Revamped Bright Angel Trail dedication May 18 at 4 p.m.
Grand Canyon, Ariz.- Grand Canyon National Park and the Grand Canyon Association (GCA) will dedicate the renovated trailhead for the Bright Angel Trail, one of the oldest and best-known trails in the National Park system, with a ribbon cutting ceremony open to the public on May 18 at 4 p.m.
This renovation encompasses a 3.5-acre area around the Bright Angel Trailhead.
The project created an accessible and comfortable area for visitors, which complements existing historic buildings including the Bright Angel Lodge and Rim Cabins, designed by architect Mary Colter.
Without much significant development in the past 100 years, many people have had a hard time finding the trailhead and there was no convenient or comfortable place for people to sit to either enjoy the view or prepare for hikes. The renovation will greatly improve conditions at and around the trailhead, providing a much better experience for park visitors.
The Havasupai people originally built Bright Angel Trail as one of the first entryways into Grand Canyon. John Cameron then popularized the trail to the burgeoning tourist community in the early 1900s.
Historic Kolb studios, home to the Kolb brothers' photography business is located overhanging the Bright Angel Trail and is also currently undergoing reconstruction. Today, nearly 4.5 million people a year visit Grand Canyon National Park and several thousand people pass through the Bright Angel Trailhead area on a typical summer day. Day and overnight hikers, mule riders, shuttle bus riders and rim walkers use the trail. In addition, visitors park in this area to access lodging, visitor services and the trailhead.
The new design for the area includes a paved parking lot around the Bright Angel Rim Cabins for approximately 87 vehicles; new restrooms and a plaza area with shade structures for visitors to rest or prepare for their hike; a new accessible path from the shuttle bus stop to Kolb Studio; reconstruction of two stone walls; burial of the overhead electrical and phone lines; removal of an underground storage tank; and an etched rock sign for the Bright Angel Trailhead.
"Constructing these much needed accommodations at the Bright Angel Trailhead to bring it up to modern standards has been a dream in the works for over a decade," Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said. "With funding available through the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and generous donors this, we are proud to finally complete this project."
Private donations and federal money that comes from park entrance fees financially supported the project.
"We are greatly appreciative of the donor support we received for the Bright Angel Trailhead Renovation project," GCA Executive Director Susan Schroeder said. "This area of the park is so meaningful to many people in many ways from the exhilaration of climbing out of the Canyon after a long hike to the simple pleasure of enjoying the expansive canyon view with your family."
Grand Canyon National Park and the GCA are thankful to Stewart and Ellen Horesji, Arizona Public Service, William and Elizabeth Sweeny and Rick and Frances Rockwell for their contributions.
Grand Canyon National Park Project Manager, Vicky Stinson oversaw the project and Merrill, Inc., out of Cheyenne, WY completed the construction. Chevo Studios and Rock & Co., both from Denver, Colo., built the stone masonry walls, seating areas and the new identity sign.
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