Julie and I have tentatively planned on leaving the Utah border on June 2 and ending our hike on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Approximately thirty-six miles of our hike are in Grand Canyon National Park and permits are required to camp in the park.
“Each year Grand Canyon National Park receives approximately 30,000 requests for backcountry permits. The park issues 13,000 permits…”
We’ll need backcountry permits for one night on North Rim and for one night each at Cottonwood and Bright Angel campgrounds in the canyon. Assuming we get these, we plan on spending one night each in lodges on the North and South Rims and will need to make separate reservations. Tomorrow, February 1, is the earliest we can apply for permits in June.
The pressure is on – but it is not on us. If we don’t receive a permit, we’ll modify our hiking plans. The pressure is on the park service, the environment and people living in cities and urban areas.
Nature and wilderness can positively affect health issues such as obesity, wellness, stress and depression. I’ve read that children who play outside develop more creativity than children confined to buildings. We need – not just want or desire – but need nature and wilderness.
As the population grows and corporations see the opportunity to profit from wilderness areas, the danger is that we’ll lose more lands and remaining lands will be stressed beyond sustainable levels. If we choose to limit the stress on the environment through permit systems then many people will be denied an opportunity to experience what is a native right. Even with permits, the ability to find quiet, solitude and areas unscarred by human activity is almost impossible.
The pressure is on! It’s on us – you and me – to protect, preserve and bequeath a natural world.