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A Wilderness Resolution for Colorado River Use

in Grand Canyon National Park

Based on a 50% split (commercial vs. self-guided user days)

during an extended primary season


Summary of Comparison with Status Quo, a.k.a. current river allocation



Status Quo Alternative

(Current River Use)

Wilderness Resolution

Primary season

May 1 September 30

April 1 October 31

Launches per day

Commercial = 4-7 launches/day, based on 150 passengers/day.

Self-guided = only 1 launch/day

4 total launches/day

(2 commercial, 2 self-guided)

Commercial allocation

Current use

106,156 user days

Slightly more

107,352 user days/year

Self-guided boater opportunities

Current primary season = 8 launches/week.

20-year wait list.

Extended primary season = double the number of self-guided launches. Significantly reduces wait for river access.

Maximum group size

Commercial = 36 + paid staff

Self-guided trips = 16

18 recreational passengers

Encounters with other groups

Primary season = very high

All motor trips leaving 7 days after non-motor trips will pass non-motor trips.

Fewer launches = fewer encounters. All trips traveling at similar speeds provide opportunity to coordinate with other groups to minimize encounters.


No change

No change. Actually slightly fewer injuries, per available data.

Wilderness Experience

Fair to Poor

No change. Motor noise, large group size, many encounters based on social research.

Good to Excellent

Complies with wilderness policy, quiet trips, appropriate group size, less congestion, fewer encounters.


-Arizona Wilderness Coalition mission statement