Happy 100th Birthday Grand Canyon!
It is Grand Canyon’s 100th Birthday today! Although President Theodore Roosevelt declared Grand Canyon a national monument on January 11, 1908, it was President Woodrow Wilson that gave the park its protective national park status on February 26, 1919. National park status provides much more protection than being a national monument does.
Grand Canyon is hosting events throughout the year to celebrate the centennial. To view a list for the entire year, visit the park’s 2019 Centennial Events page. Needless to say, there are events all day today to celebrate, including birthday cake at 2:00 PM!
Native Stories Finally Being Told
Before Spanish conquistadors peered over the rim of the Grand Canyon in 1540, Native Americans had been living for centuries both on the rims and in the Inner Gorge.
There are 11 tribes traditionally associated with the park. As in the rest of the country, their stories have been relegated to background noise.
That is finally changing at the Grand Canyon. Architect Mary Colter’s Desert View Watchtower has been restored, including cleaning Hopi Fred Kabotie’s beautiful murals, and being used to tell their stories.
The Watchtower will soon house an intertribal cultural heritage program. Learn more at ‘Our stories need to be told’: Grand Canyon park enlisting Native input as it marks 100 years. You can hear the story below from NPR station, KJZZ.
Wild Weather Blankets the Region
Last week saw some “Wild West” weather all over the region. Thursday’s storm broke an all-time record in Flagstaff for the most snowfall ever in one day! I know that many people are under the misconception that Arizona is all desert, but it isn’t so, folks!
Flagstaff’s elevation is 7,000 feet, and if you were here Thursday, February 22nd, you knew it! 40″ of snow dumped on the town, closing schools, businesses, highways and basically everything else.
The Flagstaff Airport’s previous record of 31 inches from December 30, 1915 was broken handily by the latest total 24-hour snowfall of 33.1 inches.
Payson, to the south and east and at 5,000 feet elevation, received nearly 2 feet of snow and stranded travelers due to the highways in and out being closed.
Even Phoenix and Tucson got snow! Do a Google search, and you’ll see some amazing photos of desert scenes complete with saguaro cactus topped by actual accumulation.
Petrified Forest National Park and Grand Falls
I happened to be at Petrified Forest National Park for the epic storm. I captured some photos once it cleared and before the snow melted. It is rare to get this kind of snow and not be able to see the Painted Desert colors!
Then on Sunday, we drove out to Grand Falls on the Little Colorado. Wow! You could see snow below next to the falls, but it was all tinted by the chocolate-colored water being splashed on it.
It was very cold, and the road was alternately snowy and muddy, but it was worth the drive.
Below are photos of Petrified Forest and Grand Falls. I also took a short video of the falls which you can view at YouTube.
Weather for the upcoming week is drying out and will be milder, although snow is possible by the weekend. As always, you can find weather links for the rims and Inner Gorge locations on my Grand Canyon Weather page.
Until next time, Happy Trails.