SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. government is more than tripling the number of daily visitors allowed to hike the colorful, contoured landscape of a U.S. Southwestern hike called The Wave.
The new plan announced Monday comes during the waning days of the Trump administration. It will take effect Feb. 1.
Under the new decision, the number of hiking permits issued for the Wave will increase from 20 to 64 people and/or 16 groups per day, whichever comes first.
Fewer than 4% of the 200,000 people who requested permits in 2018 were granted them.
Conservation groups decried the decision as a mistake that will damage the fragile desert landscape and cut into the solitude of the hiking experience.
In 2018, more than 200,000 individuals applied for the 7,300 hiking permits available annually to access the site.
Only 3.6 percent of applicants were able to obtain a permit to access the Wave.
This prompted the Bureau of Land Management to explore options for expanding visitor access in a manner that protects the character of the site and its unique natural features.