The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is Arizona’s largest tourist destination. As such, it plays an important role in the economy of our State. Millions of individuals visit the Grand Canyon on a yearly basis, which can take a toll on the infrastructure of the national park. With visitations rising each year, the authorities who maintain the park are considering changing the way they currently manage its backcountry areas.
The Grand Canyon’s management team is currently considering a number of proposals. One such plan would require visitors hiking 5 miles or more below the rim of the canyon to acquire a day-use permit. To obtain the permit, hikers would have to educate themselves on the physical demands of hiking, the current weather conditions, and the conditions of the trail they will be traveling. They would also have to pay a small fee of $5.
“Our intent is not to prevent them from doing it [hiking], and we’re not talking about limits,” said park superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “We’re talking about educating them, so they know what they’re getting into.”
The changes would also address access to the more remote backcountry areas of the park which are visited by 30,000 – 35,000 people a year.
The proposed changes could reduce the size of groups going on overnight backpacking trips. It would also feature an investment into the development of more campsites. Park authorities are also considering limiting commercially guided services.
Another option currently being considered by park management is to leave things as they currently are. The proposals have been made public and individuals are encouraged to comment on them. Meeting hasbeen heldin the park itself and Flagstaff. The Grand Canyon is one of Arizona’s most valuable natural resources. Taking care of it is a priority of man Arizonians.