The National Park Service is proposing to implement a day use reservation/fee system for the Tuweep area in the Grand Canyon, which includes the Toroweap overlook. Because of the rugged 4WD roads that access this site, this area is a popular destination for off-roaders who want to enjoy a remote, primitive experience of the Grand Canyon. There is currently limited campsites in the designated campground and the proposals will restrict use even more.
In the case of Tuweep, it is one of the very limited destinations that caters to the interest of off-road enthusiasts. Because of this, any reduction of access will be targeted and discriminatory to one user group that already has only limited opportunities for exploring National Parks. The access routes create a natural barrier that will prevent the masses that are naturally drawn to the more hardened, paved destinations within the park. It is true that the number of people who own capable 4×4 vehicles is growing significantly, but NPS should consider increasing carrying capacity and parking infrastructure near the site to accommodate this growth that has taken over 20 years to materialize.
The National Park Service recognizes that the carrying capacity of the site is 30 vehicles at one time in its 1995 management plan. The proposed reservation system suggests a limitation to 20 vehicles per day. We don’t think the use levels at their current levels requires this reservation system. Quite simply, 20 vehicles per day, is unreasonable, and the public shouldn’t support such a severe restriction of access. If NPS recognized a more reasonable carrying capacity that is consistent with its 1995 plan, it would find that the reservation system is currently unnecessary.
Because this is a high-value destination for so many off-roaders, we have a full briefing of this issue and an action alert to add your voice before April 6. We’ve been encouraging comments on this issue on social media, and many allied groups are engaging in the process. We encourage everyone to add their own experience to our suggested talking points to build the record that the cultural experience of off-roading is inherently valuable and worth protecting as a form of access.