GCRG logo - waves above name with sheep
  Comments from Members
  BQR ~ summer 1996

Good things GCRG is doing

Too many to list
Quarterly Review is excellent; keep it up.
Being a vehicle for the guides opinion
Keeping the general, at large guiding community abreast with important current and upcoming issues concerning the Grand Canyon
The newsletter is mostly excellent, but needs to lighten up a bit. Let’s see some humor! More variety in writers and articles
Adopt-a-beach, Whale Foundation, Newsletter!
Dedicating your time and effort on the important politics concerning the GC. Passing that info onto us who are concerned but who aren’t willing to spend the initial “legwork”. Info and getting things done.
The bqr is excellent, interesting, informative, witty, and chock full of stuff we might otherwise not learn. The GTS is amazing! And GCRG’s involvement with the ongoing ecological experimentation is very, very important.
Thanks a million for the Quarterly Review—it keeps me in touch with home when I’m so far out.
Flood flow beach survey!

We thought it was a good idea too, but so far we’ve only gotten five (five) of them back.

Rod Nash article was great! Good job on getting the Coast Guard out of here.
Struggling like hell to fight off the forces of overregulation and micro management. Keep up the good fight.
Environmental Watchdogging
Keeping us informed of what’s happening in the Canyon when we can’t be down there.
Keep up the good work! GTS on river.
GTS is still fantastic. Giving some guides (interested ones) input to the park.
The aging guide syndrome. Keep up on the real life stuff. Show guides as frail humans not river gods. Gods die; they get confused.
The newsletter!!!!! The GTS. Someone in the office. Guide involvement in issues that affect rivers and river-running.
GTS. Letter writing campaign. bqr.
Oral History & senior guide interviews. Guides voice for work environment concerns, ie: Stopping Coast Guard intervention, Addressing drug testing issue; Keeping communication open on the oars/motors private/commercial issues; Other Canyon Concerns - Air tour issues and endangered species
Everything, but especially the publication, which keeps getting better and better.
Love, love, love your newsletter. I get to stay in touch with all my Flag pals through it... makes my heart ache every time. I miss you all. It’s a great thing you’re doing; keep it up.
bqr; Caring about the people and the place. Keep up the good work; thanks to all.
Informing the masses on a varietal front!
Keep writing opinion pieces about the awful drug testing. Get an outfitter to “defend” the decision to test. Newsletter; being a political arm for the Canyon.
Histories, biographies, other documentation efforts. Guide advocacy. bqr.
bqr is great. It keeps me up to date now that my river “career” is over. Informative and fun.
Establishing relationships with groups from other parts of the Colorado and other rivers too. The journal’s historical and interpretive pieces are great!
Showing respect for the Grand Canyon and the guides. Keeping people informed through the newsletter
Keeping mailing list private; keeping members apprised of ongoing items (bqr). Teaches history (bqr)
Advocacy for Grand canyon, the guiding community, and the public; WFR re-cert was great; the bqr
Great newsletter! Great involvement.
Being involved in influencing the political decisions that affect the Canyon
“Watchdogging” the development of the long-term monitoring/adaptive management and overflight issues
Getting histories and interviews in print; fighting Coast Guard and Park Service overregulation
Lots; advocacy on overflights; Great bqr
Resisting drug testing and other invasive regulations, including those from county health and Coast Guard
You are doing fine; no complaints.
Tops in public and NPS relationship
Beautiful newsletter!
Air tour lobbying; taking a stand on drug tests
Got rid of the Coast Guard
bqr! Oral History; being a voice & platform for the guiding community
Great job with the Adopt-A-Beach Program; stay involved with the science!
bqr is excellent! Oral history is wonderful. Keep it up! Jabs at drug testing good!
Love the history articles & recording of history—save it!
Keeping an eye on THEM.
My favorite part of the bqr is always the interviews with the old farts. And the current events stuff.
Everything is done well. Keep up the good work.
Education and awareness of issues; quarterly newsletter is excellent. GTS
The people responsible for the quarterly are doing an excellent job. Cheers and recognition to the workers involved; definitely high quality coordinating.
Forum for guides who can write
Being bold & going after the Coast Guard. Taking initiative with beach monitoring. Representing all factions of commercial guiding
I like the Adopt-A-Beach program—it’s a good way to get guides involved with science; it’s positive. As always, the newsletter is astounding.
Keeping an eye on the powers that be, being a voice for guides, bringing a professional air to the trade.
Nice issue with Nash and Burke.
BQR, first aid course, training program.
The newsletter is great; air noise.
Keeping us updated on all happenings on and around river.
Good job Lew Steiger!
Newsletter & old guys’ stories.
Adopt-A-Beach, bqr, being involved with policy changes with the park and representing us.

