The Grand Canyon Celebrates 100 Years as a National Park, But 100 More Aren't Assured

One hundred years ago today, Grand Canyon became a national park when President Woodrow Wilson signed the law changing its designation from a national monument. As one of many who have been spellbound by the canyon, I consider this anniversary an opportunity to reflect on the wisdom of those who initiated the preservation of this spectacular place as well as those who have continued to protect it for future generations to experience. The concept that there should be public lands at this scale was an extraordinary one then; now, it is often cited as America's best idea. The United States has fostered this legacy not only at home, but around the world, too, under the auspices of the National Park Service.Grand Canyon National Park is a place of extraordinary beauty where one can experience the natural world and gain an understanding of geology, hydrology, the night sky, climatology and cultural history. It is a challenging place to explore or live and highlights the incredible adaptability of life in all its forms. Perhaps most notable are the survival skills and intellect of the early inhabitants of this region whose descendants today hold it sacred. Their story is as important to the region's history as it is to the national park's history.The canyon also reminds us that our individual presence in world is a diminutive event. Yet the power of place in human culture is large, as it defines our source of nurture, sustenance and memory.  Continue reading...

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