CRUNCH TIME AT THE CANYON

OVERFLOW CROWDS, ANTIQUATED FACILITIES AND A BUDGET CRISIS THREATEN THE CROWN JEWEL OF NATIONAL PARKS

PHYLLIS CHRISTY CAME ALL THE way from Ipswich, South Dakota, to experience the Grand Canyon firsthand. She couldn't wait to peer into its dizzying, mile-deep abyss to take in the multihued walls and, far below, the roaring waters of the Colorado River. Aware of the jostling horde of tourists on the overcrowded South Rim of the canyon, she traveled to the less popular main overlook at the North Rim. But while she stood there, her ears were assaulted by the drone of two sightseeing Cessnas and a Twin Otter, plus the clatter of four helicopters--all of which flew by within a...