On October 15th, 2014, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument Superintendent Rosie Pepito announced a seasonal road closure for Kelly Point (NPS Road # 1203) beginning on Monday November 17, 2014 through Friday March 27, 2015.
We recently learned that Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is going to close the road to Kelly Point during winter. The road is often not passable during winter, but sometimes you can get out there in between storm systems if you drive at night on the frozen roads. In mild winters you can get out there often.
More and more we’re seeing land managers enact blanket closures of areas. This particular road controls access to a vast area of GCNP from Parashant Canyon (river mile 199) on the east to Surprise Canyon (river mile 248) on the west. Kelly Point is not part of the proposed Wilderness designation in front of Congress. And, because the Hualapai Tribe refuses to grant permits for south side access, this act by the NPS effectively closes this area in winter.
The Kelly Point isthmus itself is managed by Grand Canyon National Park. The place where we believe the road closure is going to occur is at Horse Valley, which is managed by GC-Parashant NM. Besides the nature of this closure, the real issue is one of no public comment. CAC believes the public could have offered a few alternate ideas. To be clear, access to this area in winter is hit and miss. Some winters it’s just not possible with mud and snow. But last winter (2013-2014), it was accessible most of the time.
The Coalition of American Canyoneers is objecting to this closure because the NPS did not engage the public to determine if alternative ideas could be found. We will be meeting with land managers to create alternatives to this closure.
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