Years of modeling, planning, and talks, interrupted by lawsuits and inter-agency differences, have produced a proposed air-tour management plan for Grand Canyon National Park that officials believe will restore natural quiet over much of the iconic canyon.
One of, if not the, most-sought permits in the National Park System is the one that allows private groups to run the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. If you want one, the park is now taking applications for the 2012 calendar year.
The list is long, more than 200 names stretching over a century and then some. It's a somber one, as well, tracking the deaths of National Park Service employees from a wide range of fates, from heart attacks to rockfalls to cold-blooded murder.
The recent debate over mule rides in Grand Canyon National Park has left park officials, who say they have to live within their budgets and the public's desires, strongly criticized by mule backers, who say trail impacts might be less of an issue if park managers were smarter with how they spend their money.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials have released a draft environmental assessment that proposes a decade-long series of experimental high-flow releases of the Colorado River from Glen Canyon Dam and through Grand Canyon National Park.
Across the National Park System many changes are expected from climate change, from more wildfires and vanishing glaciers to invasions of non-native species and flight of long-term residents. Writer/photographer Michael Lanza, concerned that today's park landscapes will change significantly by the time his young kids are his age, has been touring the park system with his family to show his children what they might miss later in life.
While mule rides will continue at Grand Canyon National Park under a new stock use plan, only 10 visitors a day will be allowed to ride below the South Rim, a decision lamented by some who say it will deprive many of venturing into the canyon's Inner Gorge.