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Grand Canyon Crowding

photograph from Nature story

(before 2003)

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The Grand Canyon is running out of empty places. About five million people will visit the Grand Canyon this year. Most of them will see it from parking lots on the South Rim.

There will be many people in a few small places. There will also be many cars. There will be six thousand cars a day in the parking lots. That is three times more cars than parking spaces.

The people who run the Grand Canyon Park are trying to do something about the overcrowding. They have put a limit on boats at the bottom of the canyon. They have put a limit on how low airplanes can fly. Now they want to get rid of the cars.

The manager of the park says that people will like the park without the cars. They will not have to listen to noise from buses, motorcycles, and helicopters.

The Grand Canyon Railway wants to put a small train along the South Rim. It would be for people who like train rides. They could have more time to see the park.

There are many things to do in the Grand Canyon National Park. People do not need cars for all of them. They can raft down the Colorado River. They can hike on the trails.

The millions of visitors to the South Rim hurt the park. Their showers and toilets take water from the springs and streams around the canyon. Animals and plants need that water.

There are other dangers to the Grand Canyon. Smog makes it hard to see the views. A dam cools and cleans the water. This hurts the plants and animals nearby.

The way people visit the National Parks is changing. People may have to make reservations to get into Grand Canyon. They may have to pay $20 to get in.

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