Home EnvironmentalGrand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
EnvironmentalBy Trista -

The Grand Canyon is one of the largest marvels in the world. It’s 6 million years old! People know it as a historic national monument located in the great state of Arizona. However, a lot is going on for it that many people don’t realize. Every American should know the basic details about the Grand Canyon. However, it’s fun to understand the ins and outs of this unique wonder. Here’s a list of facts about the Grand Canyon you likely didn’t know.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

The Grand Canyon is a Gateway

The indigenous Americans revere the Grand Canyon as a sacred place. They once lived around the area. It was considered a “place of emergence” and was held in high esteem. These tribes believed that they would sail down the Colorado River within the canyon towards their destination in the afterlife when a person died. That made the canyon an essential part of their creeds. In fact, it is so vital to their beliefs that they filed personhood rights for the Colorado River. It means that lawsuits can be brought on behalf of the river if there is any harm done to it.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Abc 15

That is because water is critical to indigenous Americans. For hundreds of years, they have learned to exist with nature without interrupting its natural balance or interfering with the limited water supply. It included consumption, cleaning, bathing, watering crops, and not disturbing the animals called the river their home. This harmony with nature is the foundation of their religious beliefs, with many indigenous tribes calling water the basis for life.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Nps

It’s Pretty Deep

The Grand Canyon is so long and so deep that if everyone alive today were to visit it simultaneously, it still wouldn’t be full! The canyon itself is about 277 miles long, and on average, is a little over a mile deep. To think that all it took was a pure river flowing through this area for millions of years could carve out such a marvelous miracle of nature is beyond comprehension.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Expedia

Although the Grand Canyon area is mostly arid, there are forests in the higher regions, providing some cool air now and again. However, below that, the canyon itself is so deep that it is the physical record of three of the four big ears of geological periods. It is rife with fossils and geological features that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. To think of all the parts of it that haven’t been explored yet!

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

The Grand Canyon Has Ecosystem Within Ecosystem

In fact, the Grand Canyon is so immense that there is a diversity of ecosystems in one space. There are five different ecosystems you can experience just by walking through the canyon. Walking from the north side, you’ll travel through boreal forests, ponderosa pine forests, woodland, desert scrub, and finally, the desert. In the boreal forests, there is even rain and snow during the cooler months. There aren’t very many places within the United States where you can experience multiple extreme environments in one day.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Nature

This wide range of ecosystems also means a wider variety of animals surrounding and within the Grand Canyon than anywhere else. From snakes and predatory birds to coyotes, bighorn sheep, and even bears, it would be difficult to find such a smorgasbord of animals living in one place anywhere else in the world.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

Changing Ecosystems Means Changing Temperatures

Moreover, if you plan to take a trip through the Grand Canyon, be prepared to bring lots of layers. There are elevations anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000 feet within the canyon itself. It means that there’s at least a temperature drop of 25 degrees from the top of the canyon to the very bottom. What’s unique about the canyon is when the seasons change. During the summer, the gorge’s top is scalding while the base remains cool, while during the winter, the top is at its coldest.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: My Grand Canyon Park

The cool atmosphere during the summer is the perfect getaway for both visitors and animals. Very frequently, animals like reptiles and snakes will often seek the cooler climates in the gorge so that they don’t fry in the sun. When the sun retreats, they head back up the ravine again to get out of the colder temperatures.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

The Canyon Is Still Morphing

To this day, the Grand Canyon is still changing its shape. You can thank the river that flows through it. Combine that with the wind and rain. Also, the fact that the overall form of the gorge is always fluctuating. That means that decades or even hundreds of years from now, the Grand Canyon will look much different than when we’ve seen it. These changes won’t be evident at first, even if you saw the canyon every day. However, no doubt, if you were to compare pictures taken between now and in the future, the differences would be visible.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Huffington Post

It’s a shame that many of us will never get to see the Grand Canyon of the future and what shape it might take. It might be deeper. Some of the higher areas may crumble and fall into some of the gorges; we have no way of knowing what shape it will take. All we can do is hope that it will still exist centuries from now for future generations to see.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Birth of the FAA

