The National Park Service (NPS) announced on Tuesday, a 30-day extension of the public comment period for Grand Canyon National Park’s Backcountry Management Plan (BMP) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The public comment period began November 23, 2015, and will now close April 4, 2016.

The 30-day extension gives the public additional time to review the DEIS and submit comments for consideration.

The purpose of the BMP is to establish an up-to-date plan that addresses contemporary backcountry issues and provides an adaptable framework that continues to allow the public to experience and preserve Grand Canyon’s unique backcountry and wilderness. Grand Canyon’s existing BMP was completed in 1988, and requires revisions to comply with current NPS laws and policies and the park’s 1995 General Management Plan. The park’s backcountry encompasses over 1.1 million acres, most of which are proposed for wilderness designation.

Public participation is an integral part of this planning process and will help ensure the plan’s success. Anyone wishing to comment on the BMP can do so online at the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website or by mail.

The PEPC database is the preferred method for submitting comments and can be accessed at Click on the “Backcountry Management Plan” or “Open for Comments” tab on the left-hand side of the toolbar and then select the DEIS link.

Comments can also be mailed to: Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Backcountry Management Plan, PO Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.

More information about the Backcountry Management Plan, DEIS, and public scoping will be posted on the PEPC site as it becomes available.

Local guide Will James encourages everyone to send their comments or much of the back country that we all love to explore will be closed off. He adds the government is also trying to limit the number of outfitters and guides to a select few.