Before marching headlong into the New Year, you may enjoy a snap recap of 2008 at Grand Canyon National Park. It was a dynamic year indeed.
The National Park Service celebrated both the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon being declared a national monument (national park status would follow in 1919), and the 75th anniversary of the amazing contributions of the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.
Flooding also made the headlines. Once in the form of an experimental “high flow event” on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (the third of its kind), and the other in a devastating, storm-fueled flash flood that ravaged the Havasu Creek drainage – home to the Havasupai tribe and their majestic waterfalls.
The park service completed an extensive construction and repair project on the historic Hermit Road, reopening with pomp and circumstance in November.
Among the “firsts” the park service and their partners conducted a wildly successful “Celebrate Wildlife” day, and a marathon footrace that attracted hundreds of eager runners from around the country.
The Verkamp family ended their century-long presence on the rim in Grand Canyon Village as purveyors of Native American handicrafts and other souvenirs. The NPS has converted their landmark structure into a visitor center in partnership with the Grand Canyon Association who will operate a retail outlet as well.
Finally, although the world economic turmoil put a damper on park visitation, people still continued to arrive in droves to enjoy the grandest of canyons. Along with hundreds of my fellow Grand Canyon residents, I look forward to another wonderful year living on the edge, and would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!