Though it won't be an immediate help to those Colorado River runners beached at Lees Ferry by the shutdown of the National Park System, the National Park Service will refund their permit fees and give them a choice of launch dates in the years to come.
Grand Canyon National Park officials announced Monday that those permit holders will be entitled to reschedule a Colorado River trip with their choice of dates in 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016. The permit holder will be required to submit their choices within 60 days of the government reopening, a park release said.
The maximum number of launches will be adjusted to four per day for the first two days after season opening. After that, the maximum will be three launches per day until the backlog has been cleared. River permit holders with the current launch date will have priority to launch on their scheduled date.
Commercial river companies that have scheduled launches during the government shutdown will be able to carry over lost user days that occurred under the government shutdown in the 2014 season. A user day is equal to one passenger on the river over the period of one day. Therefore, if a company was to launch with 10 passengers for 10 days, they’ll be able to carry over 100 user days in the 2014 season.
Twenty-one private river launches and six commercial launches were scheduled over the first two weeks in October.
“The park worked closely with affected parties to develop this plan, and I appreciate their understanding and support,” stated Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.
Details will be sent to each river permit holder outlining the options in the plan and any priority each may have.
The park is also looking at options for other permit holders, and will provide information on any options it may offer in the near future.