Welcome home Chris Lehnertz!
Oh, what a week or so it has been in the Grand Canyon region. First of all, I am happy and relieved to report that Grand Canyon Superintendent Christine Lehnertz has been cleared all of allegations against her.
The undisclosed allegations were found to be completely unfounded and were thought by most familiar with her as very suspicious. Grand Canyon will be very happy to have Chris back.
Chris was brought on as superintendent of the park in July 2016 to help overcome its legacy of long-running sexual harassment among some divisions.
More information can be found on the National Parks Traveler site: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/02/grand-canyon-superintendent-lehnertz-cleared-all-allegations.
North Rim Concessions Contract Up For Bid
Some other significant news comes from the north side of Grand Canyon as the National Park Service is in the process of soliciting bids for a new concession contract for the North Rim. While the South Rim’s concessions are operated by Xanterra and Delaware North, the North Rim is currently under a subsidiary of Forever Resorts.
The new contract will require more investment from whomever wins the bid. However, the contract will reward them 15 years rather than the typical 10-year contract the other concessioners have. The concession operates the the lodging, food services, retail (except for the cooperating association’s bookstore), gas station, and more.
Some exciting news is that a new shuttle service is going to be put into place that operates between the main lodge and the general store near the campground. This will be a very nice addition for those who hike across or take the Trans-Canyon Shuttle and are basically stranded once they get to the campground.
Read more about the concession contract and what it encompasses: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/02/grand-canyon-national-parks-north-rim-concession-bid.
Bye Bye Bedrock City
Those of you who have driven up to Grand Canyon’s South Rim from Williams or Flagstaff have no doubt seen Flintstones Bedrock City in the community of Valle at the junction of Highways 64 and 180. Bedrock City is a Flintstones cartoon theme park that has always seemed so out of place to me.
Well, it appears that Bedrock City has been sold. I understand that it had been on the market since 2015. The Flintstones structures are being torn down. A new “Raptor Ranch: Birds of Prey” park is replacing it. It is going to be a showcase for falconry. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it is done well.
Fees Returned to Parks
On a national front, news on the recent government shutdown covered the use of FLREA (Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act) fees to keep some parks open to the public. This caused a huge controversy as these funds are those generated from entrance fees and supposed to be for maintenance and ranger oversight.
The funds are already stretched way too thin in a good year; the parks need them for their intended purpose. This “robbing Peter to pay Paul” had lawmakers and conservationists up in arms and ready for war.
Then a couple days ago, the White House did a turnabout and said they will fully restore the FLREA funds to pre-shutdown levels.
For a good article on this situation, visit https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/429327-lawmakers-stunned-by-national-park-shutdown-funding-reversal.
Until next time, Happy Trails.