“Green Steam” at Grand Canyon Railroad

First developed in the United Kingdom during the 19th century, the steam locomotive was a marvel of its day, a method of transportation which defined the American landscape through much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. An incredibly “visual” machine which inspires awe through its large frame, and heavy, loud movements, the steam engine, much like the American west itself, is defined by a more rough, natural, and physical state of being.

During the height of the Steam Era in the United States, more than 100,000 individual steam locomotives run on coal, wood, or oil, traversed the vast landscape of the country. However, as the 20th century progressed, environmental concerns led to a reduction in steam power, with all steam locomotives losing their position to diesel and electrical-powered trains rather rapidly throughout the middle of the century. Today, many people hold the idea of the steam locomotive nostalgically, seeing it as a machine indicative of times past. In fact, of the 100 or so tourist steam engines still running in the United States, none do more than travel short distances at low speeds; but this is not so at the Grand Canyon Railroad.

The “Green Steam” Movement

Beginning on Earth Day, April 22, 2013, the Grand Canyon Railroad reintroduced long distance steam engine travel to the United States, championing the reemergence of not only steam locomotive engine power, but a “green” form of it. Using waste vegetable oil (WVO)—yes, the kind used to make French fries and chicken fingers!—the GCR’s “green” locomotive not only brings back the power and memories of the Steam Locomotive Age, but does so in a way that does not harm the earth.

This repurposing of materials even extends to the engines running on steam. The GCR decommissioned its pioneer green steam engine, Locomotive No. 4960, for environmental reasons in 2008, before outfitting it for this new form of fuel. Built in 1923 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, No. 4960 spent most of its early life hauling coal freight on the east coast. It was taken off tracks in the 1950s and sat idle for years before travelling westward to join GCR in 1996. The introduction of “Green Steam” at GCR remade No. 4960 for a new era, and allows a new generation of train lovers the chance to experience it.

Travelling the “Green” Way

The Grand Canyon Railroad still runs a large fleet of diesel-powered locomotives throughout the year, saving No. 4960 for the 65-mile trip between Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon’s South Rim during limited, high tourist times. For the 2014 season, GCR offers rides on No. 4960 on the first Saturday of every month in April-October and on special holidays including President’s Day (February 17th), Earth Day (April 22nd), and the GCR anniversary (September 17th). Like the diesel locomotives at GCR, No. 4960 pulls a variety of passenger cars including First Class, Coach Class, Observation Dome cars and Luxury Domes and Parlors; the final two options are reserved for those ages 15 and up, however. Prices vary according to season. Check out the Grand Canyon Railroad’s website for more information and to make a reservation.

10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Grand Canyon

Do you know these facts about the Grand Canyon? Test your knowledge about one of the United States’ most popular natural attractions!

With about five million visitors every single year, the Grand Canyon is one of the United States’ most popular naturally occurring tourist attractions, as there are many Grand Canyon toursGrand Canyon hotels and sights to see for visitors. As such, there are a lot of facts that are commonly repeated on every website, brochure, or booklet about the Grand Canyon. If you are tired of hearing the same information over and over, here are 10 intriguing facts that you probably don’t know about one of our most beautiful national landmarks.

1. The Grand Canyon was one of our very first national parks. President Theodore Roosevelt first made it a game preserve in 1906, and then redesignated it as a U.S. National Monument in 1908. It wasn’t until 1919, 11 years later, that President Woodrow Wilson made it a national park — one of our first.

2. There aren’t any dinosaur fossils at the Grand Canyon! You’d think this would be the perfect place to find dinosaur fossils, but actually the rocks here are far older than the dinosaurs. The fossils you find are simple prehistoric creatures such as corals, sponges, and trilobites. You can also find fossilized reptile footprints, but there aren’t any fossilized reptile skeletons.

3. The Grand Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world.Determining the largest canyon is difficult because there are so many measurements to take into account, but many consider the Grand Canyon to be the second largest canyon. The Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet is actually deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon.

4. The Spanish “discovered” the Grand Canyon in 1540 while searching for native riches. Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was looking for the mythological Seven Cities of Gold when his expedition encountered the Grand Canyon. They explored the canyon only briefly due to lack of water.

5. The widest point of the Grand Canyon is farther than the average American’s commute to work. The average commute is only about 15 miles, and the widest part of the Grand Canyon is 18 miles!

