Grand Canyon to limit rim-to-rim hiking-group size

Grand Canyon National Park is trying to fight overcrowding and the accumulation of clothing, food and even human waste along trails by requiring permits for organized groups and limiting them to 30 people.

Starting Sept. 15, 2014, any group taking organized, rim-to-rim or extended day-hiking and running trips in the inner Canyon will have to pay $175 for a permit.

Super-crowded trails are a problem only about three weekends every spring and three every fall, but the frustrations, impact and behaviors can be “extreme” said Peter Pettengill, the park’s outdoor recreation planner.

Pettengill said rim-to-rim-to-rim, or rim-to-river-and-back hikers sometimes stash food, which can attract animals and make them dependent, and clothing, which can make other hikers worry that someone’s been hurt or gotten lost.

“And there are aesthetic implications as well,” Pettengill said. “if people are out engaging in nature, others don’t want to see clothes or something lying on the side of trail.”

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