January, 2014. When boating season begins, the last thing you want is to get psyched about a river trip and find out you’re too late for a permit. Use early January – which let’s face it, is really one BIG Monday – to get your permits in order. Remember that most applications are due by Jan. 31st! Click on the following link to check out complete information and useful links to permit sites. River Permit Information for 2014
River Permit Information for 2014-15
Make sure you have your paperwork in order so you can launch when you want whether it’s wilderness, whitewater or great fishing that you’re after. Check out this and lead your own trip. Click on the blue links below for applications, maps, dates, shuttle information and more.
Let’s start with the Rio Chama. For Chama permit information, call the BLM @ (575) 758-8851 and ask for a postcard application. Your $6 application must be submitted by Jan. 31st, 2014, for the lottery for the scheduled summer weekend releases. Keep in mind that it is much easier to get a non-fee weekday permit by telephone application after April 1st, and there is a period before and after the main summer months when you may apply for permitting by phone. Click here for more information.
Let’s talk Rio Grande – Taos Box while we’re in New Mexico. This stretch has a short season, from May through June, and is not for the faint of heart, with class III-V whitewater for a 17-mile day trip. Permits are self-issued and non-fee at the Dunn’s bridge put in. Click here to learn more.
Speaking of short seasons, let’s move up to the Dolores, where the season is often non-existent. Let’s hope that there is enough late-winter snowfall in the San Juans to allow us to boat this beautiful river in ’14! In a year with average snowpack, the BOR regulates dam releases from McPhee Reservoir that allow the Dolores to be floatable from late April into June. Permits are not required on Colorado sections of the river, but overnight trips must register at the put-in. Utah sections of the Dolores must be permitted. Click here for more information.
Another great Colorado destination is the Yampa. Permitting on the Yampa/Dinosaur National Monument is a bit more difficult though. Applications, along with the $15 application fee, are due by Jan. 31st. You can apply online through www.recreation.gov. New for 2014: while applicants can only file for one application, they can now choose up to four possible launch dates/river choices on the application. Call (970) 374-2468 between 8am and 12pm for the River Office at Dinosaur, or for general information, click here. There are separate fees for multi-day and one-day permits, and 300 permits are drawn in a lottery for the “high use season”, which runs from the second Monday in May through the second Friday in July. Cancellations are also be available during this season. The 300 permits also include permitting for the Canyon of Lodore on the Green, see below. Cancellations are also available during this season.
You may use the above phone number or hyperlink to access information about the Green River/Canyon of Lodore, which will also take you through Dinosaur. Unfortunately, the lottery application is for both rivers, and you may only apply for one. Tip: there are fewer requests for the Green than the Yampa, during the high season.
Not to worry though, there are plenty of other great sections of the Green River. For world class fly fishing, check out the A, B, and C Sections below Flaming Gorge Dam. These sections are mostly class II whitewater and Red Creek Rapid which is called a class III. No permitting is required, and camping is only allowed in the B section. While the A section is a beautiful stretch of river, and there are lunkers right below the dam, it gets a lot of pressure, with the B getting a bit less pressure, and it is worth spending a night or two exploring the many holes and pockets in the B section. For more information, click here.
Moving into Utah on the Green, check out Desolation/Gray Canyons. Permits are required year round on this 95-mile section of intermediate whitewater. Call the toll-free reservation line 1-877-444-6777 for information. Starting December 1, 2013, and through January 31, 2014, online applications may be submitted at www.recreation.gov for launch dates between May 1 and September 30. Anyone 18 years of age or older at time of launch may submit an application with a $6 application fee. Click here for more info.
Now that we’re in Utah, let’s talk big water on the Colorado. Why not start with the 17-mile stretch known as Westwater and move downstream from there. Like Deso./Gray, Westwater is permitted with a call in system. You may ask for a launch date up to 2 months from your call in date. Call (435) 259-7012 to obtain a permit. Permitting is done through the BLM in Moab, and trips can be extended by starting in the permit free Ruby/Horsethief sections upstream. Click here for more info.
Downstream, permitting for Cataract Canyon is done through Canyonlands National Park: (435) 259-4351. Click here for more information on this 70 mile stretch of big whitewater, and make sure to check water levels in Lake Powell for takeout information. Permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis available no more than four months and no less than two days prior to the permit start date. The permit fee is $30 + $20 per person. Permits allow for up to 40 people per trip.
And we get to the big one, The Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Grand permitting is by weighted lottery, with a $25 fee to submit your application. The weighted part involves “preference points” based on number of years since the applicant has last been down this section of river, also PATL’s (potential alternate trip leaders) and “extra chances” for those transferred from the old wait list that was done away with in 2006. Needless to say, it is complicated, but you’ll want to get your user profile into the system ASAP to be considered for the 2015 first and main lottery taking place Feb. 1st to 24th, 2014. Click here to do that and read the very informative FAQ section or call 1-800-959-9164.
Looking for a more mellow trip and permitting process? Check out the San Juan River in Utah, permitted by lottery through the BLM. Call (435) 587-1544 or click here for more info and the application. This is a great family stretch of river, with mellow whitewater, fantastic hikes and views, including ruin and petroglyph viewing. Permit applications are due by Jan. 31st.
Though we’re a bit last minute, we’d like to mention the Salt River in Arizona. Permit applications are due by Jan. 15th. Check here for more information and the application.
Let’s see now, what are we forgetting? Oh yeah, Oregon and Idaho! The Hells Canyon of the Snake is a great scenic stretch. Click here for information on a permit application. Also, the Main and Middle Forks of the Salmon, and the Selway, are all subject to the 4 Rivers Permit Lottery. Click here for more information on these beautiful stretches.
We hope this list will help you jump on the permitting bandwagon. Big thanks to rivergeek.com for a wealth of information. Go to this site for these and other rivers not included in this list.