6. The weather can vary dramatically between the North Rim and the South Rim. Just because it’s all part of the same canyon doesn’t mean the weather is the same. The North Rim is considerably higher in elevation, and as a result is quite a bit cooler and more unpredictable, with the possibility of snow almost year round. As a result, the North Rim is only open to visitors in the late spring, summer, and early fall.

7. People have been in the Grand Canyon for at least 3,000 years. Human artifacts discovered in the Grand Canyon date back to about 3 or 4 thousand years, so people have lived in and around the canyon for a very, very long time. In addition, not much has changed about the way it looks over that amount of time, so think about that when you’re standing at the South Rim — what you’re seeing isn’t much different than what people saw thousands of years ago!

8. The Grand Canyon was a holy site for the native peoples in the area.People have been making trips to the Grand Canyon long before it became a popular tourist destination. The canyon had important spiritual meaning for the Pueblo Indians, and therefore the focus of many pilgrimages.

9. The Havasupai Indians still live in the Grand Canyon. Supai Village is only accessible via helicopter or horse and mule trails that climb in and out of the canyon. Tourists can stay in the village and hike and camp in Havasu Canyon, which is part of the Grand Canyon.

10. Nature isn’t the only attraction at the Grand Canyon! There are several historical buildings located in the canyon, from an 1890s cabin (now used as a guest house) to the Grand Canyon Railway Depot. The Desert View Watchtower, built in 1932, looks a lot older because it was designed to look like an Ancient Puebloan (Anasazi) watchtower.

The Grand Canyon is more than just a national park — it has a rich geological and cultural history that we can be proud of. Visiting the canyon is sure to be the trip of a lifetime, but you’ll appreciate it all that much more if you know something more about it than just how long or deep it is!


Botanical Illustrations Shine a Light on Grand Canyon’s Rare Plant Species

Fifty botanical illustrations depicting Grand Canyon National Park’s interesting, rare, and sensitive plant species are on display at Kolb Studio on the South Rim starting Friday, July 2, 2010. The exhibition Grand Canyon’s Green Heart: The Unsung Legacy of Plants brings to light the park’s incredibly diverse plant communities and the National Park Service’s efforts to preserve and protect them.

Artists and botanists have used pen-and-ink and full-color botanical illustrations for centuries to help identify and describe plants. Those on display at Kolb Studio were created by volunteer artists with the Desert Botanical Garden’s Art and Illustration Program, under the direction of curator Wendy Hodgson.

The illustrations will be included in the revised edition of Nancy J. Brian’s book,A Field Guide to the Special Status Plants of Grand Canyon National Park, so it was crucial for the drawings to be accurate and as detailed as possible. Grand Canyon vegetation program manager Lori Makarick explains the importance of botanical illustrations: “Because many of these plants are so rare, very few photographs or herbarium specimens exist to help identify them. Because we first need to know what plants are out there in order to properly preserve and protect them for future generations, these illustrations help park biologists distinguish rare plants from other closely related species and then monitor the health of the populations in the park.”

Curator Hodgson hopes that visitors will also find inspiration in the beauty of the illustrations. “The volunteer [artists] have donated months of their time to hone their craft,” she says.

The exhibition also includes large-scale photographs by Gary Ladd and interpretive text to help tell the story of the plant life throughout the canyon. It’s a history that begins in the last ice age and continues through today’s plant communities, even looking at how those communities might change in the future. Gardening buffs and visitors interested in geology, biology, and botany will also enjoy learning about the history of botanical research in Grand Canyon, from the first herbarium sample ever collected in the park to the current comprehensive vegetation-mapping project. Other sections explore the life zones found in the park and how different types of soils, isolation, and elevation impact plant diversity.

According to Grand Canyon Association director Susan Schroeder, the exhibit covers an often forgotten aspect of the canyon. “The beautiful illustrations truly blend art and science,” she says. Park superintendent Steve Martin is excited to share the exhibit’s message about the conservation work done by the National Park Service. “Many people are unaware that Grand Canyon National Park has the greatest plant diversity of any national park,” he says.


A Virtual Field Trip to the Grand Canyon

For decades, the Grand Canyon National Park has been a popular tourist attraction. In fact, millions (anywhere between 2 to 5 million) of people each year go and visit the Park.

