In a move to enhance visitor experiences and simplify the backcountry permitting process, Grand Canyon National Park is set to introduce a new online booking system for backcountry camping starting in 2024. The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that visitors seeking to camp in the Grand Canyon’s backcountry can conveniently book and pay for their sites through Recreation.gov.
Streamlining Backcountry Permitting Process
The transition to Recreation.gov is expected to streamline the backcountry permitting process, eliminating the need for visitors to complete and submit forms in person, by mail, or by fax to the Backcountry Information Center, as is currently done. Park Superintendent Ed Keable expressed enthusiasm for the improved system, stating that it will offer significant benefits to the public and staff alike, facilitating better visitor planning and overall experiences.
Convenient Reservation Requests
Under the new system, reservations for backcountry camping can be requested up to four months in advance through the early access lottery when the application system is online. This ensures that campers can plan their excursions well in advance and secure their preferred camping locations with ease.
Updated Permit Costs
Starting next year, the new online system will implement revised permit costs. Each permit or lottery application will be priced at $10. Additionally, campers will be required to pay a nightly fee of $12 per person for all locations below the rim and a fee of $4 per person for all areas above the rim. This adjustment replaces the current fee structure, where travelers pay $12 per person per night for camping below the rim and $12 per group per night for camping above the rim. Notably, the permit application fee remains at $10.
Faster Approval Process
With the current method potentially taking up to a month for permission approval, the new online system aims to expedite this process, ensuring quicker and more efficient turnaround times for campers. By eliminating lengthy waiting periods, the NPS seeks to improve visitor satisfaction and encourage more outdoor enthusiasts to explore the breathtaking backcountry of the Grand Canyon.
Previous Year’s Permit Statistics
In the previous year, the NPS issued just over 12,400 permits for backcountry camping. Additionally, the park offers a limited number of last-minute camping permits to visitors at Cottonwood, Bright Angel, and Havasupai Gardens.
As the Grand Canyon National Park embraces this new era of backcountry camping reservation and payment processes, campers and nature enthusiasts can look forward to a more convenient and enjoyable experience in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.