Today a treasured natural wonder of the world celebrates its centennial year as a national park, nestled in the southwest state of Arizona between the native lands of the Hualapai, Havasupai, Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Paiute tribes. These traditional indigenous tribes have long considered the canyon a sacred place where they continue to keep cultural traditions alive. The Grand Canyon itself is so old that no one is quite sure the exact number — scientists believe the Colorado River has been carving it out for at least 6 million years — but in 1908 the area was designated as a national monument by Theodore Roosevelt and later a bill was passed and signed by Woodrow Wilson, making it an official national park of the United States in 1919.
Over the next year, in partnership with the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the park will hold a variety of events honoring the rich history and lesser-known points of the park to visit. The Conservancy plays a vital role in the preservation and restoration of the park's trails and is currently working to gain official International Dark Sky Park status as it’s one of the last places to see the Milky Way.
The Grand Canyon National Park ranks as the second most visited park in the National Park System, right behind Smoky Mountain National Park. Throughout its 100-year history, the canyon has been the site of significant moments in pop culture, served as photographers’ playground and home to countless vacation memories. From an 1800s expedition by the Wheeler Survey to Albert Einstein’s visit with his wife in 1931, and the training of Apollo 11 astronauts to the daredevil jump of Robbie Knievel, we look back at the last century in honor, appreciation, and wonder of this famed destination. With all it’s natural glory beloved by millions, the Grand Canyon National Park is more than deserving of a year-long celebration.