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121

Mittwoch, 10. April 2019, 18:44

Finding of No Significant Impact Signed for the Desert View Inter-Tribal Cultural Heritage Site Plan/Environmental Assessment at Grand Canyon National Park

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Acting Regional Director for the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service (NPS), for a site plan to transform Desert View in Grand Canyon National Park into an Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site and share a unifying message from the park's traditionally associated tribes: "we are still here". The NPS is committed to honoring the cultural, historic, and spiritual connections that each tribe holds to the Grand Canyon.

Located at the southeast edge of Grand Canyon National Park, Desert View is near the east entrance to the park. Desert View provides many visitors with their first introduction and orientation to some of the park's most significant resources, including the Desert View Watchtower, a national historic landmark, and its surrounding historic district. The area also offers spectacular views of the Painted Desert and the Little Colorado River Gorge.

Over the last five years, the NPS has worked collaboratively with representatives from the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians (representing five bands of Southern Paiute Indians), Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, Zuni, and Yavapai-Apache tribes; the Grand Canyon Conservancy; the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA); the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and park concessioners to increase cultural demonstrations at Desert View and identify the necessary infrastructure needed to transform the area into an Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site.

In 2018, the NPS prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Desert View Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site Plan. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the EA evaluated a no action alternative and one action alternative. Public comments received during a 30-day public comment period, that ended November 24, 2018, were used in preparation of the FONSI.

Under the park's selected action, the NPS will continue to partner with associated tribes and park partners to create authentic, first-voice tribal interpretation and expand opportunities for cultural and educational programs including demonstrations, exhibits, and personal interactions with tribal representatives and artisans. In support of these expanded programs, the NPS will modify existing infrastructure, rehabilitate and reuse historic buildings, and complete some new construction within the existing developed footprint at Desert View.

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122

Donnerstag, 2. Mai 2019, 18:20

North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park to Open May 15 for 2019 Season

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The gate at the entrance to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will open on Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 a.m. to mark the official opening of the North Rim for the 2019 season. Grand Canyon Lodge and Grand Canyon Trail Rides will also commence their 2019 seasonal operations. Other businesses on the Kaibab Plateau, from Jacob Lake to the park boundary, are expected to be open by May 15.
All services provided by the National Park Service, including the Visitor Center, Backcountry Information Office, and campground, as well as the Grand Canyon Conservancy bookstore, will be available on May 15 at 8 a.m. Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim operations including lodging, groceries, camper services, food services, and gas station, will also open May 15. Lunch will be served starting at 11:30 a.m, lodge check-in will begin at 4 p.m., and seating for dinner will begin at 4:45 p.m.
Visitors to the North Rim will see construction this summer as a water distribution line replacement project gets under way. At various times, work will take place in the campground, employee housing areas, near the lodge and along access roads. Updates will be posted regularly on the park’s website and at various locations on the north rim.
The last day of the 2019 season for most commercial services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs will be October 15, 2019. The National Park Service will continue its operations including the visitor center, Backcountry Information Office, and campground through October 31. November 1 through December 1 the North Rim will be open for day use only (no overnight parking) unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date.

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123

Donnerstag, 9. Mai 2019, 19:24

Grand Canyon National Park Settles On Plan To Replace Transcanyon Water Pipeline

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Grand Canyon National Park officials have settled on a plan to replace their antiquated and leaky Transcanyon Water Pipeline, but they'll need roughly $100 million and the project isn't expected to be completed and up and running until 2025.
Under the plan, the head of the pipeline at Roaring Springs high on the North Rim of the park would be moved down to the bottom of the canyon near Phantom Ranch. There, one of two options would be pursued to obtain the water.
One would be to sink 2-8 shallow alluvial wells located along Bright Angel Creek, a project that would have an operating capacity of 1 million gallons a day. If that's not possible, the second option would entail a surface water intake built on the south end of Phantom Ranch along the creek.
The purpose of the pipeline project is to provide a reliable water delivery system to meet water supply needs at the South Rim and in the Cross Canyon Corridor in the national park. The new project is intended to support the park for approximately 50 years.
Design work is just getting under way on the project, which is expected to cost anywhere between $80 million and $110 million. Funding from park entrance fees and National Park Service line-item construction dollars would be used to pay for the new pipeline.
The current pipeline was constructed in the 1960s, is beyond its useful life, and experiences between five and 30 breaks/leaks a year due to pipe weld failures at joints, internal pipe corrosion, freezing, flooding, and falling rocks, according to park staff.
The pipeline provides water for more than 6 million annual visitors and approximately 2,500 year-round residents, and also provides firefighting water.
The pipeline was built in the 1960s and actually is listed as a "historic district" because of its connection to the massive Mission 66 building program the Park Service conducted between 1956 and 1966 to upgrade park facilities across the system. It has its source at Roaring Springs, which comes out of a cave system that collects snowmelt and precipitation, on the North Rim. The intake there feeds a pipeline that runs down to Phantom Ranch, crosses the Colorado River attached to the "Silver Bridge," and continues on to Indian Garden, where a pump station pushes the water on to the top of the South Rim.
The desire to find a new water source near Phantom Ranch, if successful, would necessitate a disturbance of about 8-9 acres there for a water treatment plant, boost station, the alluvial wells or surface water intake system, water tanks and pipeline, and accommodations for employees. Additional acreage would be needed at Indian Garden for a treatment plant, water tank, and other infrastructure (1-2 acres), at the South Rim for a treatment plant, pipeline, expanded helibase for equipment sorties, and staging areas (15-16 acres), between Phantom Ranch and Indian Garden for new pipeline (11 acres), and for new pipeline from Roaring Springs to the nearby Cottonwood Campground (2-3 acres).
The work is expected to take four-five years. At times the Bright Angel Trail would be closed to hikers, who would be diverted to the South Kaibab Trail. Mule trips would be halted during construction closures along the Bright Angel and North Kaibab trails due to concerns that noise from helicopter flights (up to 12 a day) and construction could scare the animals and jeopardize rider safety.
Closures of the Bright Angel and Indian Garden campgrounds also would be possible, though intermittently and no longer than two weeks at a time.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts could lose up to $3.5 million of the concessionaire's gross annual revenue if Phantom Ranch is closed for the eight busiest months of the year. That amount could be lowered to $1 million-$1.5 million if the closures were spread out over three years and didn't last longer than 2-3 months each year.
Outfitters that lead backpacking trips into the canyon also would lose money -- possibly a combined $1 million-$2 million over three years -- under the preferred alternative.
By sourcing water near Phantom Ranch, the plan would eliminate one of the existing pipeline sections through "the Box" where most of the breaks occur, staff said.

