GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — With the possibility of another government shutdown on the horizon after Feb. 15, Grand Canyon National Park will hold its annual non-commercial river trip lottery Feb. 16-March 12.
According to River Runners for Wilderness, the draft lottery system has been held at the end of February since 2006, and the odds of securing a private trip for 2020 are a longshot. The non-profit organization said during the 2018 main lottery, there were 6,650 applicants for 463 available trips.
After the main lottery, the park does hold follow-up lotteries if additional trips become available, but RRFW said in 2018, there were more than 2,000 additional applicants competing for 25 permits.
The non-commercial river trip lottery is a weighted lottery, according to Grand Canyon’s river trip permit website. This means that people who have never received a permit or received one in the distant past are given more points, or chances, to be granted a permit over those who have been drawn for trips more recently. Those who wish to enter the lottery must complete a profile at https://grcariverpermits.nps.gov and pay the associated fees to enter this year’s lottery. Applications will not be accepted prior to Feb. 16 and can only be completed online.
Requirements to be granted a permit include being at least 18 years old, being self-guided and having at least one person in the group who is a qualified boat operator. The boat operator must have participated in a previous Grand Canyon river trip as a boat-operator in command of a boat or participated as a boat-operator in command of a boat on a river of similar difficulty to the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.