Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Engineering Marvel Or Colossal Eyesore ?

Extending out over the Grand Canyon almost a mile above the Colorado River, there is a massive, multimillion-dollar glass walkway that will soon open to tourist business. This cantilevered structure, called the Skywalk, opens to the public next month. It is buttressed by 1 million pounds of steel and supports 90 tons of tempered glass serving as a see-through deck giving visitors a breathtaking view of the canyon. Skywalk will be the most conspicuous commercial structure in the Grand Canyon. It was the brainchild of the Hualapai, a struggling Indian tribe, who plan to lure tourists to its remote reservation. Skywalk kicks off the 9,000-acre development, known as Grand Canyon West, that will open up a long-inaccessible 100-mile stretch of countryside along the canyon's South Rim. The cost of the Skywalk alone will exceed $40 million.

Critics say that the Skywalk and related development will only add to the commercialization that has detracted from the experience of nature in the national park.

Well, I think it's pretty cool.. pretty scary.. and well, some development if done right can be a good thing. I've been to some of our National Parks, and I have to tell you that while the sights are breathtaking the parks can appear fairly run down in spots and in need of some sprucing up. This development can significantly help this tribe, so this can really be a great thing for them.