An environmentalist lawsuit I disagree with
Green groups sued to ban motorized rafts and helicopters from the Grand Canyon, arguing, as reported in the NY Times,
that the use of motorized rafts on the Colorado River and helicopters to make passenger exchanges impairs the wilderness character of the park and that the National Park Service violated its management policies and federal law by allowing their continued use.
I don’t know what the NPS management policies are, but I’ve rafted the Grand Canyon twice and from what I saw there were definitely people down there on motorboats who wouldn’t have made the trip otherwise. Oar and paddleboats can be harrowing to say the least when running the Canyon’s huge and fast rapids, and are more dangerous by virtue of their smaller size and reduced power capability. I can only assume that helicopters provide similar access; the way down, from the most touristed part of the Canyon, is a long, steep hike with virtually no shade that’s hell on the knees. And people have died on other routes.
I say it’s worth it to get more people to see this unique natural wonder–the Canyon from its bottom provides a completely different perspective than the one from the rim–and that with the size of motorboats they can get a lot of people on with relatively little noise disturbance. Helicopters can be set on certain flight paths and their landing areas limited so as few visitors as possible see them.
What do you think?