One of, if not the, most-sought permits in the National Park System is the one that allows private groups to run the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. If you want one, the park is now taking applications for the 2012 calendar year.
Park officials have 436 permits to hand out for 2012 launch dates. Trips can run from 12 to 25 days. Eligible individuals may apply online at the park's weighted lottery web site, which you can access by clicking here.
Applications will be accepted online through noon on February 23, 2011.
Each year in February, a main lottery is held to assign launch dates for river trips occurring the next year. Public notifications regarding main lotteries are made by both e-mail and press release. In addition to the annual main lottery, follow-up lotteries are held as needed throughout the remainder of the year to reassign canceled and/or left-over river trips.
Public notifications for these follow-up lotteries are made through e-mail or an RSS Feed.
The weighted lottery web site can be accessed for free year-round to create or modify an account and to sign-up to receive email notifications. Individuals who are interested in a future 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 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.”
For more information about the 2012 weighted lottery, please visit the Grand Canyon National Park web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/whitewater-rafting.htm or contact the River Permits Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-959-9164 or 928-638-7884.