Park Service accepting 2012 rafting permit applications

436 permits to be issued for two and four week private trips through Canyon

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The National Park Service is now accepting applications for noncommercial river trip permits to raft the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. The permits are for specific launch dates within calendar year 2012.

A total of 436 permits will be awarded for 12- to 25-day river trips. Eligible individuals may apply online at the weighted lottery website. To access the website, start from the park's main web page at www.nps.gov/grca and select "River Trips/Permits" then "Weighted Lottery." Applications will be accepted online through noon Feb. 23.

Each year in February, a main lottery is held to assign launch dates for river trips occurring the next year. Public notifications regarding main lotteries are made by both e-mail and press release. In addition to the annual main lottery, follow-up lotteries are held as needed throughout the remainder of the year to reassign canceled and/or left-over river trips. Public notifications for these follow-up lotteries are made through e-mail or an RSS Feed.

The weighted lottery website can be accessed for free year-round to create or modify an account and to sign-up to receive email notifications. Individuals who are interested in a future river permit are strongly encouraged to create an account. Lottery applications are accepted through the weighted lottery website only when lotteries are open.

Individuals must be 18 years or older to apply for a river trip permit. Non-commercial river trips must be self-guided, and technical whitewater experience is mandatory on each trip. Individuals may participate on a maximum of one river trip per year (commercial or noncommercial).

Individuals interested in professionally-guided river trips should not apply through the lottery, but instead request space on a commercial trip. A list of commercial companies offering guided trips can be found by visiting www.nps.gov/grca, selecting "River Trips/Permits", then "3 to 18 Day Commercial Trips".

For more information about the 2012 weighted lottery, please visit the Grand Canyon National Park web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/whitewater-rafting.htm or contact the River Permits Office at e-mail us, 1-800-959-9164 or 928-638-7884.

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