In January 2002, the GGNRA released the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to seek public comment on potential options for pet management in GGNRA, consistent with protecting park resources and assuring visitor safety. Over 8,500 comments were received during the 90-day public comment period. The park contracted Northern Arizona University's Social Science Laboratory to compile all ANPR comments and also complete a Public Opinion Telephone Research Survey on dog management in GGNRA.
Later that year, the NPS convened a panel of senior federal officials from outside GGNRA to review the public comments along with other information, including federal laws, guidelines, and policies and make a recommendation to the GGNRA Superintendent as to whether the park should proceed to rulemaking or whether the existing NPS regulation - requiring pets to be on leash in all areas where they are allowed - should remain in effect.
In December 2002, GGNRA sent a recommendation on pet management in the park to Washington, based on the federal panel's recommendation. That recommendation, and the background material referenced, is provided below.