I’ve been trying to think of a way to talk about the Grand Canyon Skywalk project that’s very close to opening up.

While my gut reaction was to think of it as an abomination on the landscape, Ranger X reminds us not to be so quick to judge. He describes the official National Park grounds as

anything but pristine with houses and pay phones at Phantom Ranch, a water pipeline across the canyon, a bank, an ATM, 11 restaurants, an auto mechanic shop, Internet access, a kennel, a medical clinic, a post office, gas stations, gift shops, six lodges with almost 1000 rooms. There are 228 miles of roads and 1143 buildings. This isn’t “necessary”. It’s excessive and it’s impossible to find solitude on the South Rim.

… and he’s right. I went there over the Thanksgiving weekend with my roommates a few years ago. While we had a great time and found the Canyon unbelievably inspiring and beautiful, X is correct in noting it’s pretty impossible to find solitude there. On the actual day of Thanksgiving, we almost had the park to ourselves. The day after, it felt like we were at a mall.

Of course, on the flip side, just because we’ve screwed up part of the Canyon already doesn’t mean we should keep screwing it up. I guess, when it comes down to the Skywalk:

– I don’t mind that it’s there.
– But I won’t be going to visit it.
– And I very sincerely hope it doesn’t inspire copycat construction.

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