The National Park Service announced this week that rim-to-rim hikers as well as extended hikers and runners will be required to purchase interim Special Use Permits prior to their trips to the inner canyon of Grand Canyon National Park. While the new rule only applies to non-commercial groups, it will go into effect on September 15.
It was decided that permits would be required after the number of visitors greatly increased. A revised version of the Backcountry Management Plan is currently in the works in order to help find solutions for park congestion, but permits are the temporary solution.
“With rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running increasing in popularity, we needed to find an interim solution that would give us the tool to educate hikers and runners on best practices until we have a longer-term solution in place,” park superintendent Dave Uberuaga said in a statement.
According to the statement, the inner canyon is classified as the region below Tonto Platform (Tipoff and Indian Garden) from the South Rim and below Manzanita Resthouse (Pumphouse Residence) from the North Rim.
The NPS stated that approximately 800 people at a time travel within the inner canyon on weekend days in the spring and fall. Of that number, 400-600 are hiking or running rim-to-rim in one day. While more people spending time outdoors in a wonderful statistic, this also means an increase in user conflicts, litter, overcrowding, along with other problems. Accompanying the purchase of permits is acceptance of the Leave No Trace principles.
To learn more, follow along with the process of updating the Backcountry Management Plan for the Grand Canyon, or call (928) 638-7707 with any questions.
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