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The Traveller's Magazine
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It’s only natural to build tourist amenities and attractions near popular destinations. From cable cars to shopping and entertainment complexes, the US National Parks Service thinks the Grand Canyon is facing its biggest threat in history: eager property developers.

Around 5 million visitors head to Arizona to admire the Grand Canyon every year. There’s no arguing that it’s one of the most incredible natural sites in the world but the US National Parks Service has expressed concerns that the Grand Canyon is facing the biggest threat in its history, and they’re pointing the fingers at over-ambitious property developers.

Two major developments are being proposed for the area. One includes a shopping and entertainment complex near the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River, sacred land for a native tribe. The complex will also feature a $1.5 million gondola attraction that would stretch down into the park’s boundaries to shuttle tourists from the top to the bottom of the canyon floor.

mules
Currently, mule is the only way for hikers to reach the canyon floor

The second is a housing and retail development that would include an amphitheatre for concerts on the southern rim of the canyon and add 2,200 homes and 3 million square feet of retail space to Tusayan, a small town near the Grand Canyon that currently has a population of less than 1,000.

The Parks Service is concerned for a number reasons. One is that the projects will threaten the habitats of endangered species living in and near the Canyon as well as encroaching on the neighbouring tribe’s sacred land. Then there’s the noise and light pollution in one of the darkest places in the USA.  Add to that stress on the already scarce water supply in the area…

Experience the Grand Canyon while the views are still good! Catch flights to Las Vegas. From there, it’s only a couple hours drive to Arizona’s biggest attraction.

Imgs: aigle_dore, grand_canyon_nps / Flickr cc.

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