GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve will pay a visit to the Shrine of Ages at the Grand Canyon's South Rim Monday for a special presentation beginning at 7:30 p.m. Stieve will discuss the magazine's relationship to the Canyon during the evening presentation. A special Grand Canyon edition of the popular magazine is on newsstands now.
"What I was asked to do is talk a little bit about the magazine, Arizona Highways, and its history and kind of what we do, and then also look at our coverage of the Grand Canyon over the years. Our May issue, our current issue, it's a Grand Canyon issue, so I will be sort of showcasing that particular issue as well," Stieve said. "It's about the magazine and our coverage of our natural wonder: lots of images, beautiful photography. Arizona Highways is blessed with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great photographers and great photography, so it will be sort of the Arizona Highways slideshow of great images of the Canyon and different times of the year, but also sort of our take on it and some of the different stories we've covered. And then, again, I'll walk through the current issue," Stieve said.
Stieve is a member of the Grand Canyon Association (GCA). He's been with the group for about two years. He said he loves every chance he gets to come to the South Rim from his base in Phoenix. He's now clocked over 100 visits to the Grand Canyon since becoming a part of the Association. Stieve once lived in teh area for one month.
"I thought I knew a lot about the Canyon until I joined GCA and I've had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Superintendent Steve Martin and others who have lived up there for a long time. I'm actually gaining a lot of new insight into things up there. On a personal interest, they are really in line with what Arizona Highways does, not just the Canyon, but I spend a lot of time hiking," Stieve said.
Besides his work at the magazine, he is also currently working on a hiking book.
"I've been doing a lot of hiking at the Canyon for my book over the last year," Stieve said. "My personal connection to the Canyon is nothing unique, nothing you haven't heard from a million people, but to me there's nothing quite like it and I've been to most of the major national parks in the country, spent a lot of time in Yosemite, to me there's nothing like the Canyon. It's a magical place," Stieve said.
Though the magazine is owned by the state of Arizona, they do not get any money from the state in which to operate, Stieve said. The magazine's primary income is from subscription sales.
"It's important to know that Arizona Highways is owned by the state of Arizona. What most people don't realize is we're not appropriated. We don't get any money from the state. We operate independently out of something called an enterprise fund," Stieve said. "Although we don't get money from the state, the state continues to take money from us to try and balance the budget. In the last two years, they've taken $2.5 million from our fund, again, like any other entity, Grand Canyon Association or the park itself, everybody is struggling in this economy. We understand that, everybody is desperate to do what they can do, but it really hurts us," Stieve said.
Helping the struggling state parks
In order to help raise subscription sales, and assist with the many struggling state parks throughout Arizona, Stieve said the magazine has recently partnered with the state parks in a new program designed to raise funds for the parks.
"This program is actually a win win. It's two state entities working together. Because we don't carry advertising in our magazine, our funding source is primarily subscriptions," Stieve said, "Ours are $24 for a year's subscription. That's our main funding mechanism. What we're doing out of that, we got a program set up with Arizona State Parks and it's through our Web site, that for every subscription to the magazine, we're giving back $5 to the state parks. What's great about this program, which I think will resonate with people, is that you'll have an opportunity to decide which park gets your donation," Stieve said. "This idea came about through the Riordan Mansion because we were up there (we're doing a weekend event up in Flagstaff in June), and while we were up there we were trying to think of who could be a beneficiary we could raise money for. We came across this Riordan Mansion group. They're trying to keep it open, so we thought let's do a subscription program with Riordan and kick back $5 and help that state park. Then we thought why not expand it across the state? When you go to our Web site, all 30 state parks are listed and you can click on whichever one you want. When you fill out your subscription you just write in this six-letter code. Each park has a code and that way the money goes to that park, so it's not just going into some great big pot."
Stieve said the best part about the program is that the money is donated to the state park's foundation, a non-profit organization that works with state parks.
"All this money that can be generated can't be taken by the state legislature," Stieve said. "Every penny of it will go to state parks."
The program launched last week. Already, Stieve said, there has been interest in the program through the subscriptions.
"In the meantime, the benefit for us is that it's generating subscriptions for us, which helps keep us going as well," Stieve said. "We're two state entities and it really makes sense for us to partner in whatever way we can.