Misguided things GCRG is doing

Allowing too much voice to the concessionaires
Is it possible that we are becoming too diverse with our energies? Protecting the Canyon and ourselves I think is top priority. Sometimes being politically correct is important; at other times a loud voice and more radical measures are needed. Let’s keep the standards high.
Cozying up to the Park Service; they need to be watched and criticized.
The use of the helipad for exchanges should be at the front of the overflight issue! Fight drug testing! We should discuss more openly Crumbo’s wilderness proposals
Selling memberships to the general public. Having Crumbo on board; no offense, but he is Park Service, and strong anti-motor. Are we an anti-motor organization? Leave politics to the politicians.

There is a group of folks that have been quite vocal about Kim being on the board. In response we can only say: there is no by-law preventing NPS personnel from holding office; he was nominated by the general constituency and received more votes than anyone. His devotion to the Canyon, in most folks’ eyes, seems to outweigh who signs his paycheck. His energy and contributions to GCRG have been greatly appreciated by the rest of the board.

Sometimes step beyond realm of mission & onto political limbs where we don’t belong.
Drifting away from the guide community and focusing on issues outside our mission.
Trying to do all you do on a minimal volunteer staff. Maybe it’s time for some hired guns!
None I can think of.
Sometimes I feel like we are becoming “Grand Canyon Trust Lite”
Overworking officers
Unaware of any
Don’t get so political. Some of it is fine and needed; just don’t get carried away!
Nothing catastrophic that I can see.
Can’t think of any...
Sometimes GCRG is viewed as a bunch of whiners. Don’t whine!
I take issue with the sexist term “boatman”; I mean “river guide” covers us all, but I like the publication
Adopt-a-Beach. It’s a waste of money and your (our?) time. Aren’t scientists doing this already?

No, they aren’t. We hope to provide specific information, both qualitative and quantitative, which the science trips were unable to accomplish. It is very cost effective, since we are already there, trip after trip. The major cost to date was for the cameras, which were purchased by GCES.

Allowing long winded and closed minded pompous a******s to over-contribute. (I.E. Rod Nash) Don’t alienate motor guides!
Highlighting “legendary” river personalities who seem to give little respect for the Canyon and their role as guides—those who would rather talk about “all the TWA stewardesses on a trip in ‘74 - Heh heh heh!” than about the long-term consequences of current attitudes and practices. Rod Nash - yes! Gloeckler and Winter - no!
Giving an arrogant egomaniac so much space in quarterly.
Continue communicating role between NPS/outfitters/guides/private groups. The Rod “the god” Nash article was great. Did anyone else besides Lew get it?
Stop re-hashing motors vs. oars issues.
Supporting wilderness type non-motor push in Canyon again. I don’t want 350# people on my row boat...
Should be pushing hard for wilderness designation for the river corridor. Re-open the debate against motors in the Canyon.
Wrong stand on drug testing. Ease up on overflight noise. Stop trying to eliminate motors from Grand
I dunno, but seems like GCRG is getting away from its initial goals, especially with its anti-motor contingent. There were no boatmen at the last GTS -- who were those people?
Not take sides in the motor vs. oar debate. Try and take a step back and look at things objectively and not get caught up with an individual’s persuasive personality.

We attempt to present views on all sides of issues. The Colorado River Management Plan is up for revision soon and, like it or not, the motor/oars issue, as well as the private/commercial, will have to be addressed. We feel it’s better to air the viewpoints now, before a decision is made.

A “Master Guide” category? Surely this is just a rumor!

The “Master Guide” level of certification was discussed and rejected at GCRG. However, the Colorado Plateau River Guides are pursuing the idea.

Too cliquish. I don’t believe that a number of the people (President and Board) understand what it means to be a working guide and having to pay the bills on just what is earned as a guide.
Need to have someone on the ballot for President who isn’t a dory guide.

