Grand Canyon National Park marks 95th anniversary - KCTV5

Grand Canyon National Park marks 95th anniversary

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FILE PHOTO FILE PHOTO
FILE PHOTO FILE PHOTO
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ (CBS5) -

Arizona's own natural wonder of the world is marking 95 years as a National Park.

There were 44,173 visitors in 1919, the year the Grand Canyon achieved National Park status, according to the National Park Service.

Fast forward to today and the park has close to 5 million visitors each year.

Earlier this month, Arizona's largest public utility donated $1 million to benefit trails at the Grand Canyon. Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said the money from Arizona Public Service Co. will help reduce a backlog of trail maintenance that has topped $40 million.

Don Brandt of APS says $350,000 of the $1 million donation benefits the popular Bright Angel Trail. The other $650,000 will be used to create an endowment for the canyon's trail system.

The Grand Canyon has 350 miles of trail with around one-third undergoing scheduled maintenance. Uberuaga says most trails get repaired on an emergency basis.

Hundreds of hikers step out onto the trails daily.

The annual lottery for noncommercial river trips through the Grand Canyon wrapped up Tuesday. The National Park Service says about 460 permits were available for the coveted 12- to 25-day trips in 2015.

In June 2013, the Grand Canyon received even more attention as Daredevil Nik Wallenda completed one of his most ambitious feats yet - crossing a tightrope 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. [Related: Made it! Daredevil on tightrope conquers AZ gorge]

The entrance fee for the park is $25 per private vehicle and $12 pedestrian or cyclist.

Click here for more details on the Grand Canyon.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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