You have the Grand Canyon to blame for the development of the Federal Aviation Administration. That is because there were plenty of near misses and mid-air collisions of planes over the Grand Canyon. You’d think with all that vast open space that such things would be rare. However, it was the public that demanded that something is done about all of these accidents. Through congressional hearings, updates were made to air traffic control procedures, and the FAA was given authority over the airspace above the United States.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Simple Flying

The FAA’s development was because, in 1956, two planes crashed into each other, killing roughly 130 people. The wreckage was scattered over 1 1/2 miles. The victims were buried together in cemeteries at the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. A landmark was erected in memory of those lost as something of an apology to them for not having the FAA developed sooner.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/runnr_az/3639812372

People Live in the Canyon

At the base of the canyon, there is a tiny town that not many people know about. The Havasupai village only has about 208 people living in it and is one of the most remote places in all the states. The town is located eight miles away from the nearest remote. The location is so isolated that they were the only place in the United States that receives its mail via pack mule.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Rent By Owner

The village is not accessible by road, which the Havasupai people that live there have no problems with. They revere the rivers and waterfalls that run through the Grand Canyon, appreciating and respecting the nature that they live in. Reservations are required for all hikers and campers before entering this area, and caution is always advised, considering how high the temperatures can get during the summer.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Nps

The Canyon’s First Historical Visitors

The first visitors to the Grand Canyon are the Spaniards, who explored the site around 1540. This first visit didn’t impress them very much, as it wasn’t noted down until Francisco Garces, a Spanish missionary, traveled to this location to convert the local indigenous Americans. He did this by establishing two churches along the lower Colorado River. Although he was at peace with the native people who lived there, everything broke down when a few Spanish settlers allegedly violated the treaty through the loss of crops and farmlands.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In what was called the Yuma Uprising and the Yuma Revolt, the indigenous Americans called Garces and his fellow friars. After that, it wasn’t until 1869 that the first expedition took place. It was on the second trip, led by John Wesley Powell that the Colorado River was mapped. It was after this trip that people became more and more interested in the area.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

It Has the Cleanest Air in All of the United States

Air quality is essential to maintain one’s health, but four out of ten people live in areas where there’s just too much air pollution. A trip to the Grand Canyon can solve that problem. It has the cleanest air of anywhere else in the United States. It’s 7,000 feet above sea level, so there’s nothing but fresh air up there. That can be something of a blessing for those who have breathing problems from living in smog-infested areas all their lives.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Lonely Planet

That’s part of why the park was established, and there are such strict rules concerning the area. The national park seeks to maintain this pure quality of the site. They require people to take their garbage with them when leaving and respect the grounds they are walking on. However, the nearby power plants in the Four Corners region operate on coal, and the canyon is downwind of their emissions, affecting the air quality somewhat.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org

The Canyon Is Bigger Than An Entire State

Remember earlier when we said how big the Grand Canyon is? Well, it’s so big that it’s bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. It covers 1,904 square miles, while Rhode Island is only 1,212 square miles. Maybe someone should suggest that the canyon be considered a state instead! However, with a population of only 208, that’s probably not likely, as they would prefer having their own jurisdiction.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Matador Network

Moreover, although Rhode Island is rife with museums, sandy shores, and zoos, there is nothing there as splendid as the sight of the Grand Canyon. It takes about five hours just to drive from one end to the other, there are plenty of paths to hike, and the views are simply amazing. It’s the perfect getaway for those who want to get closer to nature.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

Fires Can Be Good

Everyone panics when they hear about forest fires taking place in California. For the Grand Canyon, however, it’s a good thing. Strategically-placed fires can thin out the vegetation so that it doesn’t become overgrown and cause other plants to choke. Fires also add nutrients to the soil that new plant growth uses to become sturdier and more resilient. People take great care to ensure that these fires don’t get out of control and cause harm to the local animal life.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Nps

That is why it’s doubly important to take care of the Grand Canyon if you ever decide to go camping. Unattended fires can spread quickly, as well as tossing used cigarettes onto the ground. Practice fire safety hazards by kicking dirt onto your campfire when you’re done. Alternatively, you could drop your cigarette butts into a container of water so that you don’t end up starting a fire accidentally.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Beware the Biters