A trip to the Grand Canyon is a lot of fun for the whole family. For kids, the National Park has designed three programs especially for them: the Junior Ranger Program, which is a very fun program that helps teach kids about the National Park (programs available for each age group); Camp Programs (that take youths on the hiking adventure of a lifetime); and Educational Programs (for kids and teachers, who may want to learn about the Grand Canyon).

The Grand Canyon National Park doesn’t stop there; it also offers schools the opportunity to receive lesson plans related to the Grand Canyon for professional development, and the chance to actually have a Park Ranger come and visit the school and classrooms. As a result, the programs offered by the Grand Canyon make the experience extra special for kids, even if it means taking a virtual trip there.

The U.S. National Park Service ( www.nps.gov/ ) is the best Web site to visit. It provides all of the basic information about all National Parks (including the Grand Canyon).

  • National Geographic – A great site for everyone (including kids) to know: How the Canyon came to be the Grand Canyon.
  • The American Southwest – A Web site for Arizona visitors. There’s information on the Grand Canyon National Park.
  • Map – Here’s a map of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon Facts

Kids, do you know the answers to these questions?

Q: Where is the Grand Canyon?

Answer: It sits on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. It covers 1,218,375 acres of land.

Q: What river flows through the Grand Canyon?

Answer: The Colorado River. 

Q: The Grand Canyon has been home to what settlers?

Answer: Native Americans. It’s been their home for thousands of years.

Did you know that… The Grand Canyon has five life zones that show different vegetation and animal life: Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian.

Also, did you know that within the sedimentary formations of the canyon are fossils and bones that can help trace the history of life on earth?

Amazing Fact! Inside the Park are over 1,500 plants, 355 birds, 89 mammalians, 47 reptiles, 9 amphibians, and 17 fish species. Yes, it’s true!

The amount of recorded archaeological resources: over 4,800 (only 3% of the park area).

The “SkyWalk” is a glass bridge (at the west rim of the Grand Canyon) that allows tourists to walk out over the edge and peek through the Canyon’s rim from a see-through surface beneath them. What a sight! Many tourists each year come to this part of the Canyon to look out over the edge and admire the amazing views.

Here are some basic facts about the Grand Canyon: 

  • River length: 277 miles
  • Canyon width: 10 miles (15 miles at its widest)
  • Canyon depth: 1 mile (average depth: 4,000 feet deep) (deepest point: 6,000 feet deep)

Also, the Grand Canyon extends north to the Kaibab Plateau and south to the Coconino Plateau.

Grand Canyon History

In 1893, the Grand Canyon was afforded federal protection as a Forest Reserve. In 1908, January 11, the Grand Canyon was designated a national monument. In 1916, the National Park Service (NPS) assumed administration of the park. In 1919, February 26, the Grand Canyon was designated as a National Park by President Woodrow Wilson. In 1979, the Grand Canyon National Park was selected as a World Heritage Site, which means it is now part of the cultural and natural heritage and is a sign that the World Heritage Committee considers the Park having outstanding universal value.

Grand Canyon Geology

For years, Grand Canyon’s geologic landscapes have been studied. Drainage systems that run through the rock have formed numerous deep canyons (hence its name, Grand Canyon). It’s well known for its geologic significance.

The Grand Canyon has the biggest and most spectacular gorge (which is a deep valley between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river) in the world. In fact, the gorge is 1.5-kilometer (0.9 mile) deep and is about 500 m to 30 km wide (0.3 mile to 18.6 miles). The gorge formed by geologic activity and erosion by the Colorado River. The geologic boundaries of the Grand Canyon span in all four eras of the earth’s evolutionary history, from the Precambrian to the Cenozoic.

  • Grand Canyon Information – This is a great Web site containing Grand Canyon information as well as the geological history of the Park.
  • Grand Canyon Rocks – Here’s an excellent site that explains in-depth (but, easy to understand) the geology of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Biology

The biological province of the Grand Canyon: Rocky Mountains.

As mentioned before, the Grand Canyon has life zones which present biological attributes to the Park. Also, within the Park are several major ecosystems which include all of the living organisms (plants and animals) in a specific area, and forest and desert communities. Some of the ecosystems shown in the Park are rare. Be aware that many plants and animal species found in the Park are protected because threatened or endangered.

