My family and I had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon this past week and it was amazing. I was lucky enough to grow up overseas and had the privilege of traveling all over Europe, but I always felt like I missed out when it came to “the Great American Road Trip”. You know, the one you see in the movies where the family is piled in the back of a station wagon, staying in motels, and heading to a National Park. I was happy to share this slice of Americana with my children (sans station wagon) as they won’t be doing any extensive travel in Europe anytime soon!
When President Roosevelt spoke at the Grand Canyon in 1903, he said, “…Keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American … should see.” While the purpose of the park is to be visited and appreciated by as many as possible, the canyon’s ecosystem pays a heavy price. Hiking through the high desert is thirsty work and thirty percent of the park’s litter each year was made up of plastic bottles. Two months ago they completely banned the sale of these single use containers and have substituted them with water refill stations throughout the canyon. It’s these small steps that we make that will keep the Grand Canyon, as well as our other National Treasures places of beauty that someday my children will take their children to see. Hopefully their kids won’t argue in the backseat as much as mine did!