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Permits for Grand Canyon Groups

August 28
08:15 2014

Grand Canyon SignThe National Park Service (NPS) has announced it will begin issuing Special Use Permits on an interim basis for organized, non-commercial rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running in the inner canyon of Grand Canyon National Park. Permits will be issued to groups with activities planned for after September 15, 2014. The Park Service says it will not limit the number of special use permits it issues, but will issue only one permit each day to a group, and each group is limited to 30 individuals.

Rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running, which also includes rim-to-river-to-rim and rim-to-rim-to-rim, is not new in Grand Canyon National Park but has been increasing in popularity over the last several years. The NPS estimates that up to 800 people are traveling in the inner canyon during peak weekend days in spring and fall. Of that number, 400 to 600 people are hiking or running rim-to-rim in a single day. The activities take place on the Bright Angel, South and North Kaibab Trails (known as the corridor trails). These trails provide diverse recreation opportunities for hikers, backpackers, mule riders, and runners.

Increased day use on these inner canyon trails has resulted in increased user conflicts. Other issues related to inner-canyon use include abandoning or caching gear on the trails, increased litter, crowding at restrooms and attraction sites, an overburdened waste water treatment plant, and vehicle congestion. Park rangers are also seeing an increase in un-prepared and injured rim-to-rim participants. The interim basis will remain in place while a more permanaent solution is prepared by park officials.

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