The Grand Canyon is home to many animals, especially with the different ecosystems they have going on. A few of these can be quite dangerous, such as the Gila monster and bighorn sheep, which have mighty horns. However, the most dangerous animal you should look out for is the rock squirrel. The rock squirrel is biting more visitors every year than any other animal within the canyon. They might look cute and cuddly, but it can be perilous to get close to them.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Humane Society

The rock squirrel is considered the most dangerous animal to visitors within the Grand Canyon, even more than snakes and coyotes. What makes them even more dangerous is that they are just about everywhere and have been known to bite people just for pointing at them. Feeding them is highly discouraged. Furthermore, you should maintain safe distances at all times. It’s best to keep an eye out for them and stay away.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Pink Isn’t a Friendly Color in the Grand Canyon 

Other than the rock squirrel, it would help if you also kept an eye out for the pink rattlesnake. It is one of the six rattlesnake species that live in the area, as well as the park. The pink color of its scales makes it hard to see, especially against the color of the area’s rocks. Listen out for a rattling sound: this is their warning to step away from them. If you hear it, move away from the noise and watch from a distance to see if the snake moves away.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Reddit

If you do happen to see one, it’s best to leave it alone, back away, and head in another direction. The majority of rattlesnake bites occur when someone tries to pick one up. On the off-chance that you do get bitten, then you should seek medical attention immediately, as all rattlesnakes are highly venomous.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

The Mystery of the Rocks

The Grand Canyon is pretty old, so you would think that as the layers of rock are exposed along the canyon walls, they would gradually get older and older. However, that isn’t the case. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon they’re called the “Great Unconformity.” They’ve found rocks that are 250 million years old lying right next to stones that are 1.2 billion years old. That doesn’t make any sense, and they have no idea how this could have happened.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Alterra

John Wesley Powell observed the Grand Canyon’s unconformity earning it the name “Powell’s Unconformity.” It was first noticed 12 years earlier by a man called John Newberry. The Civil War interrupted his work, which is why Newberry’s work isn’t as well known. A landmass’s submergence marks this unconformity. A shallow sea ended up eroding the Precambrian rocks, exposing them to weathering over time.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

Is It Even Older Than 6 Million?

Because of these discrepancies, no one knows how old the Grand Canyon is. Many believe that it is only 6 million years old, but evidence shows that it began to form at least 70 million years ago. Also, as stated before, there is the presence of rocks that date back as far as billions of years ago. The most popular theory is that the Grand Canyon started as several smaller canyons that eventually grew into each other.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Insider

The water eroded the rocks through the constant flows and ebbs of rivers, making them deeper and wider over time. Although this process started tens of millions of years ago, the Grand Canyon only started taking shape recently after so many years of erosion. It’s pretty challenging to say just how old the Grand Canyon is.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Earth Trekkers

The Canyon Is Actually Pretty Narrow

The Grand Canyon is known for being pretty deep and very long. However, it’s not all that wide. At its widest point, it’s about eighteen miles from one side to the next; its most narrow point is about 600 yards across. On average, it ranges to about 10 miles across in most locations. So although the Grand Canyon is quite big, it’s not the widest canyon in the world. That title belongs to the Capertee Valley in Australia.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Explore The Canyon

In 2013, a daredevil did a tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon, walking the length of 1,400 feet. Nik Wallenda was 1,500 feet above the Colorado River, and it took him about 22 minutes to cross the whole thing. He had to stop a few times when the winds picked up and caused the rope to shake, but he maintained his composure and crossed the whole thing eventually.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

Little to No Success

With how famous the Grand Canyon National Park is and how many visitors it receives each year, you would think it would be a virtual plethora of hiking activities for the regular outdoors-person. However, more people have successfully walked on the moon than have completed a continuous hike of the Grand Canyon’s entire length. Granted, it is 277 miles long, but you would think someone would have accomplished it by now. The main reasons for that are that the area gets so hot that it can become unbearable to traverse. Also, the fact that 90% of the canyon doesn’t have any trails.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: What We Did Last Weekend

