Feb
15
2007

Grand Canyonland? Will new attraction cheapen a natural wonder or help a needy people?

Artist's view: This aerial view shows how the Skywalk will jut out over the Grand Canyon up to 70 feet from the rim. It will soar more than 4,000 feet over the bottom of the canyon.
Artist's view: This aerial view shows how the Skywalk will jut out over the Grand Canyon up to 70 feet from the rim. It will soar more than 4,000 feet over the bottom of the canyon.
Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to spend eight days rafting through the Grand Canyon. It was simply the most awesome natural experience I’ve ever had.

Today, much to my surprise, I read that a tribe of Native Americans with a reservation along the canyon’s south rim will be opening an attraction on and over the canyon that will rattle, in my humble opinion, that natural balance of that beautiful place.

The key piece of the development Grand Canyon West will be a 70-foot long cantilevered walkway arching out over the canyon. It will be more than 4,000 feet over the Colorado River below at the canyon’s base.

The Hualapai Tribe will be charging visitors $25 a pop to walk out over the canyon on the Skyway. It hopes that the attraction will be a way to generate revenue for the tribe, whose people have a 50 percent unemployment rate living in the isolated location along the canyon. Construction of the glass-tube-bridge is nearly done and visitors should be able to start walking out on it in March.

Currently, the tribe operates flyover trips above the canyon and also pontoon boat rides on the canyon’s river. Eventually, it hopes to have a cable car tram to transport people up and down the canyon walls without the need for daylong hikes. Longer range plans call for a hotel, shopping and golf course to be developed near the Skywalk.

Natural Canyon: Here's a natural view of the Grand Canyon, the vantage point from which most visitors experience the canyon on visits there.
Natural Canyon: Here's a natural view of the Grand Canyon, the vantage point from which most visitors experience the canyon on visits there.
The reservation sits outside of the national park boundaries, so the tribe doesn’t have to comply with regulations that cover national parks. But since the Colorado River flows through the park and reservation, activity on the river does need to meet park guidelines.

All that said, there seem to be a lot more questions than answers over this situation. Will this kind of development take away from natural qualities of the canyon? I think so. What do you think?

The tribe is using one of its geographical advantages to try to help improve the lives of its people. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? Share your ideas and comments here.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

BERNIE's picture
BERNIE says:

I FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT WHAT THE HUALAPAI HAVE DONE. IT FEELS GREAT TO SEE AN AMERICAN INDIAN GROUP DO AN INDUSTRIOUS AMERICAN THING.

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 1:57pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well, i can't say much because they wouldn't be 50% unemployed if my ancestors hadn't pillaged and raped them of everything they had... but, that being said, I still think it will be a disgusting sore on the landscape and I'm very surprised a Native American tribe is capitalizing off of holy land like that. Isn't that what the fight against "Mt. Rushmore" and "Crazy Horse" was about, except it seems the white man switched sides with the Indians? Beats me.

posted on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 2:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think it will cheapen a natural wonder

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 2:04pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i agree with you. i think it will cheapen a natural wonder.

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 4:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

great! from cambridge isanti

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 2:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I have visted the Grand Canyon several times, and the awesome beauty of the place never ceses to amaze me. I don't think the Skywalk will do anything to take away from the awesome loveliness of this american treasure. More power to the Native Americans if they can profit from this construction, and entice more tourist to view this wonder of nature.

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 4:03pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Would you prefer that this tribe put up a casino, like so many other tribes have to help out their economic concerns? I applaud the tribes inventiveness and do not believe that this skyway can do anything but enhance the enjoyment of the public should they choose to take a walk.

posted on Fri, 03/09/2007 - 3:36pm
dine_mother's picture
dine_mother says:

I have walked on the grand canyon skywalk and it is an awesome feeling. Like some who have said it is like flying. Hooray to the Hualapai Nation for putting this skywalk up. The Grand Canyon South and West rim have been doing a lot of business for many years and been bringing money in for good old uncle sam. The tribes of Arizona have felt for ages that the canyon was sacred to them, but did the white man ever feel like asking them how to preserve it. No, they took the land from the tribes and did what they wanted with it. The Hualapai land is only a fraction of what it was before they were forced off their land. Most members live in a small community 50 miles from town(Kingman,AZ) There they do their shopping, banking, and other businesses.Have you ever had to pay twice the amount for gas as the people in town? Yes, there is poverty and unemployment. But let these proud Native Americans help themselves and to help their children have a better life. Like the old saying "walk in their moccasins before you judge others"

posted on Wed, 03/21/2007 - 6:42am
Raymond's picture
Raymond says:

"Walk in their moccasins"?

