Martin. "The emphasis of the trip is going to be doing this work. We're going to have to move along quickly to cover the distance."
The trip will be the first of sorts for the private boating community, Martin said. There have been other trips in the past in which boatmen have participated as volunteers, but this will be the first trip staffed entirely by GCPBA river volunteers.
Besides the flow experiment, the party will also in other types of data collection involving campsites and will even cleanup trash along the way. Specific types of data being logged include how much time people spend on water vs. the side canyons, the use of campsite beaches and a look at safety aspects around the rapids.
Jalbert said volunteers have been used already this summer for data collection, although they were mostly people hiking in. Jalbert said she was approached by GCPBA with the idea of using them, saying "I put a considerable amount of time into putting together a general agreement."
That agreement states that the group will come up with what the NPS needs. It differs from other volunteer activities because the GCPBA will be doing it mainly on its own. Jalbert will be going on part of the trip. Of the GCPBA group, five are boatmen and the others are people who participate in the surveys.