Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lottery time for rafters

If you're hoping to raft the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, get ready to apply.

The national park begins accepting applications for self-guided permits Sunday.

It's part of a lottery that replaces a 26-year-old wait-list system. We talked about this before on the blog - how the old system sometimes attracted more than 1,000 applications a year, and how a guy recently was convicted of fraud for attempts to gain advantage on the wait-list.

If you want to raft through the Grand Canyon in 2007, here's what you need to do:

++ Apply for a permit, choosing up to five dates for trips next year.
(You only have between Sunday and Oct. 21 to apply.)

++ Pay $25 nonrefundable application fee.

++ Wait for the lottery results (lottery scheduled Oct. 23).

++ Pay deposit of $200 to $400, depending on the number of rafters in a group.

++ Pay permit fees of $100 per participant (deposit goes toward this), with the balance due 90 days before the launch.

For details, visit the park site .

To maximize your chances of getting a launch date, the thinking goes, spread your dates out, and consider going in fall or winter, when fewer people are likely to apply.

There'll be more info about the process and a bit of history about the lottery in Sunday's Travel section.

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