One pair of men managed to hike the entire Grand Canyon in 71 days. They had to endure all kinds of weather, blisters, and one of the men suffered from hyponatremia (sodium levels in the blood are too low). The reason the men made this trip was to showcase the beautiful wonders of the canyon. They also wanted to raise awareness of the effect of tourism on the canyon.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

No Prizes Here

With the Colorado River running through it, one would think that it would be a prime fishing spot. However, the very nature of the river has been very challenging for any fish to thrive here. There is always flooding, the temperatures are still fluctuating wildly, and the water is filled with much debris. With that said, there are only eight different fish species that call the river home, and six of them are found in the depths of the river where it’s hard to fish.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Roc Doc Travel

There are several fish you can find in the Colorado River. These include channel catfish, rainbow trout, redear sunfish, bluegill, small/largemouth bass, and striped bass. Largemouth bass fishing usually takes place between March and June, when spawning is at its highest. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in winter fishing, the rainbow trout is most active from October to March.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

The Canyon Was Not Always Protected

The Grand Canyon is something that has been revered for decades because of how majestic it is. However, that wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t always a national park, nor was it protected. It took six attempts before the Senate agreed to make it a national park. The canyon was first proposed in a bill by Benjamin Harrison. However, it didn’t become an Act until thirty-six years later, when President Woodrow Wilson signed it.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Nps

It’s a good thing these protections are now in place. Many companies have considered mining uranium within the canyon. That can lead to the poisoning of the rivers and reduce the habitat of the animals that live there. Without being named a national park, the Grand Canyon may have looked very different from what we’re used to seeing today.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

It Has Cursed Relics

Almost every national park urges you to leave nothing behind but your footsteps and to only take photos. That is because they don’t want you taking anything from the land as a souvenir to take home. However, those stakes are serious when it comes to the Grand Canyon National Park. There are stories of those who have taken from the park and ended up being haunted. Those who run it have received letters and returned objects from those who ran into extreme cases of bad luck and illnesses after taking something from the park.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Nps

One such story pertains to a man in 1879 who offered aid to a woman by sharing his supplies. In return, she gave him the gift of a blanket but warned of its troubled past. The man wasn’t particularly superstitious. However, he did suffer from hundreds of harmful incidents during the two years he had the blanket. They all mysteriously stopped once he lost the blanket.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grand_canyon_nps/9408581613

Fossils From the Wrong Era

Many people think that because the Grand Canyon is so old, there should be fossils of dinosaurs strewn. Be prepared to be disappointed. There isn’t to say that there aren’t any fossils; there are fossils of marine animals from 1.2 billion years ago, as well as some of the land mammals as recent as 10,000 years ago. Maybe not as impressive as an actual dinosaur, but these fossils are still really cool.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Az Central

There are so many fossils within the Grand Canyon that it contains 32% of the Earth’s geological history. The most common fossil you may find is that of the trilobite. When you do find a fossil, leave it where it is. It is illegal to dig up, move, or remove fossils within the Grand Canyon National Park. Leave it where it is so that future visitors to the park can see them for themselves.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

Littered with Caves

Within the Grand Canyon, there are rumored to be at least 1,000 caves. Only 335 of them have been documented, and there are even fewer have been mapped, explored, or inventoried. That leaves a lot of the Grand Canyon unexplored and undocumented. Today, there is only one cave that is open for visitors to explore, called the Cave of Domes on Horseshoe Mesa. Expect there to be many crowds visiting this single cave.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Travel And Leisure

Many of the caves and caverns are available for exploration through guided tours. Some of them can be traveled by foot, while others require boats to traverse the underground waters that run through them. It is not advised that you try to explore these caves on your own, as it’s effortless to get lost inside one of them. Always sign up for guided tours instead, as they will keep you safe, and you’ll learn some interesting facts about the caves along the way.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://gccaverns.com

Staying the Night in the Canyon

If you’re feeling adventurous and are willing to spend the money, you can feel like you’re living in a cave by booking The Cavern Suite. That is a wooden platform in the Cave of Domes’ largest “room.” It is equipped with two queen-sized beds and has a 70-foot high vaulted ceiling. It’s $800 a night, so that’s not something you can just book on a whimsy. However, the price does come with a suite attendant who will deliver food to you and get you anything else that you need. Please keep in mind that there are guided tours throughout the cavern as well, so your stay might be interrupted.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Usa Today

