Our Most Imperiled Park

The Grand Canyon faces threats from every side.

The Grand Canyon is at the center of several environmental challenges. (Photo: Sarun Laowong/iStock)
The Grand Canyon is at the center of several environmental challenges.

The Issue: Uranium Mining
Canadian firm Energy Fuels plans to resume operations—and with it the threat of contam­ination—at Canyon Mine, just nine miles from the South Rim. Activists worry that it and three other former mines could leak toxic waste into the watershed. In 2012, interior sec­retary Ken Salazar put a 20-year ban on uranium mining in the area, but companies with existing rights are exempt. The Grand Canyon Trust is suing the Forest Service to ­prevent the Canyon Mine from reopening.

The Issue: Tramway
The proposed 1.4-mile Grand Canyon Escalade, a luxury gondola, would carry thousands of people each day from the North Rim to the pristine confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers—a sacred site to natives. The Navajo ­Nation Council is divided on the proposal but is expected to decide this spring.

The Issue: Mega-Resort
Stilo Development Group in Scottsdale, Arizona, is attempting to build more than 2,100 homes, hotels, restaurants, and retailers in Tusayan (current population: 600), near the South Rim. Though the city council already approved the project, the Forest Service rejected a proposal to improve roads in the area. ­Developers are expected to revise their project plans and resubmit them.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
From Outside Magazine, May 2016
Filed To: National ParksGrand Canyon
Lead Photo: Sarun Laowong/iStock
More Adventure