It is next to impossible to find people who’ll agree to run for these voluntary positions, and the time commitments which are now required almost preclude full-time guides from taking an office. However most officers and board members have spent many years with river-running as their primary source of income. Any faction that feels unrepresented needs to convince a candidate they prefer to run. Please do.

Having the spring seminar right in the middle of ski season doesn’t work well for me.
Worrying about “perceived crowding”
Haven’t seen any yet.
Not acknowledging private boaters; some of us know what we’re doing in Grand Canyon
Not any that I can see.
It should never be stated that GCRG supports X,Y, or Z if the membership has not been asked first!
On pg. 5 of bqr V.9 #2, Jeri Ledbetter says “GCRG supports the introduction of the California Condor to the Vermillion Cliffs area.” I ask: what procedure did Jeri go through to find this out? Is there a procedure in place? Or can anyone say anything about what the membership supports or doesn’t support?
Allowing personal opinions of officers to be represented as the position of the membership in general.

The Board of Directors in any organization is elected for the very purpose of speaking for and directing that organization. It is impossible for the Board to interview each member about every issue, and as volunteers, it is unrealistic to expect them to. Positions stated as “GCRG believes…” have been discussed and voted on by the board.
It is up to the membership to make sure your views are heard. Nominations are open and the election of officers is up to the members.

Things GCRG should be doing

Be more actively involved in the GCNP outfitter review process
I believe GCRG is missing a big opportunity to have a voice. A few years ago outfitters and the NPS were concerned about the power GCRG might have. Today we have none because we’re too scared of offending someone (too PC?) Should work on wages, benefits, regulations, alcoholism, alcoholic deaths and suicide. (This is a big problem, but a taboo subject.) Make this post card bigger.
I would like to see more effort on providing a United Front towards outfitters and making sure boatmen are treated fairly on salary and benefits.
How about publishing a survey on salary/benefits from various outfitters.
A comparative story on the boatmen pay/benefits package offered by each outfitter.
I want to see a comparison of companies, wages and benefits - get some guts and print one!
Let’s work on a group health insurance program.
Advocacy for better benefits for guides; share the wealth.
Addressing concerns of the working guide instead of the mostly retired or never been boatmen which make up most of the board—benefits, pay, insurance.
Whale’s “mental health” volunteers is nice idea, but how about finding jobs for aging boatmen instead? Don’t think having insurance would have hurt either!
Quieter motors/trailers for motor rigs, Health care, Training
Looking out for the best interests of the guides.
Insurance for boatmen
Needs to go back to being more guide-minded.
Supporting river guides, educating outfitters how to support their guides, research health insurance. What do guides need? The old ones have different needs; the young ones will eventually need what the old ones need now.
Remember to focus on boatman’s issues first.
Job security.
Let’s look into guides wages and benefits. How do our wages compare to other areas - GC, Utah, California, Idaho, etc.? Have wages kept up with cost of living? Compare with cost of trip? Compare with profits of outfitters? Should we try to make more than poverty? River guiding has risen to the level of professional, with special training and professional certification. We can no longer be hired off the streets and out of the bars. We need to get the pay and benefits of professionals.
Repeal enforced drug testing. Unionize! for wages, for drug testing, for future!
Talk and do more about health and retirement benefits. When secretaries with 8 hour office jobs have benefits and boatmen do not, that’s wrong!
Be proactive concerning guide wages and benefits; keep outfitters honest.

The Board and Officers of GCRG have, with few exceptions, always agreed that unionization was not only beyond the original scope, intent and by-laws of GCRG, but went directly against the pride, rugged individualism and saddle-your-own-bronc ethic of the average boatmen. We have chosen instead to try and convince outfitters to buy into various benefit programs for guides. Some have done so, some have not.
There has been much talk of printing a survey of guide wages, benefits and intangibles. We’ve naturally been a bit leery of it, knowing that it will undoubtedly infuriate several of the outfitters. However, we feel that it would be a fair, honest and productive thing to do, in keeping with some of the other persuasive programs we have initiated. For close to a year we have been working on various facets of it. We plan to go ahead with the survey in the near future and would like any input you may have on the subject.
Over the years, we have received a substantial amount of input from guides who wanted GCRG to set up a group health insurance program. We have searched repeatedly and extensively for a plan that GCRG could sponsor to provide affordable insurance for boatmen. However, we found that, if anything, a GCRG group rate would prove more costly than individual policies.
In 1992, GCRG conducted a poll of current guide members in an attempt to determine how many guides were, in fact, without health insurance. Of the 163 responses we received, only 31% reported having no health insurance. Of those, 74% listed cost as the main reason. The most cost effective way to get health insurance is through an employer, since premiums, even if paid by the employee, may be nontaxable compensation. Retirement programs, also, can result in significant tax savings to both the employer and the employee. Several outfitters already offer health insurance or retirement programs. For those who don’t, the entire crew could get together and lobby. If anyone out there finds a plan that would work for GCRG members, please help us set it up.

