The Grand Canyon wants to change the way back country areas are managed, seeking to restrict hikers using the inner canyon trails that do so without a permit.
Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon each year, and far fewer people venture into the 1.1 million acres that make up the back country. But some adventurers walk down trails such as Bright Angel and South Kaibab from the South Rim, and North Kaibab from the North Rim. Park officials want to know more about these visitors – especially numbers.
A day-use permit has been proposed, the permit will grant you access for hiking more than 5 miles below the rim and will cost a minimum of $5.
Park superintendent Dave Uberuaga assures that the system is not about limitation but instead about educating hikers and ensuring their safety.
“Our intent is not to prevent them from doing it, and we’re not talking about limits,” he said. “We’re talking about educating them so they know what they’re getting into.”
Currently there’s no way to detect how many people use the area for climbing or hiking, therefore climbing safety equipment cannot be installed to aid them.
The proposal also sees some size reductions on overnight backing groups.