Grand Canyon National Park is a United States National Park located in Arizona. It covers 1,218,375 acres of magnificent canyon land and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. Grand Canyon National Park was designated a national park on February 26, 1919, by President Woodrow Wilson.
The area of the Grand Canyon has been inhabited since approximately 8000 BC. The most famous inhabitants of the area were the Anasazi people, who lived in villages built along the canyon rim and cliff faces. They also farmed on small plots of land near the Colorado River. Other Native American tribes occupied parts of the area until Apache raiders forced them out in 1200 AD.
Delving into the depths of the Grand Canyon, archaeologists have unearthed a captivating find - delicate split-twig figurines dating back to 1000-2000 BC. These intricately crafted relics, resembling majestic deer and bighorn sheep, offer a fascinating glimpse into the rituals of prehistoric hunters.
The story of the Grand Canyon doesn't end there. Descendants of the Ancestral Pueblo people, such as the Paiute, Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi tribes, once called this awe-inspiring wonder their home. However, it is the Havasupai people who now proudly claim the Grand Canyon as their ancestral homeland, with a rich history spanning over 800 years.
In 1540, Spanish explorer García López de Cárdenas became the first European to set foot in the Grand Canyon. In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell and his crew of nine men became the first explorers to travel down the entire length of the Colorado River on a three-month expedition. A railroad was then built by the Santa Fe Railway that enabled tourists to visit the area more easily.
Early Preservation Efforts
In 1882, President Chester A. Arthur established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve which prevented any claims to the land from being made by mining companies or other private interests. In 1893, Congress created the Grand Canyon National Monument under President Benjamin Harrison. This protected 80 square miles of the canyon from development and exploitation. In 1919, after many years of advocacy by John Muir and the Sierra Club, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Grand Canyon National Park Act which established the Grand Canyon as a national park.
Establishing the Park
Journeying from failed congressional bills to national park status, the Grand Canyon's path was challenging but ultimately triumphant. Theodore Roosevelt's visits led to its designation as a National Monument in 1908, and in 1919, it officially became a national park under Woodrow Wilson.
Grand Canyon National Park boasts two remarkable areas: the North and South Rims. Standing 7,000 feet above sea level, the South Rim offers unparalleled accessibility, with numerous scenic spots for visitors to marvel at. On the other hand, the North Rim sits 1,000 feet higher and is less frequented due to its challenging accessibility, especially during harsh winter conditions. The distance by car between the two rims is 220 miles, but intrepid hikers can traverse the 21-mile Kaibab Trails to experience the canyon's awe-inspiring expanse on foot.
Today, Grand Canyon National Park is protected as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. It is home to several different Native American tribes who continue to inhabit the region. Visitors can explore the area on foot, by car or by boat. There are various trails and viewpoints that offer spectacular views of the canyon and its many geological features. The park also offers a wide variety of activities such as rafting, kayaking, camping, biking and horseback riding.
Grand Canyon Today
Today, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring places on earth. It continues to be a major tourist destination for travelers from all over the world who come to marvel at its grandeur and take in its incomparable scenery. The park's multitude of trails, overlooks, and activities provide visitors with endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Whether you choose to hike through its vastness, take a mule ride along the rim, or take in the majestic views from a lookout point, Grand Canyon National Park is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.