Historic Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery closes, no space left

The Pioneer Cemetery on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is closing because of a lack of space. The National Park Service is encouraging anyone with plot reservations to contact the park.

Photo/NPS

The Pioneer Cemetery on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is closing because of a lack of space. The National Park Service is encouraging anyone with plot reservations to contact the park.

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — After nearly 100 years since its opening, Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery will close to new burials because of lack of space.

Although the cemetery is closed to new plots, some burials may continue for individuals with a spouse or immediate family already interred in the cemetery.

Anyone who believes they have a reservation for burial at Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery should contact the park’s permitting office at (928) 638-7707 or email a copy of the reservation to grca_permits_mail@nps.gov  as soon as possible.

An important part of park history that will continue to be protected and preserved into the future, the cemetery will remain open to public visitation.

Since the first burial at the Canyon in 1919, many people who devoted their lives to the Canyon and the National Park System have found a final resting place at the cemetery.

First used before the establishment of the national park but not formally dedicated until 1928, the cemetery serves as a resting place for many early Grand Canyon families and pioneers. The cemetery-part of the Grand Canyon Village National Historic District-has more than 390 individual graves, several of which date back to before the establishment of the park and the dedication of the cemetery. Nowadays the cemetery averages around four burials per year and because of increasing interest in being buried at the cemetery, criteria for burial is very specific.

To qualify for burial an individual must have lived at Grand Canyon for no less than three years or must have made a significant and substantial contribution to the development of, public knowledge about, understanding of or appreciation for Grand Canyon National Park.

People interred at the cemetery include Grand Canyon pioneers, war veterans, tribal members, and employees of the concessioners, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. The cemetery, grave markers, and gateway arch are included on the List of Classified Historic Structures in Grand Canyon National Park, according to the park’s website.

The Pioneer Cemetery, it is open to visitors, year-round and provides many visitors with insight into a part of Canyon history they may not be aware existed.

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