Canyon Sketches eMagazine

Canyon Sketches are short, timely and newsworthy updates about Grand Canyon's natural, cultural and recreational resources. They highlight the ongoing work that Grand Canyon's Science and Resource Management staff does to monitor, inventory, restore, and rehabilitate park resources. The Canyon Sketches eMagazine is designed to provide specific information on resource challenges and Science and Resource Management activities.
Canyon Sketches Vol 26 - March 2013
Archaic Roasting Pit Excavated Near Three-Mile Resthouse on Bright Angel Trail
In March 2008, archeologists from the Museum of Northern Arizona and Grand Canyon National Park excavated a prehistoric roasting pit near Three-Mile Resthouse on Bright Angel Trail that added to the understanding of the prehistoric human use of the area..
Canyon Sketches Vol 25 - May 2012
Museum Collection Curates Rare Minerals from Grandview Mine
Grandviewite is turquoise-colored mineral only known from the Grandview Mine that was not formally named and described until 2007. In 2010, more than 1,200 mineral specimens from Grandview Mine were added to the Grand Canyon National Park's Museum Collection.

Canyon Sketches Vol 24 - March 2012
Grand Canyon National Parks Marks National Invasive Species Awareness Week
Grand Canyon faces serious threats from invasive plants, non-native fish, and wildlife species including non-native bison/cattle hybrids on the North Rim. Learn more about the National Park Service's efforts to control or reduce the impacts non-native species have on the park's natural systems.

Canyon Sketches Vol 23 - September 2011
2011 Humpback Chub Translocations to Havasu and Shinumo Creeks
In June 2011, Grand Canyon National Park took another major step in the effort to restore native fish populations in the Grand Canyon with the release of 243 juvenile humpback chub into Havasu Creek. Translocations to tributaries may establish additional spawning populations of this endangered species in Grand Canyon or add to the number of humpback chub living in the Colorado River.

Canyon Sketches Vol 22 - July 2011
Grand Canyon Field Institute's "Hands On Archaeology" Excavation
Participants in the 2011 Grand Canyon Field Institute's Hands On Archaeology class excavated a historic site near the Grand Canyon Village that will be impacted by construction of a multipurpose trail. Students in the Hands On class learned about excavation techniques while assisting Grand Canyon National Park archaeologists evaluate the section of the site that the trail will cross.

Canyon Sketches Vol 21 - January 2011
Second Humpback Chub Translocation to Shinumo Creek in 2010
In June 2010, fisheries biologists released 300 young humpback chub into Shinumo Creek in Grand Canyon National Park. This second translocation augmented the number of humpback chub in Shinumo Creek following the 2009 release. Biologists hope that Shinumo Creek will provide rearing habitat for humpback chub in a natural environment outside the Little Colorado River.
Canyon Sketches Vol 20 - September 2010
Grand Canyon Association Grant provided by the National Parks Conservation Association Supports Grand Canyon’s Vegetation Volunteer Program
Grand Canyon’s Vegetation Volunteer Program received a boost in 2010: a $70,000 grant from the Grand Canyon Association. Volunteers play a key role in protecting and restoring the park’s native vegetation.

Canyon Sketches Vol 19 - May 2010
The Sandy Point Basalt: A Geological Beacon for the Age of Grand Canyon
Near South Cove, in the upper part of Lake Mead, The Sandy Point basalt outcrop under the navigation light is as important to geologists investigating the origin and evolution of Grand Canyon as the Sandy Point navigation light is to boaters.


Canyon Sketches Vol 18 - March 2010
NPS Archeology "Blitz Trip" Visits Archeological Sites along the Colorado River Corridor
Archeologists from Grand Canyon National Park and the Museum of Northern Arizona visited 107 archeological sites along the Colorado River in February. This “archeology blitz” river trip allowed crews to complete detailed assessments at many sites including Unkar Delta, and monitor check dams that control erosion at approximately 30 sites.

Canyon Sketches Vol 17 - February 2010
Grand Canyon Private Boater's Association Teams Up with NPS Staff to Rehabilitate Lees Ferry’s Private Boater’s Campsite
In early February, five volunteers from Grand Canyon’s private boating community worked side-by-side with Grand Canyon National Park staff to improve the private boater camp at Lees Ferry. Crews defined camping pads, constructed trail and built fencing to define the parking area. The goal of the work was reduce human impacts to the area’s riparian vegetation and to enlarge the camp to accommodate two groups at a time. The project also was an opportunity for members of the private boating community to get to know park staff in an informal environment.

Canyon Sketches Vol 16 - January 2010
Grand Canyon National Park takes steps to recover the endangered sentry milk-vetch
The park took significant actions in 2009 to recovery the endangered sentry milk-vetch, including constructing a passive solar greenhouse to house an ex situ population and conducting seed germination trials.

Canyon Sketches Vol 15 - November 2009
Invasive Plant Control in Tuweep
In March 2009, Grand Canyon National Park teamed up with the Coconino Rural Environmental Corps (CREC) to eradicate invasive plants in the Tuweep District.

