GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Progress on an eight-mile multi-use Greenway trail linking Grand Canyon National Park with the gateway town of Tusayan continues. The trail passes through both Grand Canyon National Park and Kaibab National Forest and extends from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, south to Tusayan, adjacent to the IMAX Theater. The trail is being completed in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.
According to Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Mike Williams, the joint effort between the forest and park service to build the trail will provide an enhanced visitor experience.
"The Kaibab National Forest is pleased to be a partner in this effort to provide additional and improved recreation opportunities on both National Forest and in Grand Canyon National Park," Williams said. "This trail is going to benefit many different kinds of visitors to the Tusayan area."
The Greenway, as outlined in the park's 1995 General Management Plan, is a system of multi-use, accessible trails throughout the park that encourages non-motorized modes of travel, complementing the South Rim Visitor Transportation Plan, which includes seasonal shuttle bus service to and from Tusayan.
New Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said he is excited about the construction of the section of trail.
"Referred to as Greenway III, the trail will not only provide visitors, employees and residents another new and green option of travel between the park and Tusayan, it will extend the popular Arizona Trail, which currently ends at the Long Jim trailhead, into the park."
Greenway III consists of an eight-foot wide compacted soil surface area for pedestrians and bicyclists, with an adjacent two to three-foot wide gravel path for equestrian use. Eventually, the compacted soil surface will be replaced with pavement as funding becomes available. The trail is being constructed by Grand Canyon's Trail Crew to comply with accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas.
Funding for this project was made possible through a grant received from the Federal Highway Administration's Public Lands Highways Program. General donations to Grand Canyon National Park's trails program also helped fund the project.
Completion of Greenway III, expected in fall 2011, is an important step in the implementation of the greenway trail system. The first phase of the Greenway project was launched in 1999 as part of the Millennium Trails Initiative that recognized, promoted and inspired the creation of trails to help honor the past and imagine the future.
"We hope visitors, employees and residents will enjoy using the new trail," Uberuaga said. "During the summer months when our shuttle buses are providing service to Tusayan, those using the trail will also have the option of combining a hike or bike ride with a shuttle bus trip making their travel into and around the park easy and convenient."
The Greenway project began as a public/private cooperative effort between the National Park Service, the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation (now Grand Canyon Association) and the Grand Canyon Collaborative - a volunteer group of greenway planners and designers who provided assistance with the planning of the overall system and designs for Greenway I and II.
The Greenway Trail System within Grand Canyon National Park includes:Greenway I: Completed in 2002, extended the existing Rim Trail (Grand Canyon Village to Yavapai Point) through Mather Point and out to Pipe Creek Vista.
Greenway II: Completed in 2003, connected the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to Grand Canyon Village.
Greenway III: Expected completion in fall 2011, as outlined above, links Grand Canyon National Park to gateway town of Tusayan.
Greenway IV: Completed in 2009 and located on the North Rim, connected Bright Angel Point to the North Kaibab Trailhead.
Greenway V: Completed In 2010, extended the Rim Trail out to the South Kaibab Trailhead.
In the near future, the NPS will construct a 100-car parking lot north of the IMAX Theater to accommodate those utilizing Greenway III. The parking lot will also be built in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and will be built with funds received under a grant through the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program.
For more information on Greenway III, please contact Tim Jarrell, Grand Canyon's Chief of Facility Management, at (928) 638-7730. For more information on Grand Canyon National Park please visit http://nps.gov/grca or call 928-638-7888.