TUSAYAN, Ariz. - Grand Canyon Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga hosted a ribbon cutting Sept. 12 at the new trailhead and parking lot located on the Kaibab National Forest at the north end of the gateway community of Tusayan, Ariz.
The parking lot's 100 new spaces will serve both as parking for the Tusayan Greenway and as additional parking for those choosing to park and ride the National Park Service' seasonal Tusayan Shuttle. The parking lot will also serve as a trailhead for the Arizona Trail which stretches more than 800 miles from Mexico to the Utah border through Arizona's canyons, deserts, and forests.
The recently completed Tusayan Greenway extends from the new parking lot to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center approximately six and one-half miles away. Completion of this segment of greenway is another important step in the implementation of the park's greenway trail system and provides safe, direct, multi-modal access to the park's primary visitor center for those entering the park on foot, bicycle or horseback.
Following the ribbon cutting, an open house was held at the new Bike Rental and Cafe located at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center plaza. Bright Angel Bicycles, L.L.C., a new small business, was recently awarded the park's first contract to provide bicycles rentals and food service at the Bike Rental and Café, which opened in June. Services and products include guided bicycle tours, bicycle rentals and repairs, specialty coffees, sandwiches and grab-and-go snacks.
Representatives of the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Forest Service, Grand Canyon Association, and Tusayan Chamber of Commerce spoke at the ribbon cutting. Some in attendance rode to the open house afterward - a 13-mile round-trip ride.
The parking lot, greenway and bike rental facility all support the 2008 South Rim Visitor Transportation Plan, a plan that envisioned improved traffic flow, adequate parking and multi-modal access to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The Tusayan parking area was designed by Jacobs Engineering, constructed by West Point Contractors and funded through a U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration grant from the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program.
The Tusayan Greenway was designed and constructed by Grand Canyon National Park's Trail Crew. The Bike Rental and Cafe was designed and built by Civil Design and Engineering, Inc. and Straightline Builders, Inc., and was funded through the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which authorizes parks to reinvest a portion of the entrance and use fees they collect in projects that will enhance visitor services.
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