  • Center for Biological Diversity – Information on what is being done (and by whom) to protect the Grand Canyon (an example of recognizing the Grand Canyon Protection Act of 1992).

More Educational Resources

With so much to learn about the Grand Canyon, knowing where to look for various information is essential. Any search engine will turn up hundreds of sites on the Grand Canyon, but not all sites provide trusted and secure navigation or true information; therefore, look over the links already provided. Note: Of all of the educational sites on the Web, those that are more suitable for kids are…

  • Family Activities at the Grand Canyon – This site mentions the WebRanger program, a place to go online to share park stories and pictures with other kids. It also explains the Junior Ranger program. Both programs provide fun for both kids and adults.
  • Grand Canyon for Kids – The place to go to know more about the Junior Ranger programs (those for all age groups).

In summary, with all that has been mentioned about the Grand Canyon National Park, having only a virtual tour of it might not be enough; other options, include: Distance Learning Opportunities (one-hour distant learning programs via the Internet, provided by the Environmental Education Branch), or actually going there.

Lastly, kids are encouraged to check out the Grand Canyon’s Environmental Education (GCEE) Program. GCEE provides grants to kids to be able to go and visit the Park. The program will even provide gear for kids who need it.

  • Grand Canyon National Park – Not only a great site for information, but it contains many beautiful photographs of the Grand Canyon, as well as other things (like rocks containing fossils) found in the Park.
  • Grand Canyon Outdoor Education – A place that provides an educational experience for the Grand Canyon.
  • Grand Canyon Railway – Official site that instructs how-to and how much (rates) for a train ride that gets you to the Canyon and back.

Working to Save the Endangered Humpback Chub

The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bureau of Reclamation are working together to save an endangered freshwater fish, the humpback chub. The latest effort was the June 23, 2010, translocation of 300 young fish from the Colorado River to Shinumo Creek, near the Kaibab Plateau on Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim.

The first group of humpback chub (Gila cypha) to be successfully relocated to Shinumo Creek arrived in 2009 as part of a multi-year experiment. The hope is that this Grand Canyon tributary of the Colorado River can become the home to a new spawning aggregation–an area where many fish come together to reproduce. Currently, the humpback chub only spawn and reach adulthood in a tributary of the Little Colorado River.

If this experiment works, it will provide researchers with significant data on the effectiveness of translocation as a way to protect this endangered species. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers will monitor the humpback chub population before planning any additional releases.

Although the humpback chub is well suited to the high velocity, seasonal variability, and high turbidity (or murkiness) of the Colorado River basin, human-caused changes to the river’s flow and ecosystem have devastated the population. The largest remaining habitat for the fish is near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers in Grand Canyon.

Studies of the water quality, water temperature, and available food in Shinumo Creek suggest that it could be an ideal place to establish a new spawning ground. The barrier falls just above where Shinumo joins the Colorado River keeps invasive, predatory fish from accessing the creek, which is located approximately at River Mile 109.

The translocated fish were captured in their native habitat near the mouth of the Little Colorado River in 2009. They were treated to kill any parasites they might bring with them to Shinumo, kept over the winter, and then implanted with passive-integrated transponders, or PIT tags. PIT tags are glass-enclosed tracking devices that are surgically implanted under an animal’s skin to let wildlife researchers remotely monitor an their movement and health. Specialists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Dexter National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center in southeastern New Mexico will track the humpback chub populations. It was researchers at the Center who were able to confirm that fish from the first translocation were feeding and behaving normally almost immediately after being released.

Monitoring trips planned for June and again in September, combined with data from the PIT tag antenna, will allow biologists to assess the health and growth of the 2009 group of humpback chub. One element that will be closely studied is whether humpback chub will be able to withstand monsoonal flooding as a result of heavy rains or snowmelt. Shinumo Creek didn’t flood last year after the first translocation, so researchers are seeking more data.

While this program is still experimental, if it proves successful, the NPS may plan more translocation efforts as a way to restore native fish populations in the park. Juvenile humpback chub may have a greater chance of survival in the slightly calmer, warmer waters of Shinumo; larger fish may do better if they move to the Colorado River, which could lead to increased populations there. Grand Canyon National Park superintendent Steve Martin is looking forward to the results of the experiment. “I’m excited about the upcoming humpback chub translocation,” he says. “This conservation tool may become an important part of the recovery efforts for this Colorado River native fish.”

