The New Year began with the mercury registering negative 26 degrees. Trapped inside by the arctic blast, there is little else to do but ponder the year behind. It was another exciting year at the grandest of chasms, with many milestones, anniversaries, and new developments to herald.
The year began with record-breaking snowfall that tested the limits of both roof and plow, but left the cliffs and slopes of the canyon as picturesque as ever. As 2010 progressed, dramatic infrastructure changes to the Mather Point area and beyond helped improve the visitor experience for generations to come. Smaller initiatives were sprinkled throughout the park, such as the new Trail of Time interpretive walkway on the South Rim, additional restrooms for visitors at popular overlooks, and much-needed improvements to corridor hiking trails.
The inaugural Archaeology Day joined a host of public events that continued their multi-year runs such as the Star Party, Celebration of Arts, Grand Canyon Music Festival, Wildlife Day, and the Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Symposium.
A visit by Vice President Biden to highlight park projects funded by the Recovery Act and the roll out of the new Grand Canyon National Park quarter by the U.S. Mint made headlines, as did the announced retirement of park superintendent Steve Martin.
These of course are just the newsmaking events; the real story at Grand Canyon is the 4.5 million visitors who travel from near and far to marvel at the amazing landscape that a few of us are lucky enough to call home. I hope that visiting your Grand Canyon National Park is high on your list of resolutions. Happy New Year one and all!
For a list of National Park Service accomplishments in 2010 visit: http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/grand-canyon-national-park-accomplishments-outlined-in-new-report-for-fiscal-years-2009-and-2010.htm