21 March 2007

Grand Canyon Skywalk finally open...ish

So the Grand Canyon Skywalk is open. They got lots of coverage. BBC tv news last night and most of the newspapers this morning.

Not really surprising. It may have been controversial with some members of the Hualapai Indian tribe (on whose tribal land it sits) and those who consider it to be a blot on the natural beauty of the park, but IS a dramatic concept - walking on a glass floor suspended over a 4,000ft drop? That's twice the height of my first parachute jump out of an aeroplane! - and it will be hugely popular.

Two things surprised me.

  • I thought it had already been completed ages ago. They've been blathering on about it for long enough!

  • It doesn't look complete. The original designs had the horseshoe-shaped walkway jutting out from traditional stone buildings designed to blend in with the canyon rock face for minimal visual impact. At the moment it's just a steel & glass walkway cantilevered out over the drop. Where are the buildings?

Addendum (26/03/07): Oh that's very interesting. It turns out they haven't got a proper road either, according to an article in Sunday's Observer British rancher blocks Skywalk tribe.

I met this guy a couple of times, promoting the Heli USA business. I knew about the ranch and knew there was a link between the two businesses but I had no idea he was actually the 'governor'. I though he was just the UK rep!

I'm not surprised he is concerned. He's absolutely right on all counts. Pristine wilderness IS what visiting Brits want to experience. That IS why they go to the ranch. And the Skywalk will be so popular as an excursion from Las Vegas, the road will resemble a morning rush-hour motorway into London.

Sadly, the fact that he is a Brit (not a fifth-generation land-owner from the pioneer settlers) in dispute with native American indians means he probably won't get as much support as perhaps he should.

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