The National Park Service has no closures planned because of the translocation experiment, but they ask anglers in Shinumo Creek to immediately release any humpback chub they may accidentally catch. The fish can be identified by their silver color, small eyes, and large fins. Juvenile fish will not yet have the pronounced hump behind their head that gives the species its name.


Grand Canyon Firefighters Managing a Wildfire on the North Rim

The National Park Service is advising visitors of three wildfires currently burning in different areas on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Lightning strikes from a passing thunderstorm late in the first week of June caused the fires, which were noticed between Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12.

Two of the fires–the Walla Fire to the northwest and the Fuller Fire to the northeast–were within six to twelve miles of the North Rim developed area, and were suppressed by Grand Canyon firefighters before they grew larger than a tenth of an acre.

The third fire is being managed in a controlled burn for resource and protection objectives, with four Grand Canyon firefighters dedicated to monitoring it. Called the Glades Fire, it covers about one tenth of an acre of ponderosa pine on the Walhalla Plateau, between Vista Encantada and Cape Final a mile east of Cape Royal Road.

Since wildfire is a necessary part of the life cycle of the canyon, the National Park Service firefighters work to let fire safely run its course in the natural environment. Various plant and animal species are dependent on periodic fires for survival, and they also stimulate new plant growth and provide animal habitats in fire-damaged trees.

Fires in the area in both 1999 and 2005 had already reduced potential fuel sources, and officials do not anticipate severe damage. Visitors may see smoke from parts of the North Rim and Cape Royal Road, although any smoke that settles into the canyon during the evening should lift as the day heats up. The fire has not caused any road or trail closures, and no facilities on the North Rim have been impacted.

The Park Service will provide updates if any major change occurs as far as the severity of the fire or plans to manage it. Otherwise, there is no cause for concern as this naturally occurring wildfire runs its course.


New Cultural Center and Book to Document the History of Arizona’s Hualapai Tribe

Earlier this year, the Hualapai Native American tribe celebrated the opening of a cultural center in the Hualapai Nation’s capital, Peach Springs, Arizona. Several hundred people were in attendance, including guests from other Native American tribes. Dancing, drumming, and singing accompanied the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center will be a place that preserves the Hualapai culture, and educates the Hualapai and visitors alike about the tribe’s unique history. The two-story building features a library, laboratory space, and office space and is open weekdays, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.

The cultural center “reinforces being productive, teaching language, cultural arts, and having facilities for children to learn traditional practices,” said Director of the Hualapai Department of Culture Loretta Jackson-Kelly. “We want to carry on this momentum of instilling in our children their cultural identity. … We still survive,” she said, “Our aspirations for the future include taking the past and filtering it through today.”

The Hualapai people also collaborated with author Jeffrey Shepherd to draft the first public history of the tribe to be published in 30 years. “We Are an Indian Nation” was more than 10 years in the making. Shepherd joined the Hualapai Nation in May to celebrate the book’s release with a lecture, reading, and book-signing at the Hualapai Cultural Center. Over the process of researching and writing the book, Shepherd says he and Hualapai developed a shared story. “Somewhere between my own archival research, interviews with and input from Hualapais, and numerous outside reviewers, the narrative that has emerged is both mine and theirs,” he says. “Although no single book could come close to representing the full history and the achievements of this community, I hope that the book provides at least a glimpse into the voices and agency of the Hualapai people.”

Tourism is the Hualapai’s primary source of jobs and revenue, through which they hope to reverse the problems brought on by more than a century of social and economic hardship. They run the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation, which includes Grand Canyon West, the Hualapai River Runners whitewater rafting tours, and the Hualapai Lodge. These operations have helped fund a Boys and Girls Club, a Head Start program, and other social services for the Hualapai tribe.


A Guide to Tying Knots

Of all the tools humans have created, from the most primitive to the most technologically advanced, probably the most versatile and useful is the knot. There are many kinds of knots and many different uses for them, depending on the job they need to do. To get an idea of how important knots are to everyday life even in our modern age, consider the great variety of places in which knots are used. These include commercial and recreational fishing, rock climbing, scouting, surgery, farming, search and rescue operations and even clothing and jewelry.