However, who could pass up wanting to stay in a cavern surrounded by walls that are at least 65 million years old? The constant cool temperature means that you won’t have to pack any unique clothing since there are no fluctuations. It would be a good idea to bring clothes that are a little warmer, though, just so you’re comfortable.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org

The Center of Some Fake News

Do you know what happened around the turn of the century in the 1900s? The Grand Canyon became the center of a fake news story in “The Arizona Gazette.” The story focused on some archaeological finds of a beautiful discovery that no one would believe. Furthermore, no one should have. The newspaper reported findings of ancient Tibetan and Egyptian civilizations located in an underground tunnel within the canyon. Of course, there was no way that this could be true, but conspiracy theorists believe to this day that it’s all a government coverup.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: History

The story goes that two archaeologists supposedly working for the Smithsonian, Prof. S. A. Jordan and G.E. Kinkaid, found these supposed artifacts. However, the Smithsonian has stated that there has never been a Prof. S. A. Jordan or G.E. Kinkaid who worked in their Anthropology department. Also, no artifacts were recovered, nor were any pictures taken of the site. Leaving the story in the Arizona Gazette is the only proof that is not very convincing.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

Grand Canyon’s Importance

Even after it took so long for the Grand Canyon to be named a national park, it wasn’t until 1979 that other areas of the world indeed recognized it. It was deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). For this, it receives special protection and is recognized by the rest of the world as a significant site. It was called “the most spectacular gorge in the world.”

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: La Times

It is crucial because of the many wonders it holds. Not only is it so large, but it has some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. That has given geologists the evidence they need to study the planet’s history and what may have happened in that region millions of years ago. They can travel on the Trail of Time for tourists, which is an exhibit located on the South Rim.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grand_canyon_nps/9346181170

One of the Wonders of the World

You’ve probably heard of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and they have changed since you probably last read the list of sites. So, if you ever have a trivia game coming up, make sure you brush up on the beautiful places around the globe. The Grand Canyon is now one of them due to its natural attractions and its history.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

The other locations to make the list include the Great Barrier Reef, Paricutin in Mexico, Mount Everest, and Victoria Falls, just to name a few. Have you ever been to any of these enchanting places before? Chances are good that traveling to the Grand Canyon is probably the easiest and most affordable to check off your travel buck list. That is, if you are already located in the United States.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://www.biography.com

Protection By a President

Before it was first explored in 1869, this canyon had a plethora of names it was called by. However, the majority of people who visited called it the Grand Canyon. It was only after it had been explored and named that it received protection from President Teddy Roosevelt, which helped it gain tourist attraction worldwide. Roosevelt even stated that there was no need to improve it in any way, as it was already marvelous the way it was.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Time

Teddy Roosevelt was known for his conservation efforts, creating plenty of national parks across the country. He was the first president to dedicate his energy to preserving and conserving its natural and cultural history, especially during a time of great development and expansion. Congress even fought against Roosevelt’s efforts to protect the Grand Canyon, but he used his executive power to name it a national monument.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Knau

Famous Tourist Photos

The Grand Canyon is one of the first places where tourist and vacation photos were taken. Without cellphones, other people had to take pictures of the tourists who came to visit. To say that this became a big money-making venture is an understatement. Furthermore, one pair of brothers saw it fit to capitalize on the opportunity. The Kolb Brothers were some of the first people to start the photo business here. They would take photos of tourists as they took rides on mules down the canyon and would then sell these photos to them before they left the park.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: United

The brothers also filmed their own navigation of the Colorado and Green Rivers, which was shown within the National Park for decades until Emery Kolb died in 1976. Many of their documentations and films are shown in other documentaries. Authors discuss them in books such as “The Brave Ones,” a book containing the brothers’ letters and journals.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Canyon Ministries

A Business Monopoly

Because the Kolb Brothers gained much notoriety and money from their photos, they remained in the area. They even started their own photo business and remained in the Grand Canyon Village to this day. They have a studio there where they worked on various projects. It may have seemed extreme at the time, especially the breathtaking subject matter. However, over time, it only makes sense that someone should invest in the photography of the majestic Grand Canyon.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Flag Staff 365

