USNPS considers limiting mule trains at Grand Canyon

Changes could be in store for the mule trains that have carried tourists and supplies in and out of the Grand Canyon for more than a century.

Mules are hard on the trails, eroding them quickly. Now, the National Park Service is considering its options as it weighs a mandate to preserve the land for future generations and its need to provide experiences for the public.

No one is banning mules since there are no roads into the canyon. The sure-footed animals are the only way to move some supplies.

But park officials are studying alternatives, including limiting the number into the canyon.

Much of the damage to trails comes from mules, said the head of the park's facilities management, Tim Jarrell.

"It's pretty simple. These are heavy animals," he said.

He calls the canyon "the world's greatest erosion project," adding, "It doesn't need that much help."

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