Grand European Tours in connection with the The Travel Corporation Conservation Foundation partnered with Tourism Cares for their 3rd annual Volunteer project in the Grand Canyon National Park. Amanda and Michelle from our Oregon office traveled down to the Grand Canyon to work on a re-vegetation project. They have both volunteered for this project in the past and enjoyed it just as much again this year. We hope you enjoy Amanda’s report on the project as well as their photos and videos. Many tourism destinations and resources; specifically natural, cultural and historic sites are in need of care and rejuvenation so that they can be preserved for future generations to enjoy — and we are proud to have been able to take part in this rejuvenation project in our own backyard in the states.
The evening we arrived at the National park coincided with the solar eclipse on May 20th — we were excited to have the opportunity to view the eclipse. There were many astronomers with their telescopes and solar glasses set up all over the park. Michelle and I found a lovely couple that were willing to share their solar view finder with us.
What an amazing experience it was to get to watch this spectacular phenomenon while overlooking the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon and chatting with our new friends. We ended the evening by watching the sun set and the ever changing colors of the canyon walls.
The next morning after an instruction session by a park vegetation specialist we worked on the landscape near the Mather Point viewing area. Originally the parking lot here went directly up to the edge of the canyon, but in recent years they moved the parking lot back to create more natural walking and viewing pathways free of parking lot noise and visual distractions. These new pathways have a much more natural feel to them allowing you a more aesthetically pleasing experience.
In the process of creating the new parking lot the Park Service saved as many plants as possible in the Park’s Nursery for later transplant. Our job was to replant over 200 plants in an area near one of the paths. We removed some of the invasive plants and replanted the native plants in areas near watering systems that were already in place to keep the transplantation as smooth as possible.
It was such a rewarding way to give back to one of the places that we hold so dear. Grand European Tours and our Travel Corporation sister companies send thousands of travelers on tours through the park each year. It was so enjoyable to be able to work on the park as if it was our own, and to see people’s appreciation as they walked by on their way to the canyon edge.