History and Nature in the Grand Canyon

Below, a river crashes around boulders carving its way not over but through mountains of rock millions of years old. On the ledge above stands a group of men, spears in their hands, surveying their prey, a herd of Bison, and planning the hunt. Overhead, a bald eagle cries. The bull’s head shoots up. He sounds the alarm and the herd pounds away. Spears become fishing tools and the group descends to take advantage of the abundance of the Colorado River instead.

Modern History: Six million years young, the Grand Canyon’s history is exciting and rich telling stories of giants, of ice, of raging waters and of early ancestors which, at one time or another, all created, relied on and lived in the Grand Canyon. New wonders are found every day as the rocks reveal what was and tell an exciting and sometimes unexpected story.

The first Americans to see The Grand Canyon were a beaver trapper, Ewing Young, and his party of Mormons arriving in 1826. They and others after them found the canyon so difficult to navigate, the whole area was declared valueless; hard to imagine considering the revenue the Hoover Dam and tourism create today. But a one-armed schoolteacher named John Wesley Powell became fixed on the idea of navigating this unexplored, new territory and in 1848 he and the surviving members of his party became the first Americans to successfully navigate the Colorado through the canyon.

President Roosevelt led the march toward preserving the area but it was Woodrow Wilson who, in 1919, signed the bill that established the Grand Canyon as a protected National Park.

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