Working in support of the outfitters, not against them.
Work with NPS to change the guides’ certification to 7 or 9 years expiration date.
Better info on guide discounts—catalogues from retailers. Book reviews Past and Present.
Maybe more art and graphics for your newsletter.
How to be a better guide; how to be a better world citizen.
Should respond to the questions asked on this card in the newsletter.
Keeping guides informed, provide information on natural history and river knowledge by articles, updates & work trips.
Don’t back off—you folks really doing the work don’t get the thanks you deserve from us silent supporters.
Making sure guide training is never standardized or regulated.
Negotiating change to the NPS policy which outlaws private trips from hiring guides. Consider examining the user impact of the GCES Science trips. Encourage the practice of educated “unguiding”.
Suggest to the Superintendent Rob Arnberger that the Grand Canyon National Park River Rangers not be issued batons.
Someone suggested that the $1 million annual park service “grant”? for Grand Canyon could be used to design and develop a way to get sand and sediments around Glen Canyon Dam... good idea? Let’s keep the Park & bureau informed on our guides perspectives on what would benefit the Canyon, (not just visitors) Seems like they are interested in our ideas.
You’re right on track as far as I can tell.
Emergency access to NPS channels; cut the licenses required. Step on concessions new requirements of 41 degree coolers... no way! (We’ve been taking temps!)
Let’s fight… to get some common sense food handling regs, or no regs!
I’ve enjoyed your pioneer/historical interviews with old time river runners. However wasn’t Gaylord Staveley an old timer who had helped get things started? I’d enjoy an interview with him.
More science articles in bqr
Help support underprivileged kids and adults in allowing them to come down the river.
Pushing to ensure that the habitat maintenance flows called for in the EIS are actually run next year and beyond. They will be important.
Stop the drug testing; end all research trips; commercial allocation needs to be reduced; publish the crowding issue; help promote seasonally adjusted flows.
Go to bat for Dick McCallum as he faces the challenge of holding onto his permit.
Supporting commercial permit reform; support Mac.
Fight drug testing!
Get legal counsel to fight unconstitutional drug testing programs.
Cartwheels & backflips.
Lobbying for more noncommercial use.
Stay in touch with the NPS non-renewal of outfitters issues!
Talking to privates that launch. I got my first brochure from Bob Melville who recognized me from the Stan.
A periodic questionnaire of its members & views would be interesting and allow GCRG to better identify the membership’s views, needs and characteristics.
Keeping Georgie alive for their passengers.
Doing a good job.
Continuing to follow and report on the test high-water release this spring.
Keep on keeping on. Good work!
Exactly what you’re doing! Thanks
Save the Grand Canyon experience.
Would love to see more art, stories, poetry, etc.
We need to fight the Animas La Plata project, which would kill the San Juan River as we know it. How about a fund-raiser? Or an alert? For more info call Mike Black (970) 385-4118
Creating a wilderness protocol to address ALL the big problems—overregulation, drug testing, cellular phones, “Stepford Guides” —they should ALL be eliminated from the wilderness experience.
Taking a stand on the federal food code shit that is coming down—we are not a restaurant. Print stories from guides who have been snagged by drug testing
Expand involvement with other guide associations, both national and international.
Perhaps more involvement with other guide organizations who have common or similar interests (i.e. CPRG). Continue to work on relations between boatmen of different sects, (oars vs. motors)
Work on getting feedback and support from the guiding community.
Designing better t-shirts; recruiting more members.
More adoption projects

big horn sheep