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Fri, Feb. 28

Wedding plans at Grand Canyon? Park says seek permit sooner

Special Use and Commercial Use Permits are issued by the National Park Service for visitors to Grand Canyon. The permit processing time period will temporarily be extended effective Feb. 14 until this summer. (Photo/Adobe stock)

Special Use and Commercial Use Permits are issued by the National Park Service for visitors to Grand Canyon. The permit processing time period will temporarily be extended effective Feb. 14 until this summer. (Photo/Adobe stock)

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — If you want to tie the knot at the Grand Canyon, you'll want to get your request in sooner.

A lack of staffing means applications for special use permits will take longer to process, park officials said this week.

Weddings, family reunions, memorial services, organized group hikes or runs within the canyon, and scattering ashes within the park all require special use permits.

The most popular request is to say "I do" at Shoshone Point at the South Rim, the only viewpoint available for outdoor receptions, or at a multi-purpose building known as Shrine of the Ages, said Sharon Ringsven, the park's deputy chief of commercial services. Other wedding locations are available within the park.

Basic permits now take up to 30 days to process but will take up to 45 days starting Feb. 14. More complex requests could take up to 90 days.

Commercial use authorizations also will be subject to the longer processing time. Road-based tours are the most popular in this category, Ringsven said. She said most commercial operations based outside the park that operate on a year-to-year basis already have permits.

Permits for events associated with First Amendment rights will take precedence, the park said.

Rather than placing a moratorium on the permit applications, the park extended the processing time until sometime this summer while it works to fill vacant positions, Ringsven said.

"We're encouraging everyone to submit applications early," she said.

The park vets applications to determine if the proposed activity would harm resources at the Grand Canyon, affect visitors or be contrary to the park's mission.

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