Grand Canyon is the most internationally recognized landscape and symbol of nature in North Amer­i­ca. ­People around the world have heard and seen books, postcards, documentaries, and tele­vi­sions shows about ­Grand Canyon, and many of ­these ­people consider their visit to ­Grand Canyon a highlight of their lives. ­ Whether at the rim, along an inner canyon trail, or at the bottom of ­Grand Can- yon aboard a boat on the Colorado River, virtually every­one marvels at what they see and often strug­gles to understand the feelings that accompany the beauty and immensity of what is around them. Some ­people are scared by ­Grand Canyon, ­ others are entertained, and almost all are inspired by what they see and feel. But what is this place called ­Grand Canyon? What do ­Grand Canyon’s millions of visitors per year come for, and what, exactly, do they see? For most visitors, ­ Grand Canyon is a beautiful and famous place that ­they’ve heard much about and are anx- ious to see. Is it ­ really 10 miles across the canyon? Is the river ­ really a mile below the rim? Are the views ­really that stunning? Yes, yes, and yes. But ­ there’s more. Although its landscapes are overwhelming, most visitors soon understand that ­ Grand Canyon is more than just pretty views this is why the experience of visit- ing ­ Grand Canyon, unlike that of most other places, often lingers. And this, in turn, is why many ­ people who come to ­ Grand Canyon return to it. ­ People are lured to ­ Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) for a multitude of reasons: For many Native Americans, ­ Grand Canyon is a sacred, revered, spiritual place where their ancestors originated and lived and to which their spirits ­will someday return. ­Today, some Native Americans continue to go on cultural and spiritual pilgrimages to and in ­ Grand Canyon, as their families and ances- tors have done for centuries. For river runners, ­ Grand Canyon is a place to experience challenging, world-­ class rapids in a unique setting unmatched anywhere ­ else in the world. The violent, churning rapids, combined with the other­wise peaceful solitude at the bottom of ­Grand Canyon, inspire many people.­ For geologists, ­ Grand Canyon offers a deep look—­literally—at Earth’s history and the stunning power of erosion. Nowhere is Earth’s past more obvious and accessible than at ­Grand Canyon. For artists, ­Grand Canyon is a place for inspiration, challenges, and creative renewal. The ever changing colors and landscapes of ­Grand Canyon defy art- ists’ attempts to capture what they see and even what they imagine. For concessionaires, ­ Grand Canyon and its throngs of tourists are an opportu- nity to build personal empires, design iconic buildings, and help visitors enjoy their time at the canyon. ­Grand Canyon is big business. Preface
Previous Page Next Page