Grand Canyon – the World’s marvel …

Posted on July 4, 2010. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personal Stuff, Personalities |

The Grand Canyon at 277 miles length, 4 to 18 miles width and over a mile or 6000 feet deep, is neither the deepest nor the broadest gorge in the world. There is a deeper one in Nepal and a longer and broader one in Australia.

Yet the Grand Canyon remains famed for its visually overwhelming size and intricate and colorful landscape. Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history lies exposed courtesy the Colorado River and its tributaries which have cut up the plateau. 

The Grand Canyon’s history stretches back some 10,500 years. Native Americans have inhabited it for at least the last 4,000 years. In 1540, Spanish soldiers with Hopi guides came to the Canyon. They were  followed, some two hundred years later by two Spanish priests who became the second group of westerners to see the it.  

U.S. Army Major John Powell led the 1869 Geographic Expedition through the canyon. This and later studies by geologists uncovered the geology of the Canyon’s area and helped  advance that knowledge.

In the late 19th century, the promise of mineral resources, namely copper and asbestos, renewed interest in the region. But residents soon  realized that tourism was destined to be more profitable than mining and at the turn of the century the Grand Canyon was a well-known tourist destination.

Most visitors made the grueling trip from nearby towns to the South Rim by stagecoach.  President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.

In 1901 the Grand Canyon Railway was opened from Williams (Arizona) to the South Rim and tourist facilities including the Grand Canyon Village were established. The Phantom Ranch in the Inner Gorge at the bottom, was established in 1922.

The Grand Canyon was made a forest reserve in 1893 and then a U.S. National Monument. It became a National Park in 1919, three years after that Service was created,

Today, the Grand Canyon National Park receives about five million visitors each year. The annual visitation in 1919 was a mere 44,173.

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