Tomorrow, Arizona and the nation celebrate the Centennial of the Grand Canyon as a United States National Park. The anniversary commemorates 100 years since President Woodrow Wilson established the Grand Canyon as a national park.
President Teddy Roosevelt, who led the effort to conserve the Grand Canyon and proclaimed it a national monument in 1908, said:
“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.”
The Grand Canyon later became a national park on February 26, 1919. In its first year as part of the National Park System, approximately 40,000 people visited. Since then, over 200 million people have enjoyed the beauty and wonder of the Grand Canyon.
An International Tourist Destination and Economic Pillar
- The Grand Canyon is a major economic pillar for surrounding communities in rural Arizona, hosting approximately 6 million domestic and international visitors every year, who spend nearly $650 million in the surrounding communities (2016).
- The visitors support nearly 10,000 jobs in the areas around the park and benefit the local economy in excess of $900 million (2016).
Grand Canyon Protection Plan
In January 2018 during a federal government shutdown, Governor Doug Ducey took emergency steps to keep the Grand Canyon open, saying, “the Grand Canyon will not close on our watch.”
To build on these actions and protect the Grand Canyon in future, Governor Ducey in February 2018 issued an executive order formalizing plans to keep the Grand Canyon open during future federal funding lapses. When the government shutdown in December of 2018, the Grand Canyon remained open for visitors from near and far to enjoy, just as it did earlier in the year.
More on the Grand Canyon →
- The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world — and the only one in the United States.
- At its widest point, the Grand Canyon reaches 18 miles across. At its narrowest, the Grand Canyon stretches 4 miles.
- At 277 miles long and over one mile deep, the canyon is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
- The Grand Canyon National Park provides a home to over 90 animal species, surpassing Yellowstone in mammal diversity.
- The first person credited with using the name, “Grand Canyon,” was John Wesley Powell, who led the first excursion down the canyon in 1869.
- With a population of just over 200, Supai Village is located at the base of the Grand Canyon within the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Due to its remote location, Supai Village receives its mail via pack mule.
Although the Grand Canyon officially turns 100 tomorrow, the Grand Canyon National Conservancy and National Park Service are celebrating the centennial all year long. For a list of events happening at the Grand Canyon and across the state, click HERE.
For more on the history of the Grand Canyon, visit “100 Years Of Grand,” a compilation of Grand Canyon archives compiled by Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the Grand Canyon National Park HERE.