Much of the time, knots secure things in place, so they mean safety. To ensure safety and keep things in place, knots must be tied properly so they don’t slip, loosen or come apart. It’s also important to use the right knot for a particular job because they vary in strength and functionality. A knot’s usefulness in a particular situation can also depend on the type of rope being used. Knots can have multiple purposes and often there’s a choice in which knot to use to get the job done.

Most of us associate knots with boating. Anyone who’s ever seen a boat tied to a dock has seen the bowline knot, which loops around a post, ring or cleat on the dock. This knot gets tighter as tension on the mooring line increases, keeping the boat in place when the tide changes, the water gets choppy or the wind picks up. There are also knots for hauling, trawling, tying down and opening sails and attaching the anchor to its line. Boating knots are used on fishing boats, along with several other types of knots for joining a hook to a line, a line to a tackle, two lines together and more.

Boating knots are also familiar to rock climbers. For example, rock climbers might use bowline knots to secure their rope around permanent, stable objects and the clove hitch knots to attach to the anchor. They also use several other types of knots for keeping the harness secure, hooking to stable objects or making handles in the rope for other climbers to use. Knots are also a fundamental skill set for all search and rescue workers to use in emergency situations.

Knots aren’t just for special purposes, they’re also part of many childhood scouting experiences, where learning and using knots is included in troop meetings and other activities like camping and hiking. Knots are also common in everyday household tasks, including gardening, tying packages, securing children’s swings, crafting, tying shoes, and temporary repairs to furniture or fences.

Everybody uses knots at some point and learning them can be fun and useful. Chances are, knowing how to tie knots and when to use them will come in handy at some point, either in a team activity or an unanticipated situation that can be solved by securing a means of pulling, towing, lifting, carrying, or grabbing. This article will talk about various kinds of knots used in boating, climbing, fishing, scouting, search and rescue, and household activities while providing resources to help you learn the knots.


Boating knots include knots like the sheet bend knot. This knot joins two knots of unequal size so that they act like ropes of the same size. Figure 8 knots are known as “stopper knots” because they keep the ends of a rope from sliding through a sheave. Bowline knots are the most widely used boating knots. Other examples include the fisherman’s bend, the rolling hitch, the reef knot, the eye splice, and the clean hitch. All these knots have a variety of uses including tying sails down, securing things on deck, and securing the anchor.

  • Bowline: Animation showing how to tie bowline knots.
  • Anchor Bend:Animation illustrating how to tie this know, also called the “sailor’s knot.”
  • Clean Hitch: A video that shows how to tie a clean hitch knot as well as other types of knots.
  • Sheet Bend: Some images that showing how to tie a sheet bend.
  • Clove Hitch: Explains how to tie a clove hitch.
  • Square Knot: Animation and step by step diagram on tying a square knot.


Climbers have their own array of knots. Waterman knots are used to tie ends of webbing together. Double Figure 8 knots are considered very secure. It’s absolutely necessary to know Prusik knots because your life could depend on it. In rescue situations, the Prusik knot is often the only one that can save you, as it allows you to ascend a single rope. There is also the alpine butterfly knot, the munter mule, the double overhand stopper knot, and the blakes hitch, all of which are important and useful.

  • Figure 8 Knots: Explains how to tie a figure 8 knot.
  • Waterman Knot: Provides instructions about how to tie waterman knots.
  • The Prusik Knot: Shows how to properly tie a Prusik knot.
  • Tying a Harness: A look at the types of knots used for climbing harnesses.
  • The Double Figure Eight: Animation and explanation about tying this knot.
  • Munster Friction Hitch: Animation that shows how to tie this knot, which is also called an Italian or Sliding-Ring Hitch.


Knots are integral to the success of fishing enthusiasts. The perfection loop creates a small loop in a rope while a nail knot is used to join lines that have two different diameters. Rapalla knots are used to provide a connection between a line and a lure. An improved clinch knot is used to join a hook or lure to a fishing line. The Albright knot is used to join lines of unequal size. Other types of knots of fishing are the trilene knot, the surgeon’s loop, and the dropper loop.

  • Improved Clinch Knot: Provides instructions on tying the improved clinch knot.
  • Double Swivel Knot: Multiple animations that explain how to tie double swivel knots.
  • Trilene Knot: The art of tying trilene knots.
  • Albright Knot: Provides instructions on tying a good alright knot.
  • Uni Knot: Shows how to tie a proper uni-knot.
  • Double Grinner Knots: Teaches how to tie double grinner knots.
  • Arbor Knot: Discusses the uses of different fishing knots and how to tie them.


