National Geographic Visitor Center opens new Arizona National Scenic Trail exhibit

A hiker on the Arizona Trail. Submitted photo<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

A hiker on the Arizona Trail. Submitted photo<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The Arizona National Scenic Trail will now be celebrated worldwide.

The 800-mile-long Arizona Trail is showcased in a large-scale, new exhibit at the National Geographic Visitor Center (NGVC) in Tusayan.

The exhibit, sponsored by Nature Valley, will be unveiled to the public during a grand opening ceremony tomorrow afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m.

The new Arizona National Scenic Trail Exhibit fills the National Geographic Visitor Center's interior courtyard and features a large map of Arizona depicting the entire trail along with wall graphics explaining the Arizona Trail's diverse terrain, plants and animals.

"It's like a virtual tour of the Arizona National Scenic Trail," said Janet Rosener, General Manager, National Geographic Visitor Center. "The display really captures the natural beauty that exists throughout the state, as well as the diversity of trail users who find adventure on the Arizona Trail. We are sure that our visitors from around the world will take a great interest in the Arizona Trail because of this exhibit."

The event is open to the public and features remarks by Arizona Trail Association Executive Director Matthew Nelson, Coconino County Supervisor of District One, Art Babbott, Tusayan Mayor Greg Bryan, VIPs from Pink Jeep Tours and others. The grand opening also helps highlight Nature Valley's support and their teamwork with the NGVC to support the nearby Grand Canyon School. Pink Jeep Tours, the new steward volunteers for trail maintenance of section 37C of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, will provide food. Dippin' Dots Ice Cream will also be on site and all proceeds during the event will benefit the Arizona Trail Association.

"We are pleased to be able to provide support both for raising worldwide awareness of the incredible majesty and diversity of the Arizona National Scenic Trail as well as contributions to our local school and community," Rosener said. "This May we co-sponsored a community event supporting Arizona Trail awareness and stewardship and last year the Grand Canyon School was given $1,300 by collecting Nature Valley granola bar box tops."

Also this May, the National Geographic Visitor Center was also a gateway community event sponsor with other Tusayan businesses of The Arizona Trail Trek. Accomplished Arizona hiker, Sirena Dufault, walked the entire Arizona Trail - from Arizona's border with Mexico, through the Grand Canyon to the Utah border - during two and half months raising over $17,000 for the Arizona Trail Association from online crowd funding and from donations at gateway community events.

"Each year, the Visitor Center receives hundreds of thousands of visitors," Matthew Nelson said. "And for many it is their introduction to the natural wonders and human history found within Grand Canyon. Now, visitors will be surrounded by inspiring images and get an informative initial tour of the Arizona Trail the moment they step into the courtyard."

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