year we see a new gcrg president take the helm and try to guide
this organization through the rocky stream of daunting river issues.
The rather weak but appropriate boating metaphors notwithstanding,
the newest changing of the guard has prompted me to take a backwards
glance at the gcrg presidents who have been around since I came
on the scene in 1995. It's one truly amazing group of folks.
Lew Steiger used his political acumen to fend off the Coast Guard
while Jeri battled the overflights problem for ten years (and counting).
Andre plunged into the adaptive management process of the dam, and
Christa was the lucky gal who got to make sense of the Colorado
River Management Plan and the Wilderness issue. These are huge things,
mindboggling thingsissues large and scary enough to make most
people quake in their Tevas. And I must say, this is a simplification
of their terms of officethe mere tip of the iceberg as there
were many more fires to put out, issues to study and relationships
to build. I am continually amazed by the level of intelligence,
the extreme dedication to one special place, and by the amount of
perseverance and hard work that each has put in during his or her
term, every hour as a volunteer! Take those aforementioned issues,
mix them together with an incredibly diverse membership base and
sprinkle liberally with shifting relationships with the Park, the
outfitters (and other groups) and you come up with one potentially
explosive concoction! And yet, somehow, they all came through it
(if not quite unscathed) while maintaining a sense of humor and
trying desperately to keep things in perspective. I, for one, am
You may not always agree with everything they say,
but they certainly are worthy of our respect and admiration.
I just wanted you to know that the confidence you place in any gcrg
president is absolutely merited. You know the gcrg lofty goals:
protecting Grand Canyon, setting the highest standards for the river
profession, celebrating the unique spirit of the river community,
and providing the best possible river experience. Those aren't
just ideas on paper. The officers and board members of this organization
truly believe in these goals on the deepest level. I see it every
day. So next time you see one of these folks, why don't you
thank them for doing this difficult job and doing it well. They
really and truly deserve it.