Rock Garden - Grand Canyon NewsBlog

Grand Canyon NewsBlog

Recent, not so recent, and some future events and activities.

June 2017. Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers (GCHBA) and River Runners for Wilderness (RRFW) continue support for bison management (not eradication) on the Kaibab Plateau. The bison will stay with the latest NPS proposal to reduce numbers from more than 400 estimated to 'less than 200'.

December 2016. Linda Jalbert who has led the BMP effort retires.

September 2016. Chris Lehnertz is the new superintendent.

May 2016. Dave Uberuaga retires, unable to sustain his position with the harassment controversy. Although the incidents occurred before he took office, the failure to detect and respond to problems requires new leadership. However, this change also sets work on the BMP to the backlist again.

February 2016. After many NPS contacts and discussions on the BMP and on the GCHBA Facebook group, GCHBA formal comments are finalized. There is a generally broad consensus, including many commercial guides, opposing the concession system.

January 2016. Report on hostile work environment and sexual harassment on NPS science river trips.

November 2015. After a long and unexplainable delay the proposed Backcountry Management Plan is released. The major feature of the preferred alternative is a backcountry guiding concession with an allocation of 10% of user days. Lively discussion topic on Facebook.

Unfortunately, we lost the effort to limit air-tours and make seasonal quiet periods in the Hermit and Marble Canyon areas due to legislative override of NPS regulations by the 2012 Congress.

Controversy erupts in various GC backcountry user groups over packrafting, proposed regulations, and an arbitrary closure of Deer Creek Narrows largely blamed on careless canyoneering in the slot.

Superintendent Dave Uberuaga takes on managing Grand Canyon National Park in July 2011 after a long career at Mount Rainer.

NPS releases proposed air-tours and overflights policy Open for public comment thru June 6, 2011.

2011 Jan: Steve Martin retires as Superintendent -- his effective Park leadership has been appreciated and will be missed.

Grand Canyon Hikers Symposium fourth edition presented October 9, 2010 at Grand Canyon, Shrine of the Ages.

Amendment to bypass overflights policy development FAILS (see why here).

Winter comes early to Grand Canyon fall of 2009 with a series of heavy snowstorms -- red and white becomes the Canyon. Hiking is still good.

GCHBA service project at Bright Angel, Oct 1-8, 2009.

Overflights progress meeting by NPS and FAA at Flagstaff on July 28. The main points of the NPS proposal are -- overall soundscape restoration approaching 70% and important daily, hourly, and seasonal restrictions:
o-- East and west area routes remain as short helicopter loops -- but no helicopter tours out the east route over the Kaibab Plateau and back.
o-- Dragon/Hermit. Airplane tours will continue to fly the big Plateau loop but on restricted hours.
o-- East route is moved west away from the Little Colorado confluence.
o-- All tour route elevations are raised so no aircraft below the Walhalla cliffs in Nankoweap.
o-- Morning and evening curfews increased (and enforced).
o-- Restricted flight area in the east zone substantially enlarged which should eliminate the "Sunrise Tour" from GC Airport to Page.
o-- No Marble Canyon tour routes -- none, zero, closed.
o-- Daily flight cap for each operator rather than trading annual allocations between the companies.
o-- All "transportation" flights moved away from the Park except Quiet Technology aircraft.
o-- Proposed Best Available Quiet Technology aircraft conversion within 10-15 years.

A difficult season this year with a significant number of serious fatal and non-fatal incidents. April - four hikers attempt to swim across to Bright Angel below Black Bridge; 1 turns back and 3 drown. June - solo dayhiker fatality in Hermit Basin. July - suicide at GC Village drives off rim near El Tovar. July - solo hiker dies of heat/dehydration after diverting to Bonita Ck on the Thunder River Trail. Late summer deaths continue: Marble Canyon Navajo Shinumo Wash; east of Cremation solo; Lava Falls route solo. Most are dayhikers and none of these are hikers with a permit.

GCHBA springtime meeting scheduled for Sunday, April 5 -- same time and place as always (see info below).

Grand Canyon Hikers Symposium third edition on April 4, 2009 at Grand Canyon, Shrine of the Ages. Program Schedule

Murder/Suicide at Grand Canyon writes end of the story of Maverick and Shirley.

GCHBA fall season meeting scheduled for Nov 2.

Due to major rains and flooding in the area the 2008 summer, Havasu area has taken severe damage and is expected to remain closed until next spring.

GCHBA 2008 spring board meeting at the Grand Canyon Recreation Center April 20 at 09:00. Members and guests are always welcome to attend. The Rec Center is located in the GC Village residential area. Turn onto Albright Drive from Center Road and continue past the Albright Academy to an unmarked road on the right with a yellow Dead End sign. Take this road a short distance to the Rec Center parking area.

GCHBA continues participation in the Grand Canyon Overflights Working Group at Scottsdale AZ, Dec 4 and 5, 2007. The WG result does not reach a consensus solution and the final overflights rule will be decided by the agencies -- NPS and FAA.

GCHBA fall season service project. The target is for the week following the symposium but details are still pending.

GCHBA 2007 fall board meeting follows the Hikers Symposium on October 21 at the Grand Canyon Recreation Center.

Grand Canyon Hikers Symposium second edition will take place October 20, 2007 at Grand Canyon, Shrine of the Ages. Program Schedule

GCHBA continues participation in the Grand Canyon Overflights Working Group at Scottsdale AZ, Sep 19 and 20. Sep 19 session will be closed.

Grand Canyon Overflights Working Group session at Scottsdale AZ, Jun 12 and 13. First session with Steve Martin. NPS role is more assertive than past meetings.

Steve Martin is designated new superintendent. Both Joe and Steve are "below-the-rim" supers, and have made -- are making -- a good effort to overcome the recent history of flawed development plans for "above-the-rim" services.

Joe Alston resigns as GCNP superintendent in Jan 2007. The GCHBA relationship with Joe and park staff has been postive and he will be missed.




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