The Main Lottery is held only once a year, in February, to assign launch dates for river trips occurring the following year.
Follow-up lotteries are held as needed throughout the year to reassign cancelled and/or left-over river launch dates. Lottery statistics are posted at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/noncommercial-riv-docs.htm
There are three ways to know a lottery has opened.
Are my chances at risk? If you are NOT committed to accepting one of these launches, PLEASE DO NOT APPLY. Applicants and Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs) listed on winning lottery applications lose all their chances whether or not they end up going on the trip. Your chances are not affected if you do not apply or if you apply and do not win.
Why should I list Potential Alternate Trip Leaders (PATLs)? This is important because PATLs cannot be listed later, even if you win. Having at least one confirmed PATL on your application is the only way you can protect your trip and your participants against the chance that something might come up in your life that ends up preventing you from going on your trip. If you do not list a PATL on your lottery application, win a trip but then can't go, your trip will have to be cancelled and all fees will be forfeited. We strongly encourage all who choose to apply to list at least one PATL on their lottery application.
Who Is eligible to apply? Individuals are eligible to apply in the lottery as long as they are at least 18 years old by the launch date and not already members of other noncommercial or commercial trips launching in the same calendar year as the desired launch date. No person may be listed on more than one application within any individual lottery. In the lottery system, only one account per person is allowed. A LOTTERY WINNER HAVING MORE THAN ONE ACCOUNT MAY HAVE THEIR WINNING TRIP REVOKED. If you have two profiles on the system or you received two or more emails listing different login names, then this issue must be resolved prior to the lottery. Please contact the River Permits Office, include the login name of the profile you want deleted, and ask us to delete the account. Lottery applications are accepted through the weighted lottery website only when lotteries are open.
When will the lottery drawings occur? The lottery drawings will take place soon after the lottery closes, and email notifications will be sent once the lottery has been run. Applicants who do not receive an email notification should log back in and view the status of their request. Statistics will be posted by the end of the following day.
What if I forgot my password? If you cannot remember your password, you can have it reset and sent to the email address listed in your lottery profile. Complete the form at https://grcariverpermits.nps.gov/
How do I access the weighted lottery website? 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.
Need more help? If you need help submitting an application online or navigating the website, contact the River Permits Office. We are happy to help. The River Permits Office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
River Permits Office Contact Information:
Notifications about Lotteries: Each February a main lottery is held to assign launch dates for noncommercial river trips occurring the next year. Public notifications regarding main lotteries are made both by email and by press release. In addition to the annual main lottery, follow-up lotteries are held as needed throughout the remainder of the year to reassign cancelled and/or left-over river trips. Public notifications for these follow-up lotteries are made through email, via an RSS feed, and via Twitter.
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Last updated: January 31, 2023