The brothers’ photographs are still shared to this day. They are even used in other media forms when the Grand Canyon is the primary topic of conversation. Because of their avid interests, other photographers and filmmakers got into the business of documenting the Grand Canyon as well, such as Bill Belknap and George Clark.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://www.grandcanyonguide.net

The Canyon Contains A Lot of Earth’s History

Scientists have said that the Grand Canyon contains about 40% of the planet’s history. Examination and studying of the rock formation have revealed that rocks are dating back as far as 1.75 billion years ago, almost half of the planet’s age. Understanding the language of these rocks will tell us just what was taking place on Earth at that time and would help uncover a lot of the history that was taking place then.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: History

There aren’t very many places on Earth that can boast this kind of geological history that’s easy to see with one’s own eyes. Although it would take a skilled hand and expert eye to decipher the different parts of the Grand Canyon, it’s easy for anyone to see how deeply historical its features are. Keep reading to discover more amazing facts about the Grandy Canyon.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: https://pixabay.com

A View From Above

Before technology, if you wanted to get a view of the canyon from above, you’d have to rent a helicopter for a costly ride. Now, technology has made that more accessible and a little cheaper for tourists. The Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped steel frame with a see-through glass floor, suspended 70 feet above the ground. The Hualapai Tribe maintains it since the Skywalk resides on their lands. Since it’s construction, it has become one of the most famous attractions of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Westend 61

The Skywalk Bridge cost $30 million to construct since it took 100 million pounds of steel to erect. It was a partnership between the Hualapai Tribe and David Jin, a Chinese-American businessman. The Skywalk aimed to give visitors the perspective of being an eagle soaring effortlessly over the Grand Canyon and seeing all of the wonders that it held. It is a marvel of form and function existing with nature.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: grandcanyonwest.com

It Contains a Failed Poop Business

Because there are many caverns in the Grand Canyon, it is home to many bats. Moreover, because bats eat such a rich diet of insects, their guano is prized as being an excellent fertilizer for plants. So much that in the late 1950s, miners tried to extract it. In fact, they tried to get at least 1,000 tons of bat guano out of a single cave. They wanted to sell it to farmers and gardeners. It probably would have made them much money if they’d been successful.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Y Travel There

Unfortunately, the venture failed. There are remnants of the mine remaining in Grand Canyon West, including the terminus of a tram. No one has tried to monopolize the guano business since, but that’s probably for the best. That could have resulted in more devastation of the Grand Canyon’s natural habitat.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: Funerals360

You Can Have Your Ashes Spread There

It’s not unheard of for people to sprinkle the ashes of a loved one in an important place that can be visited in the future. The Grand Canyon is no different; it allows people to spread ashes as long as specific rules are observed. Human ashes can be scattered within the National Park as long as it is away from any roads, campgrounds, or buildings. That means that you’re going to have to go off-road to spread the ashes of your loved one.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: My Grand Canyon Park

Another rule is that the ashes cannot have any teeth, bone fragments, or recognizable remnants within them. That is likely to minimize tourists and hikers finding the remains and notifying the authorities. Visitors cannot place markers where ashes have been sprinkled to keep the Grand Canyon as pristine as possible.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: Treasured Memories

There are Rules for Being Buried Nearby

The Grand Canyon has its own Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery. However, only an elite few are allowed to be buried there, so there’s no point in trying to buy out a lot or wait for a burial reservation. The rules state a person must have worked in the park for at least three years to be buried there. Also, they must have made a significant contribution to the appreciation or understanding of the canyon itself.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Some of the people buried there are pioneers, administrators of the national park, and the Grand Canyon Village residents. John Hance, believed to be the first non-Native American resident of the Grand Canyon, was the first person buried there. The unidentified victims of the 1856 plane crash are also buried there. The cemetery is closed to new burials, but it is still open to visitors.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: Wikipedia

