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Contact: Heather Boothe, (970) 641-2337 ext. 206
Superintendent Connie Rudd of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is pleased to announce a new lottery system for the assignment of wilderness permits into the Red Rock Canyon area of the park. Users may request a reservation by lottery from now until March 7, 2007.
"Preserving the natural resources of the canyon and the wilderness experience for those enjoying the Red Rock area is our primary goal,” explained Superintendent Rudd. “The lottery gives us a means to be good stewards while allowing access."
The Red Rock Canyon area, on the western end of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, is accessed via an easement across private property. The area is especially popular with anglers during the stonefly hatch in mid-June. Later in the season hikers enjoy this route, which is significantly less steep than other routes into the narrow gorge.
Red Rock Canyon is within the congressionally designated wilderness area of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It is managed to preserve wilderness qualities, including plant and wildlife habitat and solitude for hikers. To ensure these values are protected, only seven people per day are permitted into the canyon, with a four-day visit limit.
In 2005, the National Park Service instituted a reservation policy to control access and protect the resources of this area. The original reservation system took reservations on a first-come, first-served basis as of March 1 of each year. In 2006, the number of calls taken this first day was overwhelming. The months of June and July were booked within minutes. "The park staff has been responding to visitor suggestions for a more equitable system, and we believe the lottery system will smooth out the bumps," said Rudd.
To apply for the lottery, visitors may go to the Black Canyon webpage at: https://www.nps.gov/blca and click on Red Rock Canyon Info. There, they may download the reservation form. Forms may also be requested by contacting the visitor center at 970-641-2337 x205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. After filling out the form, they may mail, fax, or e-mail the form to the park. Applications must be received by March 7, 2007. All applications will be randomly assigned a priority number. On March 8, park staff will begin confirming reservations according to the random order. Any requests received after March 7 will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis after lottery requests are filled.
Visitors who have questions or would like to request a lottery form may contact the Elk Creek Visitor Center at 970-641-2337 x205 or at email@example.com.