The first Europeans to lay eyes upon the Grand Canyon were Spanish soldiers under the command of Garcia Lopez de Cardenas. In search of safe passageways between Spanish missions in modern day New Mexico and California, the party reached the South Rim with their Hopi guides in 1540. Stymied by the expansive canyon, they abandoned their quest and eventually returned to Mexico where their quest began. It would be centuries before explorers, hunters, and prospectors would follow in their footsteps, ushering in the modern day fascination with the grandest of canyons.
The roots of the Hispanic connection to the Grand Canyon are about to grow even deeper as Grand Canyon National Park takes the first steps toward establishing a “sister park” relationship with a Mexican land reserve. An official gathering designed to strengthen this growing partnership between the National Park Service and their Mexican government counterparts took place at Grand Canyon National Park on February 25th. The “Shared Heritage, Shared Stewardship” conference represented another step toward strengthening ties between two countries that share common resources, such as the Sonoran Desert in the case of Grand Canyon, and environmental concerns.