Colorado river rafting

GTS in full swing!

As was mentioned in a previous blog, Grand Canyon River Guides puts on a yearly Guide Training Seminar (GTS) before the Colorado River rafting season starts. This year, it was on March 28-29, 2015 and held at Hatchland in Marble Canyon, Arizona. This year’s focus and sessions were intertwined – protecting the Grand Canyon and river heritage – the notion of knowing our past so that one can be involve in the future.

Hatch thought it might be fun to share some of the learnings provided by the GTS seminar starting with the early presentations. The morning started with introductions from GC Youth, GC Historical Society, Whale Foundation, NAU’s Adopt-a-beach, GC Association, NPS Public Health, Invasive Species Action Net, and NPS river ranger.

One of the most interesting and pertinent topics was the summary of the high flow events. Zeke Lauck, from Northern Arizona University, talked about his findings on Glen Canyon Dam’s high flow event (HEF) from 1996 to 2013. Did it improve the beaches on the Grand Canyon with expanded camp area, better parking and easier access due to the high flow? The 2012 hydrograph shows the most improvement (83%) where the flow is more tapered from high to low and not too much fluctuation. According to Lauck, the most important variable to consider is the events (big rainstorm, etc.) in the months prior to the HFE.

Helen Ranney, from Grand Canyon Association, talked about restoration projects at the Bright Angel trail-head, Kolb studio, Desert view, Mather Point Amphitheater and Tribal Medallion. Ranney wove her story, opening with how she was a soccer mom and has now become a passionate advocate for the Grand Canyon.

Martin Stephens, from the NPS Public Health, talked about recent bat incidents. In July of 2014, a bat fell on the trail at North Kaibab and another bat fell on a person at Desert View. Come October 2014, private rafters went into a cave near Granite camp that disturbed some bats and while the rafters’ were sleeping, a bat was feeding on somebody’s lower lip! The park’s advice is to try to safely capture the rabid bat should one encounter one on the trail. If one thinks they are compromised, try to get the rabies result first before getting the shots (don’t be too quick in getting rabies shots). A side note from an audience, do your research on rabies exposure treatment by contacting several hospital especially if you are paying for it (example, $50k in one hospital but two hour drive away was $10k).

The park service gave some simple advice on big topics. Emily Omana of NPS stated that as far as the Quagga mussels already at Lake Powell since 2013 -"Clean, Drain and Dry." It’s a simple slogan but can make a big impact in stopping the spread to other waterways.

The NPS river ranger, Brian Bloom, warned the guides that the pipeline work at Phantom Ranch is still ongoing and the possibility of water being turn off sometimes at the boat beach, so be prepared.

An incredible amount of valuable information transposes from ear to ear and the learning at an event such as this cannot be beat. Colorado River rafting greatly benefits from those in the community sharing knowledge and discussing current events. Stay tuned for a summary about the afternoon seminars.

A Summary Colorado River Rafting Topics from the Morning at GTS was last modified: July 22nd, 2015 by Katy Nelson

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