The National Park Service is proposing a permit system at Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, which receives more than 1 million visitors each year, US News & World Report reported on Tuesday. The permits would cut back on the 30,000-plus overnight campers, backpackers, rock climbers, and runners who venture below the canyon’s rim and cause an increase in noise, litter, and bathroom line length—all of which are common complaints among hikers.
In addition to limiting the number of people who stay below the rim at any given time, the permit system would help protect the desert environment and archaeological sites, according to KNAU, Arizona’s public radio station. Officials are also proposing a $5 day-hike permit for those venturing farther than five miles.
“This plan is really recognizing our wilderness resources and managing to preserve that wilderness character,” Linda Jalbert, wilderness coordinator for the park, told KNAU. “We’re not closing off any new areas. We’re just really looking at a different management strategy to better protect those areas.”
The Park Service is currently seeking the public’s input regarding the proposed permits on its website. Officials will also hold a public meeting to discuss the regulations on Monday, December 7, in Flagstaff, Arizona.