Coming together to sponsor and commemorate the Grand Canyon’s 100th anniversary Centennial celebration, Arizona Public Service (APS), Bank of America (BofA) and Teva have partnered with Grand Canyon Conservancy (GCC), to strengthen environmental, cultural, tribal, educational and conservation projects at the world-famous attraction.
“This support makes it possible for us to protect the canyon’s unique resources while inspiring future generations to experience and connect with the Grand Canyon,” said Susan Schroeder, GCC chief executive officer.
Of the several centennial projects initiated, long-time partner APS has sponsored improvements to the Bright Angel Trailhead, the preservation of the Desert View Watchtower and the Canyon Field School program for underserved students. APS employees also contribute and volunteer work at the Grand Canyon and serve on the GCC board.
“The Grand Canyon is a true treasure to Arizona, its residents and the visitors it draws from around the globe,” said APS CEO and Chairman Don Brandt. “This natural wonder is an awe-inspiring destination that gives our state its unique identity.”
Noteworthy projects for the Desert View Watchtower include restoration of murals, new spaces for a performance plaza and cultural center, and expanding tribal youth opportunities for education and job training.
Bank of America’s award of a $100,000 grant is expected to “ensure the Grand Canyon continues to thrive for the next 100 years through sustainable opportunities, access for visitors, Arizonans and the tribes who make the park a true national treasure,” said BofA Arizona President Benito Almanza. “While a landmark for visitors around the world, the Grand Canyon has become a personal passion for many Arizonans, including myself.”
Almanza usually hikes the Grand Canyon once or twice a year with friends and family and has completed 34 canyon hikes, including rim to rim. “I enjoy sharing the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Everyone always has a transformational experience.”
The BofA grant also supports several park priorities such as restoration of historic trails and the canyon’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park through the replacement of light fixtures to minimize light pollution.
Teva’s celebratory slogan, “Born in the Canyon,” reflects the company’s origin, when a Grand Canyon river guide strapped two Velcro watchbands to a pair of old flip-flops to prevent the sandals from floating downstream. “Our goal is to bring as much awareness as possible to this initiative so the Grand Canyon can be explored by adventurers for years to come,” said Teva General Manager Anders Bergstrom.
The Grand Canyon National Park and GCC have scheduled a list of events throughout the year to celebrate the 2019 Grand Canyon Centennial. From activities at the canyon to presentations in cities throughout Arizona, participants will have the opportunity to engage in a deeper understanding and appreciation of the canyon. For more information about upcoming events, visit grandcanyon.org. QCBN
By V. Ronnie Tierney, QCBN