ST. GEORGE — The Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip District has released the environmental assessment for its proposal to increase the number of permits issued to hikers accessing The Wave each day. In addition to seeking comments on the assessment, there will be a public hearing on the issue Tuesday in St. George.
The proposed change of management in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area could potentially increase the number of visitors to The Wave each day from the current 20 to a maximum of 96.
The hike has become increasingly popular over the years, and thanks to social media and location’s popularity among photographers, demand for permits continues to increase, BLM Arizona Strip District Manager Mike Herder said. Last year, the BLM received over 200,000 requests for only 7,300 permits.
“The word is out. And so at this time, it has become necessary for us to at least look at the potential for expanding visitor use out there,” Herder said.
The word is out. And so at this time, it has become necessary for us to at least look at the potential for expanding visitor use out there.
The environmental assessment for the proposal was released Sept. 13, and while they identified several potential impacts, so far none of them have been considered to be “significant.”
The release of the assessment marks the start of a public comment period that will remain open until Oct. 12. The goal of the comment period is for the BLM to determine the public’s overall opinion of the proposal as well as identify any additional environmental impacts not noted in the assessment, which analyzed two alternatives for increasing access to The Wave.