By Lilit Marcus, CNN
One of America’s most popular national park hikes will require a permit from 2022.
Zion National Park officials have announced that starting April 1, 2022, visitors looking to tackle the famous Angels Landing hike, which climbs a 1,488-foot-high rock formation to reveal breathtaking views of the canyons below, will have to enter online lottery to try to get a permit.
“Angels Landing is one of Zion National Park’s most iconic destinations and the permitting will make the visit fair for everyone,” National Park Service (NPS) Director Jeff Bradybaugh said in a statement.
He added, “The system we have in place will reduce congestion on the trail, resolve safety concerns, and make it easy for visitors to plan ahead. “
Interested travelers will need to go to Recreation.gov and pay $ 6 to participate in an online lottery. There will be two kinds of lotteries: seasonal and last minute. The first will open on January 3 for permits starting on April 1.
Lucky visitors who get permits will then have to pay $ 3 per person. The fees are used to support the park rangers who will manage the crowd flow and permit checks.
Bradybaugh confirms the new permitting system is a work in progress and encourages feedback from visitors once it has started.
The Angels Landing hike is one of the most popular on the NPS network, but it can also be dangerous. There have been 10 known deaths there since 2004, most recently a 19-year-old hiker who reportedly fell from the rock when she died in the fall of 2019.
Overpopulation has been a major problem.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. national parks have filled with domestic travelers. Arches National Park, another of Utah’s “Mighty Five”, had to turn away visitors when the crowds grew too large.
Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, chief spokesperson for the NPS, told CNN that 2021 “will be one of our busiest summers and years ever.”
In addition to the erosion that can be caused by too many pairs of boots walking the same trails, overcrowding can also cause short-term problems.
Many inexperienced campers and hikers have visited NPS sites this year, some of whom have left trash, posted graffiti, or disobeyed other park rules. Unprepared visitors can also run out of water, injure themselves, or require emergency services.
Zion National Park welcomed around 4.5 million visitors in 2019, according to NPS data.
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