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Partnership Fact Sheet
Grand Canyon Railway and The Grand Canyon: Preserving History for Tomorrow’s Generation
In 1901, Grand Canyon Railway opened the Grand Canyon to the general public. Before that, the horseback or stagecoach trip was too difficult for most people.
In the late 1960s, the American love affair with the automobile caused the rail line to shut down due to lack of ridership. Through the years, this same love affair has caused serious congestion and environmental problems for the canyon itself.
Today, Grand Canyon Railway is helping reduce automobile traffic inside Grand Canyon National Park. More than 225,000 passengers – approximately 7 percent of annual South Rim visitation – travel to the rim by rail.
Grand Canyon Railway is dedicated to preserving the pristine environment of the Grand Canyon and is a founding contributor to the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, providing support for Grand Canyon National Park.
The Grand Canyon was formed primarily by erosion caused by the Colorado River. It covers an area of more than 1,900 square miles or 1,218,376 acres, and is about 190 air miles or 277 river miles long. The canyon’s width ranges from 600 yards to 18 miles but averages about 10 miles from rim to rim. The average depth of the canyon is about one mile with the South Rim elevation at 7,000 feet and North Rim elevation at 8,000 feet.
The canyon was first established as a forest preserve in 1893 and became a national monument in 1908 by presidential proclamation. Grand Canyon National Park wasn’t established until Feb. 26, 1919 by an act of Congress. The park was again enlarged on Jan. 3, 1975.
Annually, nearly 5 million people visit Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular destinations in the United States, and it has been referred to as America’s No. 1 natural tourist attraction.
Public Contact: For more information, call Grand Canyon National Park at 928-638-7888.