Permits to be required for groups in Grand Canyon

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Bob Sihler
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Permits to be required for groups in Grand Canyon

by Bob Sihler » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:52 am

Groups of hikers and runners who want to do grueling excursions across the Grand Canyon will soon need a permit -- a move officials say will cut back on overcrowding, litter and safety issues at the popular tourist attraction in Arizona.

The permit requirement begins on Sept. 15 and involves any group that publicly advertises a trip from rim to rim...

The park has no limit on the number of one-day permits it will issue. The $175 fee will help park officials educate visitors about trail etiquette and free up rangers to respond to life-threatening injuries, Grand Canyon spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said.

The place is a zoo on the corridor trails, but is this good or bad? And will it have any impact?
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Re: Permits to be required for groups in Grand Canyon

by SpiderLegs » Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:39 pm

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

Live in Arizona and this topic has been discussed in depth on some of the local forums. I sent an email to the rangers at GCNP about the Special Use Permit (SUP) and presented this scenario: 5-6 friends with plans to do R2R2R the first week of October and we planned the trip via phone, private emails and private messaging on Facebook. So no public postings and no sign up sheets. Got an email back within a few hours and was told that I would be fine without a permit. The people that will need permits will be people who publicly post on Facebook, MeetUp or other online places advertising their trip to the general public. In addition scout troops, church groups, school groups and the like will need to apply for a SUP.

Last year a handful of people organized trips and showed up to the South Rim with tour buses full of people in October and the park wants to eliminate this altogether. Don't know yet how the rangers are going to police this. One source close to the park claimed that rangers will be monitoring various websites to find potential offenders. But I doubt the NPS has the resources to dedicate someone to this.

Remember that this SUP is a temporary solution and the NPS is trying to cook up something for the long term. My gut is telling me that permits may be needed for any excursions into the canyon in a few years.

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Re: Permits to be required for groups in Grand Canyon

by Buz Groshong » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:47 pm

Geeze, you do everything you can to make something really fantastic, and then what happens: Crowds show up!

Wanna thin out the crowds? Stop doing rescues. A few dead bodies alongside the trails would definitely cut down on the traffic. :wink:

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Re: Permits to be required for groups in Grand Canyon

by 4corners » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:56 am

What I heard is there were a lot of complaints over some of these groups behavior. Backpackers were being told to step aside by runners so complaints were made to rangers. While my knowledge of that is second hand, I personally observed the tons of crap some runners were "caching" along the trails which was often left after the event. On these event days I've seen bottles, jackets, pants, food packs all dumped at the trails edge and abandoned. One group was cited for guiding without a license for charging for a R2R2R run - guiding permits are required by GC.

Bottom line is that if some of these running groups followed the same rules, trail etiquette and LNT rules everyone else is required to follow the permitting wouldn't have been put in place. There are plenty of R2R2R individuals and groups that do follow those practices. Basically, some groups by their bad behavior caused the park service to believe they needed to act.

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