The Only National Park with a School District

Because people live in the park, it is the only national park in the country with its K-12 school district. It is now known as the Grand Canyon Unified District. The first elementary school was established in 1911. A loan provided the building, which was located south of the Bright Angel Trail’s present head. The country circuit judge back then even acted as a superintendent for some time.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Williams News

A few years later, lumber and labor were provided to build another school building that included a classroom and quarters for the teacher. The following year, the school opened with a total of twenty-nine students. A third building was added, using county funds, in 1916, and the location of the building was determined by the proximity to water and sewer lines. Today, the school district now serves up to 300 students every year.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: Visit Arizona

The Grand Canyon Provides for Wayward Hikers

Near the North Rim, there is a small guardhouse that is kept unlocked during the winter. That is because the park doesn’t close during the winter, allowing visitors and hikers to traverse the trails if they so wish. The guardhouse is stocked with food and water for those who need emergency shelter. That’s very thoughtful of the people who work within the park.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Democrat And Chronicle

Otherwise, there is a skeleton crew living at the North Rim during the winter months. When the snow falls, the residents move their cars down to Jacob Lake. However, then how do they get around when they need to? The answer is snowmobiles. They can go pretty fast through the snow, allowing the park workers to get to where they need to go.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: National Park Service

The Grand Canyon is Full of Lightning

You wouldn’t think that a gorge would be prone to lightning strikes, but don’t forget that the canyon is above sea-level. In a given year, the Grand Canyon can have as many as 25,000 lightning strikes within it. Visitors and tourists are presented with warnings throughout the year. Those who choose to see the canyon for themselves need to follow them. Some include checking the weather forecasts before hiking.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Reddit

It’s a good idea to know where the emergency phones are along the trails. Take note of where the closest buildings and vehicles are for people to seek shelter. If your hair suddenly stands on end, then there is a lightning strike coming. One should avoid open areas immediately and seek shelter away from lone trees, poles, railings, and bodies of water. If there is no shelter close by, look for lower ground that is not near water. Go into a crouched position in an open area. Have the feet of your heels touching and your hands over your ears with your head down.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: Wilderness River Adventures

You Have to Get a Permit to Float on the Colorado River

Many people think that because it’s in a national park, they can go to the river whenever they want and bring a floating ring. Nevertheless, that is not the case. One option is to reserve a commercial rafting trip, but you have to wait at least a month or so for an opening. People usually take this as an incentive to skip the wait, but they could end up with very hefty fines.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Wsj

Private rafting permits are the second option, and they are not easy to obtain either. They are issued based on a weighted lottery. Some people may wait as long as five years before they can even get a permit. That is because the park authorities only allow about 503 launches onto the Colorado River every year. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider the number of people who visit the park every year, that is a small handful of people.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: OARS

Many People Are Never Prepared for the Hike

Although the canyon can be quite beautiful and tempting, it shouldn’t be an invitation for anyone and everyone to consider hiking it. Only the fittest and experienced people should attempt it, and even then, they could end up being in big trouble. The park nationals’ most significant problem is that hikers never bring enough water on their hiking trip. Most people aren’t aware of the 20-degree temperature difference between the top of the canyon and the bottom.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Sunset

In fact, as many as 250 people have to be rescued within the canyon every year, either because they didn’t bring enough water or they wore the wrong footgear to hike in. It takes much effort to get back up to the top, almost twice as much as going down, so it shouldn’t be attempted by those who aren’t fit for strenuous exercises.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Credit: Canyonology Treks

Millions of Grand Canyon Stamps were Destroyed

One would think that government itself wouldn’t get basic facts wrong. Think again. In 1999, stamps were released bearing the image of the Grand Canyon. So what was the huge problem? Why did they have to be destroyed? It turns out that the 100 million stamps said that the Grand Canyon was in Colorado instead of Arizona, where it is located.

Grand Facts that Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s 6 Millionth Birthday
Photo Credit: Vintage Postage Stamps

Thankfully, they were reprinted, but not without another hiccup. The image used on the stamp has been flipped, meaning that it was a mirror image of the canyon’s realistic view. However, there was no plan to recall or destroy these stamps, so they went out into circulation. To think if they had just faxed the stamp’s image to the photographer who took the picture, he could have corrected the problem.

Advertisement