Goodness gracious. What a perfectly bizarre thing to say.
Still, I suppose I'd better walk a mile in your crocs, or whatever all white people wear, before I pass judgement.

posted on Sat, 07/14/2007 - 3:21pm
casey2357's picture
casey2357 says:

With all the crap going on in the world today, this is all you have to talk about? Please leave the Native American people alone! Remember, what goes around, comes around, maybe it is time for the Native American's come around!

posted on Wed, 03/21/2007 - 3:07pm
Lyle's picture
Lyle says:

so cool

posted on Wed, 03/21/2007 - 4:04pm
wally's picture
wally says:

i think it is GREAT IDEA

posted on Fri, 03/23/2007 - 5:42am
CARMEN ZITA AGUIRRECHU's picture
CARMEN ZITA AGUIRRECHU says:

I ALSO HAVE BEEN TO THE GRAND CANYON. IT WAS A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE!

WE ARE GOING AGAIN TO VEGAS IN JUNE 07 AND WE WILL GO BACK TO THE GRAND CANYON, MY HUSBAND AND I ARE GOING FOR THE SKYWAY.

WE ARE GLAD TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF THE CANOYN, AND THAT THE AMERICAN
INDIAN HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND AND MAKE SUCH NEEDED MONEY
FOR THEIR REGION. BLESS YOU ALL AND ALL WHO VIVIT THE SKYWAY.

posted on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 10:58am
Kathi O'D's picture
Kathi O'D says:

I see this as a "win-win" situation. As a tribe, the Hualapai have taken steps to help improve the economic situation of it's members. For the rest of us, we get an opportunity to see the Canyon from a unique perspective. Compared to other development that could have been brought into this area in order to improve economic conditions, I see this as one of the least obtrusive.

It should be noted however, that while it may cost $25 to walk on the Skyway, you must first purchase an admittance ticket to Grand Canyon West. This costs $49.95, so the real cost to walk on the Skyway is $74.95.

posted on Tue, 04/03/2007 - 7:43pm
Thomas Vitz, D.D.S.'s picture
Thomas Vitz, D.D.S. says:

Is it the cost or the experience that is important? I never heard anyone complain about Disney World vacation expense or how much draining the swamps ruined the environment. Nor of the building of DisneyLand in the middle of all of the orange fields of Southern California! The couples of the last generation went to the Niagara Falls for a romantic time or to get engaged, yet few people realize how little water actually flows over the falls today as compaired to 60 years ago...much of it being diverted up stream to provide electrical power.

My daughter and her boy friend became engaged last Monday while on the Skyway. A truely romantic experience for both of them.

Thank you Hualapai for having the imagination, and determination to proceed with a true modern wonder to behold!

posted on Wed, 04/04/2007 - 4:04pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here's an article from a Minnesota writer on his trip to the Skywalk.

posted on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 12:56pm
dre's picture
dre says:

I'm doing a progect on The grand canyon skywalk. I could use some help to.

posted on Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

As someone said, better this than a casino. As to affecting the Canyon experience, most folks don't seem to realize this is a hundred miles from the National Park. And no one is criticizing the hotels and tourist industry there and they are much more intrusive. The place is big enough to take on a little glass walkway. Besides, having hiked the Canyon a dozen times, from the Havasupai, to the North Rim and all over the bottom, the real experience is in the Canyon, not at the rim.

posted on Sat, 05/05/2007 - 1:07am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Here's an update on the Skywalk....the Hualapai people have reached a court settlement that will allow for a road to be paved to the site of the Skywalk. So far, people have had to drive over a treacherous 14-mile gravel road to get to the west rim site. Several cars have been claimed as casualties on the rough road. The paved road should be completed in a couple years.

Also, here's scoop on what it costs to experience the Skywalk. The cheapest package is $81.20 for adults and $61.16 for children, which includes shuttle service along the canyon edge, a horse-drawn wagon ride, a walking tour through a museum of Indian houses and lunch.

posted on Sat, 07/14/2007 - 10:34am
demc22's picture
demc22 says:

I worked out at grand canyon west over the summer...we had tourist coming in from vegas from all over the world..and all we heard was nothing but positive things about the hualapai tribe and what they are doing with the land..we had at least one out of ten complaining but ...so i say we're doing a superGreat job...

TRIBAL MEMBER

posted on Thu, 11/15/2007 - 12:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

One thing nobody has mentioned is that they did a pretty good job keeping the architecture of the building quite anonymous and fits in pretty nicely with the landscape. Not to mention, the engineering behind a cantilever of that size is really astounding!

That price is discouraging I have to say, just as discouraging as the $20 or so I paid to go to the top of the Empire State Building. But that's what it takes I guess to maintain these places with the volume of traffic that goes through them.

posted on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 10:06am
jerry's picture
jerry says:

i think that if they have it so rough then move. leave the canyon as is. we all have it rough in one way or another.
its nice to be able to go places and get away from people

posted on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 11:08am
Grand canyon's picture

Very nice post,Grand Canyon is the favorite for the tourist.I think that it also dengerious place.I will be lucky if i go there.thanks for your post.

posted on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 1:07pm

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