Canyon Sketches Vol 14 - October 2009
Native Plant Restoration at the South Rim Visitor Center
Every construction project in the park, such as the improvement in visitor facilities at Mather Point and the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, is designed to minimize impacts on the park’s plants and incorporates vegetation restoration work at its completion.

Canyon Sketches Vol 13 - September 2009
Four historic fire lookout towers in Grand Canyon National Park have been listed on the National Historic Lookout Register
The National Historic Lookout Register identifies historic lookout towers that have played an important role in forest conservation. These towers are no longer active, but they were an important role in the early fire-fighting efforts of Grand Canyon National Park.

Canyon Sketches Vol 12 - August 2009
300 Humpback Chub Translocated into Shinumo Creek
On June 15, 300 young humpback chub were translocated from the Little Colorado River to Shinumo Creek in order assess the feasibility of establishing an additional population of this endangered species in a Grand Canyon tributary.


Canyon Sketches Vol 11 - July 2009
Grand Canyon National Park’s Mountain Lion Ecology Program Is Tracking Six Lions
Over an eight day period in mid May 2009, wildlife biologists from Grand Canyon National Park’s Division of Science and Resource Management trapped four mountain lions. Each lion was fitted with a radio collar with GPS capabilities that will enable biologists to learn about lion movement patterns, habitat use, and prey composition. This ongoing study will allow park managers to better understand mountain lion’s role as the top predator on the southern Colorado Plateau.


Canyon Sketches Vol 10 - May 2009
Alternative Spring Break Participants Contribute to Preserving Grand Canyon's Natural Resources
Sixty college students spent their spring break in March 2009 at Grand Canyon National Park volunteering with the Student Conservation Association in partnership with the NPS and American Eagle Outfitters. The students worked on a variety of conservation projects with Science and Resource Management specialists and park rangers, had opportunities to learn about the NPS mission to preserve the park, and to explore the canyon on their own.

Canyon Sketches Vol 09 - March 2009
Archeologists Excavate Two Sites Along the Colorado River
During the Fall of 2008, archeologists excavated two archeological sites as part of a three-year project along the Colorado River corridor in Grand Canyon. One of the excavated sites has evidence of as many as six different human occupations over a time span of 3,500 years.
Canyon Sketches Vol 08 - December 2008
Park Biologists Survey for Non-Native Brown-Headed Cowbirds
Park biologists located 500 nests of songbirds in Grand Canyon National Park in 2008. Biologists searched for the nests as part of a project aimed at understanding the distribution of brown-headed cowbirds in the park, a non-native species. Cowbirds don't build their own nests or care for their young. They lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, possibly impacting populations of the park's native bird species.
Canyon Sketches Vol 07 - November 2008
Native Plants Student Intern from Northern Arizona University Assists Vegetation Program
Northern Arizona University senior Deon Ben worked at Grand Canyon National Park in 2008 as the Native Plant and Seed Intern. He collected seeds from more than 50 native plant species and assisted in a wide variety of other Vegetation Program projects while pursuing his degree in Environmental Studies.
Canyon Sketches Vol 06 - October 2008
Park Vegetation Crews Use Multiple Techniques to Restore Native Vegetation Along Hermit Road
Hermit Road re-opened in November 2008 after a nine-month rehabilitation. Restoration of native vegetation along Hermit Road is one of the largest plant restoration and rehabilitation efforts ever undertaken at Grand Canyon National Park. The multi-faceted project includes a variety of restoration techniques and incorporates substantial contributions by park volunteers and interns.

Canyon Sketches Vol 05 - August 2008
Park Biologists Conserve Rare Plant
Plant biologists identified several populations of Tusayan flameflower (Phemeranthus validulus) in areas that will be impacted by the construction of parking lots at Canyon View Information Plaza. In order to conserve this rare Grand Canyon species, they recently salvaged plants from construction zones and transplanted them in suitable habitat nearby.

Canyon Sketches Vol 04 – June 2008
Vanishing Treasures Archeologists Stabilize Transept Ruin
In late June 2008, archeologists from Grand Canyon National Park’s Division of Science and Resource Management cleaned and stabilized Transept Ruin, a two-room ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruin on the North Rim.

Canyon Sketches Vol 03 - May 2008
Archeologists Excavate Kiva by the Colorado River
Archeologists are excavating nine archeological sites along the Colorado River because they are being impacted by severe erosion. In April and May 2008, crews discovered a complete kiva during the excavation of one of these sites.

Canyon Sketches Vol 02 - April 2008
Volunteers Help Control Invasive Plants
Invasive plants such as Sahara mustard pose a serious ecological threat to Grand Canyon. Volunteers have made important contributions towards controlling this aggressive invader over the last few years. Volunteer trips with Science and Resource Management’s vegetation program are fun and educational and give people who love Grand Canyon the opportunity to help preserve park resources.

Canyon Sketches Vol 01 - July 2007
Bat Survey Documents Populations and Nursery Colonies
At least 20 species of bats have been documented in Grand Canyon National Park, with 5 or 6 species common in the canyon. Ranger Pam Cox has initiated the first survey of bat populations in Grand Canyon National Park since a baseline survey was completed in 1996 – 1997.

Last updated: February 7, 2018

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