5/11/2010 3:39:00 PM Editorial: Entrances have a long history at the park
A photograph of a 1951 incident involving a vehicle that crashed into a log-built entrance station to the national park.
While many take the train from Williams to Grand Canyon each day, a large amount of the South Rim's visitors drive along Highway 64 through Tusayan, finally reaching the entrance to the national park. Once there, those travelers pay their $25 entrance fee (or less depending on one's mode of transportation) and enter the area's natural wonder of the world. Like the park itself, and even the Grand Canyon itself, the entrance to the national park has its own story.
Since before the national park was named such in 1919, visitors made the long trek from civilization to see the Grand Canyon. They came by horse, coach and train. Passenger service from Williams to the Grand Canyon began in 1901 aboard the Grand Canyon Railway. By the 1930s, vehicles quickly became the preferred method of transportation to the park. Traffic soon became a concern in the national park as more and more travelers made their way to northern Arizona by automobile. This led officials to create a number of entrances into the park, where park service personnel could collect entry fees. Initially, those entrance fees were much closer to the South Rim than they are today. Park rangers monitored one lane of vehicles as they entered the park as well, unlike today, where there are numerous lanes allowing access to the rim.
Entrance structures have also evolved over the years. Once a single log-built structure, the entrance now boasts a handful of entrance buildings. In 1951, one of those log-built structures was destroyed when a visitor to the Canyon drove her car into the station. Luckily no one was hurt in the incident.
More information on the park's entrance fees can be found online at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/entrance-fees.htm.