In an announcement e-mailed only to registered applicants on January 17, 2008, Grand Canyon National Park announced the dates for the main 2009 non-commercial river permits lottery.

Applications will be taken for the 2009 river running season beginning February 1 through noon February 26, 2008. The announcement did not say when the main 2009 drawing will be held or when lottery winners would be notified.

National Park Service officials note that applications for the main 2009 lottery will be accepted through the lottery Web site only. Anyone without Web access will be unable to apply by mail, phone, or fax.

The 2009 lottery dates were included as a postscript to another announcement for a follow-up lottery to be held from January 17, 2008 through noon on January 23, 2008, for 11 launch dates in 2008. These dates became available through cancellations or were not taken in prior lotteries.

The 11 launch dates are all in the off season during 2008, and are January 29, February 2, 3, 29, March 4, 8, 26, and December 12, 13, 17, and 26.

According to the NPS, the cancellation lottery drawing will take place in the afternoon of January 23rd, and email notifications will be sent by January 24th, 2008, only 5 days before the earliest available date.

In order to attempt to lure river runners to take these winter trips, the National Park Service will open any unclaimed dates in this week’s lottery to a first-come first-served “phone in.” The NPS release stated the phone in would start at 8 a.m. on 2/28/2008. At the release of this Riverwire, RRFW was unable to reach River Operations staff, but this is most likely a typo, and probably should have shown 1/28/2008 as the actual call-in date.

Limitations to callers still include the one-trip-a-year rule. Applicants must be over 18, and must be registered with an online profile at prior to entering the lottery.

Any remaining dates will be posted on the NPS Web site at and on the recorded phone message at the River Permits office at 800-959-9164 or 928-638-7843.

River runners who have not yet set up a profile with the Park Service, or do not have an internet connection have no way of knowing of this lottery, so tell your river running friends!

Lottery applicants can refer to the RRFW online lottery tutorial, available for download as an Adobe PDF file by clicking on the “Lottery Primer” link at:

Additionally, lottery information is available at the free Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki at:

Discussion of the Grand Canyon lottery and winning strategies may be found at The Rafting Grand Canyon Yahoo group at

River Runners for Wilderness offers these services at no charge, supported entirely through your generous donations at:

The Grand Canyon River Permits Office also offers help at 1-800-959-9164 or by email at

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