U.S. agency considers more visitors to The Wave along Utah-Arizona border

The Bureau of Land Management is weighing increasing its daily visitor limits from 20 to 96 people a day at The Wave, a popular rock formation near the Utah-Arizona border.

A 6-mile round trip hike through tall sandstone buttes and sage brush is required to get to the Wave, a wide, sloping basin of searing reds, oranges and yellows in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

The agency is asking for public comment and changes could be implemented as soon as October, 2019, an agency official said.

Applications to hike The Wave have drastically increased over the past five years as the trail’s colorful, contoured landscape becomes increasingly well-known.

Visitors compete for permits in a monthly online lottery and at daily walk-in drawings at the Kanab visitor center in southern Utah. Less than 5% of the 150,000 people who wanted to hike the trail last year were actually able to do it, according to federal data.

The limit is designed to protect the delicate sandstone environment and create a peaceful solitude, the spokesman said.

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