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Project Profile: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Aerial view.

A desert view of the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park at dawn. The mile-high walls reveal a cross section of Earth's crust going back nearly two billion years. This natural landmark formed about five to six million years ago and erosion from the Colorado River has cut a deep channel through layers of rock.

Source: Credit to National Park Service

Project Name Grand Canyon National Park
Location Arizona
Project Sponsor / Borrower Grand Canyon Conservancy
Program Areas Public-Private Partnerships Project Finance Value Capture
Value Capture Techniques Private Contribution
Mode National Park-Pedestrian / Bicycle / Light Rail Transit

The Grand Canyon is a mile-deep gorge in northern Arizona. Scientists estimate the canyon may have formed 5 to 6 million years ago when the Colorado River began to cut a channel through layers of rock. Humans have inhabited the area in and around the canyon since the last Ice Age. The first Europeans to reach the Grand Canyon were Spanish explorers in the 1540s. President Benjamin Harrison first protected the Grand Canyon in 1893 as a forest reserve, and it became an official United States National Park in 1919.

Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 277 miles (446 km) of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. Park boundaries extend beyond canyon walls to include 1,904 square miles (1,218,376 acres) of which 94 percent is managed as wilderness. It is particularly important to gateway-community economies including Tusayan, Cameron, Williams, Flagstaff, Jacob Lake, Peach Springs, and Marble Canyon, Arizona, and Kanab and Fredonia, Utah. It also maintains government-to-government consultative relationships with 11 Federally recognized tribes, who consider Grand Canyon their place of origin.

Park infrastructure includes 1,600 assets, including over 600 trail miles, 228 road miles, 1,139 lodging units in eight hotels, 544 rim campsites in three campgrounds, and 70 inner canyon campsites in four campgrounds.

With five to six million visitors estimated yearly, Grand Canyon provides recreational experiences, including access to a paved-path walk to a moderate hike, a backcountry expedition, or technical river trip. The park also provides a broad spectrum of activities including rafting, hiking, sightseeing, and bicycling. Since 2000, the park has offered year-round shuttle service, with over 7.6 million boardings.


On Feb. 26, 2019 Grand Canyon Conservancy celebrated Founder's Day, the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon's designation as a national park. FY 2019 Funding

  • Operation of the National Park System (ONPS)
    • ONPS Base Operating Appropriation: $21,607,500
    • ONPS Non-base Funding: $41,949
  • Special Emphasis Program Allocation (SEPAS)
    • FirePro Base: $1,469,792
    • Construction and Major Maintenance: $368,624
    • Repair and Rehabilitation: $346,875
Funding Sources
Project Delivery / Contract Method N/A
Private Partner N/A
Project Advisors / Consultants N/A
Lenders N/A
Duration / Status

Grand Canyon was first set aside as a forest reserve by President Benjamin Harrison (Presidential Proclamation #45).

Established as Grand Canyon National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt (Presidential Proclamation #794).

The Grand Canyon became a national park by an act of Congress on February 26 (40 Stat 1175).

The park doubled in size by the Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act, passed by President Gerald Ford. Marble Canyon on the west and Grand Canyon National Monument on the east were added bringing protection to the entire area between Glen Canyon and Lake Mead.

Designated a World Heritage Site.

Designated an International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) by the International Dark-Sky Association

Financial Status/Financial Performance

Effective June 1, 2018 the park entrance fee will be $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle, for a seven-day pass. An annual park pass will cost $70. In Grand Canyon National Park, 80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor. It shares the other 20 percent of entry fee income with other national parks for their projects.

In Fiscal Year 2019, 22 concessioners grossed approximately $182.5 million and paid franchise and other fees of approximately $17.8 million.

Income 2019

  • Utilities Reimbursable: $4,793,491
  • Quarters: $1,933,006
  • Concession Franchise Fees–20% Portion: $3,231,346
  • Filming and Location Fees: $15,605
  • Donations (monetary): $1,312,092
  • Transportation (Shuttle Buses): $6,594,934
  • Other (reimbursable, refundable, etc.): $2,960,853
  • Generate billions of dollars for the country and has been valuable to tourism and business for years. In 2017, 6.2 million recreational visitors spent $667 million in communities near the park, which supported 9,423 jobs and generated an economic output of $938 million
  • Compressed natural gas shuttle bus service offered is offered on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It produces fewer harmful emissions for people and the environment.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations have been installed for public use at the Grand Canyon.
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