X Marks the Spot


   There has been some confusion regarding whether or not one should pick up the photo-panels lying around the river corridor. I hope this article will be helpful.

   Photo- panels have been used for a number of years as a means for referencing aerial photographs to exact points on the ground. This is required for accurate delineation of vegetation, habitat areas, sand bar movement, etc. The panels are used to keep the photographs properly aligned with the geographic coordinate system used in the canyon; they are essential to the integrity of individual research projects and the long-term monitoring program. We know the panels are an eyesore, but they serve a very important research function.

   There have, however, been several incidents in the past where panels were left in place much longer than necessary. The panels only have to be in place long enough for the aerial photographs to be taken. This usually means that panels shouldn’t have to be on the ground longer than 3 or 4 weeks. If the panels get removed before the aerial photo flight, then that area of the photograph will not get accurate referencing, It is GCES’ intention not to leave panels in place between aerial photo overflights.

   There is probably more than one rotting panel still waiting to be taken out of the Canyon. Because of these mistakes, we have called GCRG for assistance.

   Several guides were recently asked to pick up panels from a Memorial Day photo shoot. These folks put in many hot hours hiking to panel locations, only to find that the panels had already been removed. While we could not explain the removal, it became evident that a better means of communication was necessary. Accordingly, GCES proposes the following methods for getting this information to the guides:

   1) On each panel placed, we will write the date it can be removed.

   2) We will inform the Lees Ferry Rangers of anticipated photo shoot dates and locations and panel pick-up dates, so that guides have an idea of how long a panel should remain in a given area.

   3) If you find a fading or rotting panel, please pick it up and put a small cairn where it was.

   4) Please return all panels to the GCES office.

   Your efforts to help us keep the Canyon clean are very much appreciated. If you have any questions, please call Chris Brod, Mark Gonzales, or Frank Protiva at the GCES Survey Dept., (602) 556-7459.

Frank Protiva