There is this place they call “The Wave”. I think it looks like bacon.

There is this place they call “The Wave”. I think it looks like bacon. 

There is local  landscape photography in every doctors office I’ve been to and I think that’s how I learned about “The Wave”, soon after moving to Arizona, 10 years ago. Going to the wave isn’t as easy as paying your entrance fee to a National Park, but then again, this is much smaller place. Visiting the Wave, Coyote Buttes, requires a permit. There are 20 permits issued daily, 10 in person at the BLM office and 10 online through a lottery system. 

I applied on and off, here and there, for years until a couple years ago where I really tried to stay on top of it. I applied monthly – like it was paying my electric bill and  finally I won this coveted permit. I applied in various ways, weekdays, weekends different numbers of people. I actually got a permit just in time for my birthday and I decided to make it a special event. I invited my most favorite people, and people that I thought would appreciate this experience and understood what it meant to hold this permit.

We gathered together over the map and made our way out toward where the secret wave was. The feeling of being there with no one around only added to our experience. We had it mostly to ourselves though we crossed paths with some other and also guardians of the wave, park volunteers. I was really glad to see the volunteers, as I felt the sacredness of this place immediately on site. My friends and I walked up to the wave which was swept over with a light snow. It was stunning and it felt special. It was quiet and you could see how it came to be, you could see how the wind swept and swirled in the sand to create it.

My little group split up from each other and scrambled over the sandstone to discover it for ourselves – in our own way and in this way, with so few others, we could have THIS experience. This nature experience where there isn’t a significant trail system or the voices of others or presence of others in the distance or even near by. We were able to look out and see nothing man made at all, not man/him/her/they (ya know)self, nor the sound or the impact or anything. THIS is the experience that we should be preserving instead of opening up the permitting system to more permits and more people in this sensitive landscape.

It was frustrating to apply for the wave, year after year but glad to finally get a permit several years later. Nevertheless, I would not have it anyother way. It’s because of this system that the wilderness experience of this place was preserved for my experience and will continue to be preserved IF there isn’t change to the amount of permits allowed. While I was there I was able to enjoy this natural experience without the presence of many others which is worth more than anything to me.

Coyote Buttes/ The Wave and The Permitting Issue:

  • They release 20 permits a day right now.
  • They want to increase it to 96!!

96 people a day would mean roughly 35,000 a year. Walking trail and using bathroom along the trail verses 7,300 a year at current levels. 

The wave and nearby formations are very fragile, this would create a lack of solitude, more trash, more trampling, less wildlife (which depend on the potholes for water which the wave contains (too many people animals disappear and or die off leaving a domino effect of the loss of plants and other animals).

Perhaps changes could me made to permitting applications, like the point system for river trips that would ensure more fairness than the lottery.

If you are interested please submit your comments to protect The Wave from unnecessary overuse and more visitation:

blm_az_vcnm_pcvc_comments@blm.gov

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Subject: “Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs comments”

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