The Hualapai's announcement of the river trips baffled groups representing both commercial river trips and self-guided trips. John Dillon, executive director of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, said upriver travel above Separation Canyon, where two tributaries enter the river from the north and south about 40 miles from Lake Mead, clearly is prohibited by the Park Service.
"We're not allowed to deviate from that plan," he said. "We can't just think of an idea we'd like to do and do it. I think that's where everyone had pause."
Tom Martin of River Runners for Wilderness said he's not entirely convinced that the Hualapai's plan won't resurface. He said it would create danger in having motorized rafts and nonmotorized rafts coming at one another in a stretch of the river that already is congested.
River trips launching at Lees Ferry near Glen Canyon Dam either can take out at Diamond Creek or continue to Lake Mead in Nevada.
Everybody has to "play by the rules, and if you're not going to play by the rules, we're going to have to respond," Martin said. "So when we see a statement that says 'we're going to postpone this,' we're still very, very concerned."