Of all the controversies bedeviling those who utilize Grand Canyon’s busiest trails, perhaps none is more polarizing than the presence of passenger mules. This historic four-legged conveyance has delivered thousands of grateful riders to the canyon depths and back, many of whom would be otherwise rim-bound due to physical limitations. For hikers, the mules range from a fleeting curiosity to filthy, momentum-busting beasts. And that’s before you factor in the dust and droppings.
The National Park Service has just released an environmental assessment of the mule operation at Grand Canyon National Park, and is currently soliciting public comment as it finalizes a management strategy going forward.