Scouting knots are used for a variety of purposes. The rolling hitch knot secures one rope to another rope that’s parallel. The double overhand stopper knot is used to prevent the end of a rope from passing through a block or pulley. A trucker’s hitch is used to secure loads down to hooks or fixed points. Other types of knots include the sheet bend, the sailor’s whipping, the eye splice, and the sheepshank.

  • Overhand Bow: Offers information about overhand bow knots, also called water knots.
  • Unnamed Bend: Provides instructions on tying unnamed bend knots.
  • Reef Knots: Some basic instructions about tying reef knots.
  • Round turn: Animation of round turn and two half hitches.
  • Turkshead Knot: Shows how to tie turkshead knots.
  • Rolling Hitch Knot: Explains how to tie rolling hitch knots.
  • Double Overhand Stopper Knot: An interactive animation that explains how to tie these knots.
  • Timber Hitch Knot: A video that explains how to tie this knot.


Search and rescue knots are used for assisting in the searching and rescuing of people in danger. Hasty harnesses are tied around people to help secure and lift them out of dangerous areas. The double overhand stopper knot is often used as a precursor to other types of knots. Other types of search and rescue knots include the trucker’s hitch, the clove hitch, the bowline, and the water knot.


Household ties are basically ties that are used around the house. These types of knots include the four in hand or half Windsor knots that are used to secure neckties. Then, there are child swing knots, parcel knots, various shoelace knots, Halloween knots, Fieggen knots, and more.

Additional Resources

It’s just as important to know how to take care of ropes as it is to know how to use them to tie knots. Ropes need to be handled properly and stored carefully so that they don’t accidentally snap when you need to use them. Knots can even be used for decoration. Rope care and safety is important.

Wonders of the Natural World

The world has a variety of incredible natural creations. Consequently, a great many lists make note of these natural wonders. Some of these lists include natural wonders that are millions of years old. Alternatively, some of the lists include natural wonders that were discovered centuries ago by man. Not surprisingly, scientists understand some natural wonders, while others carry with them unanswered questions as well as an air of mystery.

Alongside the lists that include wonders of the natural world, a person can easily find an assortment of similar lists. For example, there are lists that record the wonders of the ancient world. Other lists include wonders of the modern world as well as man made wonders. A list that includes wonders of the natural world focuses on the amazing sights found in nature that have the power to take a person’s breath away. This article brings to light just a few of the natural wonders that the world has to offer.

Angel Falls in Venezuela

The Angel Falls of Venezuela were named after an adventurous pilot named Jimmy Angel. The pilot experienced a harrowing landing on the mountain, but miraculously survived along with his passengers. Angel Falls are known as the world’s tallest. Its waters tumble over 3,000 feet into its pools below.

The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada

One of the reasons that the Bay of Fundy is known as a natural wonder is for its tides of 50 feet! There are a number of other sights to see around the Bay of Fundy including its sea stacks, mud flats, and rock cliffs. The Bay of Fundy is located in Canada between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Hundreds of species of birds are familiar with the Bay of Fundy, in particular the beloved sandpiper.

The Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA

The Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years due to erosion caused by the Colorado River. Its rock formations that belong to different time periods make it a natural wonder. This scenic canyon is 277 miles in length. A visitor cannot help but be overwhelmed by the sight of this canyon that can reach 18 miles wide.

  • Grand Canyon: Learn facts about the Grand Canyon such as its actual size and how it was formed.
  • A Look at the Grand Canyon: Find out about a variety of aspects of the Grand Canyon including the plants and animals that live there along with its archaeology.
  • Aspects of the Grand Canyon: Discover a description of the Grand Canyon along with its history.
  • Arizona’s Natural Wonders: Read about the characteristics of the Grand Canyon as well as other natural wonders in Arizona.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder partly due to the incredible collection of life around it. For instance, there are six sea turtle species there as well as 400 coral species. Water snakes, birds, fish, and mollusks are just a few of the other inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef. This natural wonder of coral measures in at 1,250 miles long.

Iguassu Falls in Brazil and Argentina

There are 275 waterfalls contained in what are known as the Iguassu Falls. They are connected with the Iguassu River. The water of the falls drops approximately 300 feet to the pools below. The name Iguassu translates as, “great water.”

