Major project underway at Grand Canyon’s Desert View

Experience AZ | 19 Feb |

The Arizona Lottery is teaming up with Grand Canyon Conservancy, Grand Canyon National Park’s official nonprofit partner, in their effort to reimagine the site at Desert View. Desert View represents the physical and cultural gateway from Grand Canyon National Park to tribal lands that surround it. In fact, in 2019 alone, one million park visitors visited Desert View to learn more about the 11 American Indian tribes that call the Grand Canyon home.

Perched on the rim of the canyon, the historic 70’ tall Desert View Watchtower is modeled after the architecture of the Ancestral Puebloan people of the Four Corners region. Visitors can meet cultural demonstrators to learn about local indigenous cultures, spot the Colorado River turning west, and glimpse the Painted Desert extending towards tribal lands.

The Arizona Lottery’s $100,000 Gives Back Sponsorship (matched by the National Park Foundation’s centennial appropriations for $200,000 in impact) will fund opportunities for this Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site to teach visitors about past and present indigenous life and culture in and around Grand Canyon. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact directly with tribal members, listen to their stories, and observe a variety of cultural demonstrations. Projects this funding supports includes:

• The creation of an accessible, intuitive Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site, to immerse visitors in life and culture of the associated tribes.

• Improvement of the arrival experience by creating an Orientation Area, Shade Structure, Picnic Areas, and revision of the parking lots.

• Revision of the Pedestrian Paths to enhance the visitors’ travels along this natural, cultural, and tribal journey.

• Expansion of the popular Cultural Demonstration Series at Desert View for artisans from the 11 traditionally associated tribes to share their crafts with park visitors, raising awareness and appreciation of the history and diverse cultures of the region.

“The Arizona Lottery has been funding efforts to preserve Arizona’s unique wildlife and landscapes for over a quarter century and there is no landscape more iconic to Arizona than the Grand Canyon,” Arizona Lottery Executive Director Gregg Edgar said. “By sponsoring the expansion and improvement of Desert View, we are helping to ensure that this important inter-tribal cultural heritage site will be there to educate Arizonans about this natural wonder of the world and the peoples who call it home for generations to come.”

“This project was conceived of by our tribal partners who continue to collaborate with us to expand first-voice tribal interpretation, improve visitor orientation, and enhance the overall visitor experience at this site,” said Grand Canyon Superintendent Ed Keable. “Here at Grand Canyon, we have a rich legacy of featuring live cultural demonstrations in celebration of native people, heritage, history, and cultures. With the assistance of Grand Canyon Conservancy and its partnerships with the Arizona Lottery, we are able to strengthen these programs even further and make lasting change for many years to come.”

“Desert View is one of our most important projects. It is a high priority for Grand Canyon National Park and the National Park Service in general. This generous gift from the Arizona Lottery brings us one step closer to setting the stage for how parks work with tribal representatives and tribal members, showing the whole nation how it can be done,” said Theresa McMullan, Grand Canyon Conservancy CEO.

To learn more, visit https://www.grandcanyon.org/our-work/current-priorities/desert-view/  or follow Grand Canyon Conservancy on Facebook (@grandcanyonconservancy).

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