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ACE Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park – Bright Angel Trail

32095829134_9a1e4b74c5_h-1This past February ACE Arizona had a crew working in the Grand Canyon with the National Parks Service. The crew was led by ACE crew leader David Vayhinger. The crew spent the first two days of the project working a mile and a half down the Bright Angel Trail.32785443482_5d691e1028_h-1

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The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular trails in the canyon with multiple checkpoints and camping sites along the way as it winds it way down to the Colorado River. The Bright Angel Trail is one of the main access trails to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon.

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The warming temperatures and ice melt cause rock slides to be more frequent during this time of year. The crew was assisting the Park Service rangers in removing one rock slide in particular that made the trail impassable to the park’s mules. Half of the crew assisted with the rock slide while the other half of the crew made their way down to three mile point, clearing the trail from smaller rock slides and repairing check dams.

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The main rock slide at the mile and a half checkpoint was one large rock that covered the width of the trail. The crew assisted by directing hiking traffic and helped break apart this large rock with steel rods and drills. The rock needed to be taken apart in sections and then the crew used the rock fragments to build a rock wall along the trail. This work is particularly challenging in the canyon because the trail contains many switch backs. This means that the crew needed to use extreme caution to not lose any rocks into the canyon because the trail continuously loops back underneath the work site.

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With the assistance of ACE, the National Parks Service crew was able to clear the trail and the parks’ mules were able to continue canyon tours as well as packing in supplies to Phantom Ranch. It is an honor for ACE corps members and staff to be able to contribute to the conservation of this incredible national park.

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Trail Maintenance on Bright Angel Trail | Grand Canyon National Park

An ACE crew led by Andrew Moignard, started working at the south rim of the Grand Canyon on October 4th in partnership with the National Parks Service. The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most heavily trafficked trails in the Grand Canyon leading down to Phantom Ranch. The previous week saw heavy rains which washed out parts of the trail, caused erosion, and brought obstacles down onto the trail.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The crew worked from the trail-head down with a three mile goal for their nine day project into the park. ACE has been working in the Grand Canyon for several years doing cyclical maintenance on the canyon trails. The purpose of this project was to clear the trails of debris from the previous weeks storm and general trail maintenance for hikers, packers, and mule riders.

Grand Canyon

ACE crew and corps members worked to clear debris and mid sized rocks from the trail, digging and clearing drains, reinforcing water bars, and creating dams within the drains to slow down the water flow. The crew was also filling in parts of the trail which had been eroded over time and creating a more even surface to make the trail safe for hikers and visitors to Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Photo Credit: JPlance

 

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