Grand Canyon Whitewater recently teamed up with the National Park Service to run an 18-day Colorado River trip. A handful of our guides helped park service folks clean up campsites and trails and enjoyed the opportunity to learn even more about the Grand Canyon. One of our boatmen, Brock, wrote about the trip for us, and we’d like to share it with you!
“Grand Canyon, wow! What an incredible and magical place. Anyone who has had the opportunity to experience this natural wonder will forever be inspired, and the spirit of The Canyon will always be with you. There are not too many places on earth that have the same effect on people as the Grand Canyon. Being a commercial river guide in the canyon comes with huge responsibility. We are not only there to facilitate a safe and fun experience for our clients, but to also educate and protect this precious resource we all have available to us.
On Feb. 18, 2013, Grand Canyon Whitewater and the National Park Service launched on an 18 day oar trip in a cooperative effort to preserve and protect this special place. The park staff consisted of natural and cultural resource management specialists, river rangers, archeologists, maintenance staff and interpretive specialists. Grand Canyon Whitewater provided 5 oar boats, food, all the necessary kitchen and camp supplies, and 7 boatmen. Our goal: team up to conduct rehabilitation and maintenance projects at several campsites along the Colorado River Corridor; make stops for re-photography, project monitoring and project planning; and address impact at camps, including social trails, vegetation damage, and trail erosion. The effort put forth was amazing. It is awesome to see what can be accomplished with a motivated crew who all have so much love and time invested in the canyon. The work was totally gratifying. You could step back after a project was completed and really feel like there was something positive done. Everyone had their own specialties to contribute, which, when combined, created a spectacular team. The campsite and trail work was a huge part of the trip, but the relationship between commercial guides and the Park Service was invaluable. As a commercial guide, we interact with hundreds of people every season. To be able to share with our clients what has to happen down here to protect this place is priceless. The more people we can expose and educate about Grand Canyon or any other natural resource, the more they are going to want to protect it, and that is what it is all about.
The trip traveled downstream stopping whenever we could to take project monitoring photos, conduct litter sweeps of camps, and take an occasional lay-over day to complete some of the larger projects. Archeologists were on hand to educate on specific sites as well to share knowledge of historic and prehistoric people of the area. We even got to find a big horn sheep locating collar that was programmed to release from the sheep after a designated time. Of course time was spent at camp eating, telling stories and playing music around the campfire making friends.
Seventeen days later, we rolled into Diamond Creek. As with all river trips, the end is always bittersweet, but the work that was accomplished on this trip will not end when the gear trucks head back up the dirt road to civilization. Our efforts will continue to affect future trips that visit these sites, the clients we educate, and the relationships made between the Park Service and commercial river companies.“
We were so glad to be part of such a cool endeavor. We really think Grand Canyon is an amazing place, one that everyone should have the opportunity to experience and appreciate at least once in their lifetimes. We hope you’ll help us preserve this remarkable place, so every visitor will find it exactly as beautiful and awe-inspiring as those who first set eyes on Grand Canyon.
Photos: Guides Kenny, Thea, Tim, Brock and Brie clear a trail.