Grand Canyon Whitewater gets the chance to partner with various groups to run special “resource” trips each year. These trips run the gamut … some are specifically for research on various subjects like endangered fish, some are archaeological in nature, and some are for trail/campsite re-building and maintenance (read about Brock’s trip experience here). The most recent one that GCW was able to participate in was run alongside representatives of the Zuni Tribe and intended to help preserve a specific petroglyph site. While the resource trips have much intrinsic value to their particular interest areas (archaeology, maintenance, etc.), there are typically numerous added benefits realized along the way. For one, our ability to partner with all different types of groups — National Park Service, Native American tribes and scientist groups. Typically, on these partnered resource trips, the participating commercial outfitter (Grand Canyon Whitewater) provides the equipment, rafts and guides. The guides who are able to run these trips often come away with lots of new knowledge and appreciation for different aspects of Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Whitewater guide, Chris, was the trip leader for our most recent resource trip. Chris shared a bit of his experience with us:
“This trip was incredible. I think this trip was an extremely important and valuable event for everyone involved and for everyone who will ever visit the [site] in the future. It was a privilege and honor to be a part of and to learn so much about this place and continue to grow a deeper respect and appreciation for it.
I know it is our job [as a river guide] to protect, preserve and educate ourselves and our many visitors to the Grand Canyon, so to promote the well-being and quality experience of our natural resource for generations to come. This was the first trip I had been on of this kind and I feel as though I have a stronger respect/connection with the place, now more than ever. This collaboration between ‘tribes,’ so to speak, was and will continue to be a very important action.
We, as a group (Zuni, National Park Service, Arizona River Runners/Grand Canyon Whitewater) were there to protect and preserve the Zuni petroglyph site, trail and visitation platforms. Our goal was to divert the pre-existing social trail so that visitors could see the panel from a safe distance, not right on top of it. We dug trails, moved multiple tons of rock, with the help of our ‘no-wheel’ barrel, covered the pre-existing trail with cactus, rock and dead brush and worked hard together for several days.
When we said our last goodbyes to the NPS and Zuni, it was extremely meaningful for us to be told by the Zuni Elders that it was now up to us, as river runners, to not only continue maintenance of the area, but also to educate the many visitors to this and other sites in our summertime home that is Grand Canyon.”
—Chris S. Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide since 2005
Report on Zuni Resource Trip April 2014