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National Parks Service ends ban on disposable water bottles

  • FILE - In this July 27, 2015, file photo, a long line of hikers head out of the Grand Canyon along the Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. The U.S. federal government announced Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, it will eliminate a policy it put in place to allow national parks like the Grand Canyon to ban the sale of bottled water in an effort to curb litter. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) Ross D. Franklin

  • FILE- In this Aug. 15, 2014, file photo, Bryce Canyon National Park is shown in Bryce Canyon, Utah. The U.S. federal government announced Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, that it will eliminate a policy it put in place to allow national parks like Bryce Canyon to ban the sale of bottled water in an effort to curb litter. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file) Rick Bowmer



Associated Press
Thursday, August 17, 2017

The federal government announced Wednesday it will eliminate a policy it put in place six years ago to allow national parks like the Grand Canyon to ban the sale of bottled water in an effort to curb litter.

The National Parks Service said in a statement it made the decision to “expand hydration options for recreationalists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks.”

The rules were first put in place in 2011 after it became clear discarded water bottles were becoming a big litter problem in national parks. The policy did not stop the sale of bottled sweetened drinks.

Officials say 23 of the 417 National Parks Service sites have implemented the policy since it was enacted. Those include some the nation’s most popular destinations like the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Mount Rushmore.

The bottled water and beverage industry have previously lobbied aggressively to keep bottled water at U.S. national parks.

International Bottled Water Association spokeswoman Jill Culora praised the Park Service’s decision in a statement, calling the policy “seriously flawed” and noted it still allowed other less healthy beverages that are packaged in heavier types of containers.