grand canyon

Anne Minard

Grand Canyon National Park is in the lengthy process of revamping its back country management plan, which  regulates where people can go and what rules they have to follow. 

The park’s plan is still a ways off, but one proposal that’s likely to surface could cause quite a stink.

Zack Summit, from Prescott, and a couple of his friends went backpacking in the Grand Canyon in early April.

Overall they had a pleasant time.

But Summit isn’t likely to forget his one early morning surprise.

Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) deal will help ensure that tour flight operators have continued access to the Grand Canyon. It also gives the National Park Service leeway to develop its own regulations. Attached as an amendment to transportation legislation, McCain called the deal "a major step forward."

The amendment allows the Park Service some freedom in regulating the quantity, location, and time of day in which tour flights can operate. Some critics of the deal think that’s not enough.

She would have been the youngest person to have hiked the entire length of the Grand Canyon - about a thousand miles off trail. Ioana Hociota, 24, was close to her goal when she stepped on the wrong rock and died in a hiking accident.

Shelley Smithson

Sheryl Strobeck is the office manager of an RV campground in the tiny town of Tusayan.  Since moving here eight years ago, she’s worked at most of the businesses in town.

But every time her job changes, her home address changes too.

That’s because all of the housing in Tusayan is owned by companies who rent it to their employees.

“You can’t live here unless you work here," she says. "There’s nothing to rent here unless you are employed. Nothing.”

And that’s why Strobeck supports the Stilo Development Group’s plans.


The Grand Canyon National Park is renegotiating the terms of its contract with the current concessionaire, Xanterra.

Helping to shape that new contract will be the new Park Superintendent, David Uberuaga.

He was involved in writing contract regulations several years ago when he was Superintendent at Mt Rainier National Park in Washington.

Grand Canyon enthusiasts celebrated Arizona’s centennial recently with a History Symposium at the South Rim.  And some of the most interesting research came from amateur historians in love with the Canyon.

Dennis Foster teaches applied macro-economics at Northern Arizona University.  That’s his day job.  He spends his free time studying Grand Canyon and its history. For the past 15 years Foster has been investigating the 1882 – 83 Charles Walcott expedition.   

The Italian real estate developer planning a major resort near the Grand Canyon is suing the town of Tusayan to block a vote on the development.

Stilo Development Group USA filed suit this week against the tiny town of Tusayan, located at the southern entrance to the Grand Canyon.

The suit came as a surprise to town leaders.

They had voted last fall in favor of rezoning and annexation agreements for the firm’s commercial and housing developments.  

Streetwise Cycle

While environmentalists are praising a decision by the National Park Service to abolish bottled water sales in the Grand Canyon within 30 days,  concerns about corporate influence at public parks  linger.

The plan to ban plastic water bottle sales in the Grand Canyon goes back to 2010.

But just before the new policy was to take effect, the Park Service halted it.

Critics complained that the parks chief caved in to Coca Cola, which bottles Dasani Water and has donated $13 million to the parks.

Tobias Alt

Grand Canyon National Park will begin banning the sale of bottled water inside the park within 30 days.

The decision could cost the park’s concessionaire, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a pretty penny.

But the company is applauding the park’s decision.

Chris Lane, vice president of sustainability at Xanterra, says the company lobbied for the ban.

“Our foremost goal is to reduce waste and the impacts associated with bottled water," he said.

The Grand Canyon is perhaps the most visually stunning place on the planet. But does it feel the same if you can’t see? A group of blind teenagers are on a two-week trek and rafting adventure at the bottom.

Near the edge of the Grand Canyon Esha Mehta listens to distant thunder and feels cool rain fall on her face.

“My vision of nature comes from the sounds, then I make up what I imagine it to look like,” Mehta says.