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Mon, Feb. 24

Grand Canyon lottery for 2015 noncommercial river trip permits open until Feb. 25

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - On Feb. 1 the National Park Service (NPS) began accepting applications for noncommercial river trip permits to raft the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park.

The permits are for specific launch dates within 2015. A total of 461 permits will be available for 12- to 25-day river trips. Eligible individuals may apply online at the weighted lottery website. To access the website, start from the park's main web page at www.nps.gov/grca and select "River Trips/Permits" then "Weighted Lottery." Applications will be accepted online through noon Mountain Standard Time on Feb. 25.

Each year in February, NPS has a main lottery to assign launch dates for river trips happening the next year. Public notifications about the main lotteries are made by both email and news release. In addition to the annual main lottery, follow-up lotteries are put on as needed throughout the remainder of the year to reassign canceled and/or leftover river trips. Public notifications for these follow-up lotteries are made through email, an RSS feed, and Twitter (twitter.com/GCRiverPermits).

The weighted lottery website can be accessed year-round to create or change an account and to sign-up to receive email notifications. Individuals who are interested in a future noncommercial river permit are strongly encouraged to create an account. Lottery applications are accepted through the weighted lottery web site only when lotteries are open.

Individuals must be 18 years or older to apply for a river trip permit. Noncommercial river trips must be self-guided, and technical whitewater experience is mandatory on each trip. Individuals may participate on a maximum of one recreational river trip per year (commercial or noncommercial).

Individuals interested in professionally-guided river trips should not apply through the lottery, but instead request space on a commercial trip. A list of commercial companies offering guided trips can be found by visiting www.nps.gov/grca, selecting "River Trips/Permits," then "3 to 18 Day Commercial Trips."

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