Krakatau Island in Indonesia

The natural wonder of Krakatau measures approximately 2,667 feet in height. In 1883, the volcano of Krakatau experienced a tremendously violent eruption. There were tsunamis that occurred along with the eruption. Many people lost their lives as a result of that eruption and its side effects.

Mount Everest in Nepal

Millions of years old, Mount Everest is connected with the Himalayan Mountains. Mount Everest is known as the world’s highest mountain. It is approximately 29,035 feet tall. This natural wonder is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet.

  • Facts on Mount Everest: Features answers to intriguing questions about Mt. Everest including how it got its name.
  • A Revealing Lesson on Mount Everest: Read a background of Mount Everest that includes information on different local names for this natural wonder.

Mount Fuji in Japan

Mount Fuji, a natural wonder located in Japan is the tallest mountain there. Mount Fuji is approximately 12,388 feet in height. It is located on Honshu Island. Five lakes are associated with Mount Fuji.

  • Natural Wonders: Mount Fuji: Learn quick facts about Mt. Fuji in Japan.
  • Mount Fuji Facts and Information: Discover the geological makeup of Mount Fuji as well as some of its history.

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Along with being a natural wonder, Mount Kilimanjaro is known as Africa’s highest mountain. The height of Mt. Kilimanjaro is 19,340 feet. It is a mountain that is freestanding. Mt. Kilimanjaro possesses a great variety of vegetation.

  • Information on Mount Kilimanjaro: Learn about the geology of Mt. Kilimanjaro along with other interesting facts.
  • Natural Wonders: Mount Kilimanjaro: Quick facts on the tallest free standing mountain.

Niagara Falls in Canada and the USA

Niagara Falls is not only a natural wonder, but also a popular attraction to visit. Niagara Falls consists of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Canadian or Horseshoe Falls. Niagara Falls has a tremendous volume of water that goes to help generate power. The water travelling down Niagara Falls reaches speeds of close to 70 miles per hour!

Paricutin Volcano in Mexico

This cinder cone volcano is a natural wonder that last erupted in 1952. It is located in a place called Michoacán, Mexico. The origin of the Paricutin volcano is thought to have been a cornfield. Scientists have been able to observe the revealing life cycle of this volcano between the years of 1943 to 1952.

Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls are part of the Zambezi River. A man named David Livingstone discovered this thundering natural wonder in 1855. He decided to name the falls in honor of Queen Victoria. The Victoria Falls are approximately 350 feet tall.

More Wonders of the Natural World Information

Obama’s Stimulus Plan Funds New Employee Housing in Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim

The National Park Service hopes to have more options for employee housing when six new RV sites are completed in the developed area of Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim. The project, slated to break ground in July, will expand the employee trailer court and upgrade utilities and access roads.

The current shortage of employee housing leads to crowded conditions and makes it difficult to attract seasonal employees and their families, according to the NPS. The new project could also significantly increase the number of volunteers the park can accommodate. Utility upgrades are also being planned to enable future expansions if and when more funding is available.

Six 300-square-foot external frame cabins from a complex built in 1929 will be demolished as part of the project, and parking and walkways around the cabins will be more formally established. The 81-year-old facility includes 20 more cabins, a laundry facility, and a shower building. Fifteen of the cabins have been rehabilitated since 2003 with new electrical, water, and sewer infrastructure, and five more are due for improvements in the near future. The six cabins scheduled to be torn down have deteriorated beyond reasonable repair

Ridgeway Valley Enterprises, LLC, of Montrose, Colorado, was awarded the $292,000 design/build contract, which was funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), popularly known as President Obama’s stimulus plan. Park officials say that not only will the project add necessary seasonal employee housing, it will also create additional jobs in the southwest for the construction company and help the local service industries that will support them during the construction process.

Passed in early 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. The NPS received $750 million of that amount, approximately $10 million of which was earmarked for Grand Canyon National Park.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar touted the act, saying that it allowed the department and its bureaus to “[put] people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come.” As part of Secretary Salazar’s pledge for increased transparency, the public can follow the progress of ARRA projects online atwww.interior.gov/recovery. Projects that directly impact Grand Canyon National Park are reported on at www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/arra.htm.