Grand Canyon To Revamp Hiking Permit System

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Grand Canyon To Revamp Hiking Permit System

Postby Todd » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:47 pm

Grand Canyon decides permit system is unfair

Starting in February, locals won't be able to line up for the right to backpack overnight -- they'll have to mail or fax like everyone else.

Flagstaff, Ariz. - Getting one of the roughly 11,500 permits granted each year to backpack overnight in the Grand Canyon has become so competitive and unfair that managers at the national park have decided to change the system.

At the moment, applicants can try their luck with mail, they can fax (hitting redial for hours) or they can line up in person on the day that permits become available. Nearly half of them are denied.

National Park Service administrators have decided that the system unduly favors nearby residents and those who have the time and resources to travel to the Grand Canyon just to get a permit.

Officials intend to remove the in-person option starting in February. Eventually the park plans to move to an online reservation system.

"We're trying to provide better equity between locals and international visitors," said Barclay Trimble, a park deputy superintendent.

Some of the 26 outfitters who take customers on backpacking trips in the canyon say the proposal will cost people their jobs. If they can't guarantee faraway customers choice destinations in advance, they'll lose business, they say.

Wayne Ranney, who guides some trips commercially and backpacks the canyon in his free time, said he thought locals should have the best chance of hiking the canyon.

"To think of somebody from Cape Town, South Africa, having just as equal a chance as someone from Arizona or the United States -- I know it sounds weird, but I don't think that's fair," he said.
"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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