Grand Canyon National Park celebrates 6 millionth visitor of centennial year

This photo of Grand Canyon Railroad Depot at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was taken Sept. 15, 2014, in Grand Canyon Village, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Sept. 15, 2014 | National Park Service photo by Michael Quinn, St. George News

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – A young family from Las Vegas, Nevada, became Grand Canyon National Park’s celebrated “6 millionth visitor” during the park’s final National Park Service centennial event of 2016. This marks a record visitation year for the park, which saw just over 5.5 million visitors in 2015.

The distinction went to James and Abigail Johnson and their children, Sophia and Elijah, who were first-time visitors to Grand Canyon National Park, a park news release states.

“At first I didn’t think it was real,” Sophia Johnson said. “But I’m really happy we’re the 6 millionth!”

Grand Canyon’s celebrated visitors were greeted at the South Rim entrance station and led to the park headquarters where Superintendent Chris Lehnertz , park staff and community members welcomed them and presented them with gifts from Grand Canyon Association, Xanterra, Tusayan Chamber of Commerce and Bright Angel Bikes.

Looking downstream towards Lava Falls on the Colorado River, from the Toroweap Overlook in the Tuweep area of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Jan. 3, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Looking downstream toward Lava Falls on the Colorado River from the Toroweap Overlook in the Tuweep area of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Jan. 3, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Almost all Grand Canyon visitors are greeted by visitor-use-assistant staff at the South Rim, Desert View and North Rim entrance stations. On any given day, staff members may greet between 1,000-2,000 visitors.

Iva Torivio was the staff member that had the pleasure of greeting Grand Canyon’s 6 millionth visitor.

Torivio, who grew up in the Grand Canyon community, has worked as a visitor-use-assistant at Grand Canyon for the past 22 years and was very excited to be on hand to celebrate with the park’s 6 millionth visitors, the news release states.

The visitors signify an exciting landmark for Grand Canyon National Park, which has seen a steady increase in visitation since 2011.

This year alone visitation has increased by 7.5 percent with help from national campaigns like “Find Your Park,” a social media public campaign to raise awareness of the National Park Service centennial. Since its establishment in 1919, Grand Canyon National Park has received more than 200 million visitors.

As the centennial year comes to an end, the Grand Canyon team is looking forward to its own centennial celebration in 2019 when it will continue to inspire future generations to be stewards of public lands.

For more information about visiting Grand Canyon National Park please visit the park’s website.

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1 Comment

  • .... December 13, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    This is a great article and well written. This is absolutely a wonderful place to visit and enjoy time with friends and loved ones. you just need to be careful out there and it’s always a good idea to never go hiking alone

    It’s a wonderful park and well maintained and I would like to thank all those involved in making this possible.

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