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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.