New Transportation Facilities Open At Grand Canyon NP
On September 12th, 2012, officials at Grand Canyon National Park celebrated the introduction of several new facilities aimed at reducing traffic congestion on the popular South Rim of the park. Superintendent Dave Uberuaga hosted a ribbon cutting at the north end of the gateway community of Tusayan, Arizona, where a new trailhead and parking lot has been constructed just outside of the south entrance to the park.
The recently completed Tusayan Greenway extends for approximately six and one-half miles from the new parking lot to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Grand Canyon National Park has been developing a multi-modal trail system for those entering the park on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback.
“The park’s greenway trail system now totals 18.5 miles, and the paved sections meet Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas,” said Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. “It offers visitors and park residents of varying abilities a great opportunity to enjoy the park without their cars. Additionally, the Tusayan Greenway is shared by a portion of the Arizona Trail.” That trail stretches more than 800 miles from Mexico to the Utah border; the new parking lot also serves as a trailhead for the Arizona Trail.
Superintendent Uberuaga added that construction of the Tusayan Greenway was in part funded by the Grand Canyon Greenway endowment established by the Nina Mason Pullium Charitable Trust in 2001.
The new Tusayan parking lot has 100 parking spaces that will serve both the Tusayan Greenway and as parking for visitors who choose to park and ride the seasonal Tusayan Shuttle into the park. That free shuttle service ended for the 2012 season on September 7th, although other portions of the Grand Canyon shuttle system will continue to operate though November on the South Rim.
In addition to opening the new greenway trailhead and parking lot, a new bicycle rental business hosted an open house at its location in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center plaza. Bright Angel Bicycles, LLC, has ben awarded the park's first contract to provide bicycle rentals at the Bike Rental and Cafe, which opened in June. Services include guided bicycle tours, bicycle rentals and repairs, plus light food service offerings.
Those attending the ribbon cutting ceremony in Tusayan were invited to bring bicycles and ride to the bike rental facility open house afterward, a 13-mile round trip.
The greenway, parking lot, shuttles, and bike rental facility all support the 2008 South Rim Visitor Transportation plan, which called for improved traffic flow, lower congestion, adequate parking, and multi-modal opportunities to visiting the South Rim.
Photos: both Tusayan images should be credited as NPS Photo by Michael Quinn