Grand Canyon National Park officials announced Wednesday that the park will begin requiring special use permits for all organized, non-commercial rim-to-rim hikes and trail runs beginning September 15.
In a statement, the park cited overcrowding as the primary reason for the new regulations. R2R hiking has gotten more popular in recent years, and the park estimates that the popular Bright Angel, South and North Kaibab corridor trails see an estimated 800 hikers per day on peak weekends in spring and fall. From the release:
The NPS will not limit the number of permits issued;however, group size, under a permit will be limited to 30 individuals, including organizers. A permittee or their organization (club, non-profit, group, etc.) will be allowed to obtain one permit per day. Permits will include guidelines built on the Leave No Trace principles to help protect park resources and enhance the experience and safety of all trail users.
With rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running increasing in popularity, we needed to find an interim solution that would give us the tool to educate hikers and runners on best practices until we have a longer-term solution in place," stated Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.
The measure is considered to be a stopgap solution until a comprehensive overhaul of the park's management's plan is completed later this year.
Read more: National Parks Traveler