What is a permit lottery?
In order to obtain a noncommercial permit to raft the Colorado River, you have to enter into the permit lottery. Not many people understand what a permit lottery is, so we’re here to explain that to you. A noncommercial permit simply means that you would like to raft the grand canyon on your own, without a guide to help you along the way. It is an entirely self-guided trip (but who would want that when you can raft with us?). Only a small amount of permits are handed out each year, and before implementing the permit lottery, people could be on a waitlist for as long as 20 years just to get a chance to receive a permit to raft the grand canyon on their own. So, the permit lottery system was formed. While it isn’t perfect by any means, it is a bit fairer. For three weeks in February, anybody who is interested may submit one lottery application. If your application is chosen from the lottery drawing, you can bring up to 16 people with you on your self-guided rafting trip! It is a completely randomized drawing, so everyone who enters gets an equal chance at receiving the noncommercial permit. If you plan to bring 16 people with you on your trip, have everyone apply to increase your chances of winning!
Fees increasing for everyone
The National Park Service (NPS) is considering increasing the entrance fees for up to 17 popular National Parks. Currently, admission into most National Parks is $30 for a single vehicle, $25 for motorcycles, and $15 for individual permits if you are entering by foot. NPS has suggested raising the entrance fee to as much as $70 per vehicle during peak visitation seasons. If implemented, estimates suggest that the peak-season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year. That is a 34 percent increase over the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016. While most view this as an inconvenience, these changes can drastically help improve our national parks. The revenue made from these increases can help provide better maintenance for these parks, especially since we have seen a drastic increase in popularity among National Parks in the most recent years.
On top of fees increasing for the visitors, tourism companies will also most likely be seeing an increase in prices soon. Included in the proposed hike are fee increases for companies bringing buses and vans of tourists into parks. Currently, tourism companies can be charged $300 to bring in a bus of tourists, but that charge could increase to as high as $1,200 soon. Grand Canyon also increased fees for individual companies doing business in the park. Because of this, tourists can expect to soon see prices inching upward in the park. Like visitor entrance fees, these tourism and individual company fees go toward park improvements. All commercial use authorization fees stay within the collecting park and go to fund rehabilitation projects for buildings, facilities, parking lots, roads, and wayside exhibits that would enhance the visitor experience.
Aerial Tram Coming Soon?
Last year, a legislation was proposed to the Navajo Nation Lawmakers to build an aerial tram into the Grand Canyon. Finally, after a year of struggling to gain support for this legislation, the Navajo Nation Lawmakers plan to focus an entire meeting towards discussing this possibility for the park this week. The tram would carry visitors from the Grand Canyon's eastern edge 3,200 feet down to the Colorado River in 10 minutes. Developers say the 65 million dollar project would revitalize the region's economy. Opponents say it would desecrate the area. What do you think? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the matter!