Applying for river permits can feel like a daunting task, but don’t fear. The crew at 4Corners Riversports has successfully navigated the river permit application process multiple times and we wanted to share some tips for success.
Start Early. All river permit applications are due January 31st, so make sure to start checking for dates and planning at the start of the new year.
Get Organized. Each river has its own permit dates, application dates, fees, group sizes, etc. Download this handy dandy spreadsheet we created and customize it as needed for your river trips. Almost every permit application is on recreation.gov so be sure to spend some time on that website as well.
Use your Resources. Check out 4CRS River Permit Beta page for information on local rivers, dates, permit and shuttle information. Once you win that permit, make sure to stop by the 4Corners Riversports store for guidebooks and the latest gear.
Consider Snowpack. When you are planning your dates, consider the current snow pack for your area. Use the current snowpack to guestimate what the waters levels may look like in June/July/August. On a good snow pack year, most rivers will run into July and early August, but remember, you can always run the risk of not enough water in the later months.
Get Social. To increase your chances of pulling a permit, get your river rats together! Grab a beer, come up with dates and have each person complete the application. Be sure to apply for the same section, group size, and dates. Although the chances of you winning a permit range between 8-12%, someone has to win a permit, and it may just be you.
- Look for Cancelations. If you are not the chosen one, then your best option is to look for cancelations. Cancelations start popping up around March so be sure to check recreation.gov to see if you can snag one of those spots.
Best of luck in the permit process! If you win a permit, don’t forget to invite us!
By Ashleigh Diaz