Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

Grander Visitor Center for the Grand Canyon

October 22, 2000

Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park on Thursday will take a giant step toward offering visitors one-stop shopping for information when it opens the $18-million Canyon View Information Plaza.

Despite the Grand Canyon's fame and its crush of tourists (nearly 5 million last year), "we haven't provided much in the way of visitor information services," said park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge. The modest visitor center and bookstore in the park headquarters, across from the business district on the South Rim, have been the main source. That center will close Friday.

In its place will be a new 9,000-square-foot orientation center near Mather Point, a scenic outlook about one-half mile from the old visitor center. There you can scan photos of the best viewpoints over the canyon and get instructions on how to reach them; find out what the weather is on the canyon floor that day; view maps of hiking trails and get the lowdown on how fit you must be to attempt each one; browse a bookstore; and learn about ranger-guided programs. There will be rangers to query too, Oltrogge said.

The plaza will be accessible only by park shuttle bus; there is no parking there for private cars or commercial tour buses. When the plaza opens, the parking lot at Mather Point, less than 1,000 feet away, will be closed to private vehicles; only tour buses, tour vans and private cars with disabled tags will be permitted to park there, Oltrogge said.

The ban on parking is part of a long-term plan to reduce use of private vehicles throughout the park. The new plaza will be the hub of a new park-wide transit system of light rail and alternative-fuel buses scheduled to debut in 2004. Telephone (520) 638-7888, Internet http://www.nps.gov/grca.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|