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Wed, Aug. 12

Grand Canyon National Park's biggest fan

Millions of people visit Grand Canyon National Park each year, but not all that many know about the Park's official non-profit fundraising partner, the Grand Canyon Association (GCA).

GCA has been around since 1932 when Park naturalist, Eddie McKee founded the association primarily to publish and preserve research done by park scientists. Today, GCA publishes both popular and educational titles on Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau. GCA operates two bookstores on the North Rim and six on the South Rim, all selling merchandise that fosters an appreciation for the park's natural and human history.

As visitation has increased over the years, so too has GCA's mission, which now includes preserving and protecting Grand Canyon National Park by cultivating support, education and understanding of the park.

Do Something Grand

One of the ways GCA does this is through the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Created in 1993, the institute offers a unique way to experience the ecologic, historic and geologic features of the Canyon through fun and informative guided hikes or backpacking and river rafting trips. Most classes need to be booked in advance, but this year there will be half-day walking tour called A Grand Rim Adventure, which is available for same-day booking (space permitting).

GCA hosts the annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, as well as other changing art exhibits at Kolb Studio and cultural events. The Celebration of Art is in its third year with invited artists painting on both the North and South Rims. Proceeds from this event will go toward building a permanent art venue at the South Rim.

GCA sponsors lectures led by prominent Canyon and Colorado plateau experts throughout Arizona and the Travelin' Trunk Program reaches into schools to offer a variety of canyon-themed lessons and learning aids. This is a free resource for teachers. The Junior Ranger program teaches youth about the value of our natural resources.

Be a Part of Something Grand

GCA is committed to building a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. We can't do it without you. Membership dues and donations go toward providing interpretive educational programs and scientific research, funding visitor improvements, restoring historic buildings in the park, such as Kolb Studio, improving trails and safety and funding search-and-rescue efforts. To learn more, visit > www.grandcanyon.org .

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