I recently returned from my autumn backpack which rejuvenated me and raised my spirits. Before my hike, some of the latest news affecting Grand Canyon, and national parks in general, had me in a dark mood.
The news is still bleak, and I’m going to share some of it, but it’ll just be a summary and where you can learn more. I am not going to go into it in depth; I need to hold onto my good mood a little while longer. I will end this newsletter with some good news though!
Dams Proposed on Little Colorado River
The most recent is a proposal to build two dams on the Little Colorado River not far upstream from the confluence with the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
- Dams Proposed For Little Colorado River Upstream Of Grand Canyon National Park
- Legal Filing Shows Proposed Dams Near Grand Canyon Would Decimate Endangered Fish Habitat
- Conservationists Oppose Plan To Build Dams On Little Colorado River Upstream From Grand Canyon
Administration’s Plan to Privatize Parks
Another controversial plan is to privatize the national parks. Unfortunately, the people making the decisions aren’t those with the public’s interest at heart but only their own pocketbooks.
The team making these momentous decisions include some of the largest concessions management companies in the country. You can learn more by reading the following articles.
- Trump team has a plan for national parks: Amazon, food trucks and no senior discounts
- Trump Advisory Committee Recommends Near Total Privatization of National Parks
South Kaibab Shade Shelter
The South Kaibab Trail is famous for its amazing vistas, but it can also be brutal due to its exposure to the elements. It follows a ridge for much of its distance which also means there is no shade.
Thanks to funding by the Grand Canyon Conservancy (GCC) and working with Grand Canyon National Park, there is now a welcome shade shelter at Tipoff.
A 12 foot by 24 foot shade shelter with 4-foot overhangs around the exterior was erected at the beginning of November to provide shade for hikers.
It features shade screens to provide air flow, six benches inside and a lightning protection system to protect the structure and occupants from lightning strikes.
There are also two 125-gallon cisterns to provide non-potable water for visitors to use to potentially cool down.
Condor Chick Discovered
Some really happy news is that Grand Canyon is proud to be the home of only the 5th wild-hatched California condor chick in the Southwest. Discovered by a Grand Canyon National Park volunteer who goes by “Condor Bob”, the chick was found on O’Neill Butte.
The nestling is the second hatched to a mating pair who had a chick fledge from the park’s Newton Butte in 2016.
Now five chicks may not sound impressive, but when you consider that the entire California condor population consisted of 22 in the world in the 1980s, you might see why this is huge news.
The California Condor Restoration program has been very successful, and as of December 2018, there were 312 birds in the wild. Read more on this happy event at the articles below.