GRAND CANYON - On Jan. 11, the Grand Canyon celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Grand Canyon National Monument with a free admission day and special programs.
The Grand Canyon received its first federal protection when President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. President Theodore Roosevelt declared portions of the reserve Grand Canyon Game Reserve in 1906 and later proclaimed Grand Canyon National Monument on Jan. 11, 1908, to protect the Canyon from uncontrolled development.
Under the authority of the Antiquities Act, Roosevelt established the national monument as an object of scientific interest in that Grand Canyon was the largest eroded canyon in the nation and declared Grand Canyon "the one great site every American should see." The new monument was managed by the U.S. Forest Service until it was proclaimed a National Park in 1919 and transferred to management by the National Park Service.
"This is an exciting time in the history of Grand Canyon National Park," stated park superintendent Steve Martin. "We hope visitors will join us in celebrating this important milestone and 100 years of conservation."
As the National Park Service prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary by looking forward to the next 100 years, so too is Grand Canyon National Park. As continuing links to our collective past and providing insight and hope for our future, Grand Canyon is a place where our natural systems and processes, plants, animals and the geologic landscape that make up critical components of the world in which we live are being protected. The authenticity of these resources enables the awakening of our imagination; they rejuvenate our spirits; and they challenge and strengthen our beliefs and provide opportunities for physical wellbeing. Grand Canyon National Park provokes contemplation and the learning of our past, present and future. It is important to continue to preserve and protect these valuable resources.
"We want to make the park experience relevant to people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures and maintain and provide for a workforce to lead Grand Canyon National Park into the 21st century by ensuring the park is managed in a credible and professional fashion," stated Superintendent Martin, adding, "The selection and implementation of these goals will ensure that the park's landscapes and ecosystems are rich in diversity and protected from degradation."
Some of the projects and programs that will meet these goals include:
Development of the South Rim Visitor Transportation Plan to meet the park's most pressing transportation needs through the year 2020;
Rehabilitation of the historic Hermit Road which will improve the condition of the road and overlooks as well as provide safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists to overlooks and viewpoints along the West Rim;
Continued implementation of a greenway trail system to provide a greater opportunity for visitors to experience the resources of the park;
Expansion of educational programs by bringing 21st century technologies and state-of-the-art science and education to Grand Canyon;
Development of a strong friends group network;
Improving visitor experience by resolving the overflights issue;
Implementation of the recently approved Colorado River Management Plan that will better manage recreational use of the Colorado River;
Continued preservation of fire dependent ecosystems through the application of best available science;
Ensuring that the operation of Glen Canyon Dam meets the intent of the Grand Canyon Protection Act; and
Completing a business analysis of the park to ensure financial sustainability.
"We will need the support of all our partners, communities, park neighbors, the public and other agencies to meet the challenges ahead, stated Superintendent Martin. "We will look forward to working with everyone to ensure this unique world resource is protected and an inspiration to all."
Grand Canyon National Park encompasses over 1.2 million acres of diverse terrain that ranges from 2,000 to 10,000 feet in elevation and includes nine vegetative zones. There are more than 1,730 plant species and nearly 500 fish and wildlife species in the park. The park hosts more than 120 different mammals and reptile species, 14 endangered wildlife species, 11 additional wildlife species of concerns, 19 key invasive wildlife species, 186 exotic plant species, one endangered plant species, and 33 plant species of concern. Grand Canyon is the second most visited national park in the service with nearly 4.5 million visitors annually. Its best known for its scenic beauty and geologic formations.
For more information on Grand Canyon National Park, please visit the park's Web site at www.nps.gov/grca or call (928) 638-7878.
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