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124

Freitag, 10. Mai 2019, 17:21

Celebrate Grand Canyon National Park's 100th Anniversary during Star Party Week, June 22-29

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The twenty-ninth annual Grand Canyon Star Party will be held Saturday, June 22 through Saturday, June 29, 2019 on the South and North Rims of Grand Canyon National Park. Amateur astronomers from across the country will volunteer their telescopes and expertise for the enjoyment of park visitors. Numerous telescopes will offer views of planets Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, and Mars, as well as double stars, star clusters, nebulae and distant galaxies-and the Moon, earlier in the week. By day, keep an eye out for solar telescopes pointed at the sun. Weather permitting, expect spectacular views of the universe!

National parks such as Grand Canyon are protective havens for some of the last remaining dark skies in this country. Three years ago, Grand Canyon National Park announced that it received Provisional International Dark Sky Park status through the International Dark-Sky Association. Provisional status gave the park three years to retrofit two-thirds of the lights in the park to be night-sky friendly.

This year, the National Park Service celebrates Grand Canyon National Park's full designation as an International Dark Sky Park, having completed the retrofit requirements in May 2019. We also celebrate the park's 100th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Grand Canyon was a training ground for the Apollo astronauts where they learned about geological processes before making their epic journey to another world.

To celebrate this confluence of milestones we will host a kick off ceremony on June 22 at 10 a.m. at Mather Point Amphitheater. This ceremony will feature remarks from Grand Canyon National Park leadership, Grand Canyon Conservancy leadership, and International Dark-Sky Association leadership.

During the day on the South Rim, visitors can stop by the Grand Canyon Visitor Center for a variety of activities. Cultural demonstrators will be present all week from 9 am to 5 pm Jr. Ranger Day will take place on June 22 and a film festival will take place June 23-28. Finally, to close out the week, the park will host a Summerfest festival on June 29.

During the evening on the South Rim events include a nightly slide show at 8 pm in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Theater followed by free telescope viewing and constellation tours behind the building. To guarantee a seat at the slide show, arrive early; doors open at 7:40 pm and the theater has limited capacity. Green-laser Constellation Tours will be offered at 9, 9:30 and 10 pm. Night sky photography workshops will be offered at 10 pm on the 23, 24, 25, 26 and 28 beginning at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Theater. Parking is available in Lots 1 through 4 (Lot 4 is accessible), or arrive by the free Village Route shuttle bus which runs until 11 pm. Telescope viewing is best after 9 pm and continues well into the night; visitors may arrive any time after dark. A flashlight is recommended for the walk to the viewing area, but white lights are not permitted on the Telescope Lot. Give your eyes time to adapt to the dark, or use a red headlamp.

On the North Rim, telescopes will be set up on the veranda of the Grand Canyon Lodge every evening. Astronomers will also use green lasers to point out constellations. An astronomy slide show will be presented at 8 pm nightly in the lodge auditorium. By day, look for solar telescopes on the veranda and elsewhere. Check the Visitor Center and park bulletin boards for program topics and additional details.

Nighttime temperatures on both rims can be quite cool, even in summer. Those attending the Star Party are encouraged to bring warm layers of clothing. When traveling in the park on the South Rim, it is best to find a parking space and use the free shuttle bus system to access points of interest in the Grand Canyon Village area.

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125

Mittwoch, 15. Mai 2019, 19:55

Backcountry Users Advised of Changes to Water Availability on North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails

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National Park Service maintenance staff are working diligently to bring inner canyon seasonal utilities on line now that the risk of freezing conditions has passed. As part of this annual effort, they must repair winter damage to the water pipeline and test water quality prior to opening facilities to the public.

Due to water turbidity and maintenance issues, some of the water filling stations and flush toilets normally available along the North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails at this time of the year will not be open until water conditions change and/or water line repairs are made. The following is a list of the status of inner canyon facilities, as of Tuesday, May 14, 2019:

North Kaibab Trail

Water Available:
Manzanita Day Use Area
Water Unavailable:
Supai Tunnel
Roaring Springs Day Use Area
Cottonwood Campground


Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground

Water available:
Phantom Ranch
Campground restroom - Bucket flushing required. Compost toilets are available.
River restroom - Closed


Bright Angel Trail

Water Available:
Indian Garden
Three-Mile Resthouse
Water Unavailable:
Mile and a Half Resthouse

This information on the status of inner canyon facilities will be updated as conditions change.

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