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Formal Comments from the Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance

Re: Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Colorado River Management Plan, Grand Canyon National Park

For the full text of the Alliance's comments, click here.
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Alaska Wilderness League • Arizona Wilderness Coalition • Bluewater Network • Californians for Western Wilderness • Friends of the Earth
Great Old Broads for Wilderness • Kettle Range Conservation Group
Living Rivers • Natural Resources Defense Council
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance • The National Organization for Rivers
REP America • The Rewilding Institute • River Runners for Wilderness
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance • Wilderness Watch

January 31, 2005
Joseph F. Alston, Superintendent
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Dear Superintendent Alston:

The Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance (GCWA) appreciates the opportunity to
comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Colorado River
Management Plan (CRMP). The members of the Alliance represent a broad spectrum of conservation and recreational organizations that are dedicated to preserving the wilderness values of Grand Canyon National Park, particularly the wilderness character of the Colorado River as it transverses the park. Our organizations collectively represent over two million individuals who have a deep concern for the future of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

The National Park Service (NPS) recommended the exceptional wilderness
characteristics of the park for designation to the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1977 and current Park Service policies require that this landscape must be managed for the preservation of its wilderness values. The wilderness recommendation for the region creates a critical obligation for the NPS to frame the CRMP within the context of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

NPS is responsible for managing more wilderness than any other federal land
management agency and has been given the task of protecting the most remarkable examples of our natural and cultural heritage. National Park classification was intended to provide the highest standard of protection for our nation’s most treasured landscapes. National Park wilderness therefore should set the gold standard for wilderness protection in our nation and certainly within the Colorado River corridor, perhaps the finest river wilderness setting in the continental United States.

The Grand Canyon Wilderness Alliance believes that the “Preferred Alternative
H” is unacceptable because it fails to restore the Grand Canyon wilderness experience on the Colorado River. It also fails to conform to applicable law and policy, including, but not limited to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), the National Park Service Organic Act, the Wilderness Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. We urge the Park Service to develop and select an alternative that combines the positive aspects of the non-motorized alternatives B and C plus additional critical changes necessary to protect the river’s wilderness character. Our comments present several crucial issues that
must be resolved in the CRMP in accordance with the Wilderness Act, NPS wilderness mandates, and other legal mandates.


Don Hoffman
Executive Director
Arizona Wilderness Coalition

David Jenkins
Government Affairs Director
REP America (Republicans for
Environmental Protection)

Cindy Shogan
Executive Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Sean Smith
Public Lands Director
Bluewater Network

Michael J. Painter
Californians for Western Wilderness

Veronica Egan
Executive Director
Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Owen Lammers
Executive Director
Living Rivers

Rod Nash
Professor Emeritus
Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Chuck Clusen
Director National Parks Project
Natural Resources Defense Council

Brent Blackwelder
Friends of the Earth

Steve Capra
Executive Director
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Jo Johnson
Grand Canyon Coordinator
River Runners for Wilderness

Liz Thomas
Field Attorney
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Dave Foreman
The Rewilding Institute

TinaMarie Ekker
Policy Director
Wilderness Watch

Tim Coleman
Kettle Range Conservation Group

Eric Leaper
Executive Director
The National Organization for Rivers

Boats jockey for a spot at Havasu Eddy. Photo by Chris Brown.


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