Grand Canyon Skywalk
   Scheduled to open in the fourth quarter 2006  
   Hualapai Indian Reservation

* Juts out about 70 feet into the canyon, 4000 ft above the Colorado River

* Will accommodate 120 people comfortably

* Built with more than a million pounds of steel beams and includes dampeners that minimize the   

   structure's vibration

* Designed to hold 72 million pounds, withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake 50 miles away, and

   withstand winds in excess of 100 mph

* Has a glass bottom and sides...four inches thick

 

As the Arizona Republic noted, the Skywalk is part of an effort by the Hualapai tribe to create a multi-faceted tourist resort and revenue stream not dependent upon casino gaming:

Levi Esquerra, program director for Northern Arizona University's Center for American Indian Economic Development, said the Hualapais are one of the few tribes to have a bustling economy without casino gaming as a linchpin.

"They've been able to exploit their natural beauty and become a tourist destination," Esquerra said. "What we've normally seen in the past between the tribes and national Park Service is like the Blackfeet in Montana appealing to get free access to Glacier National Park. But the Hualapais have a new and aggressive attitude to develop markets on their own land."

The Hualapai's Grand Canyon Resort Corp. already has completed the first phase of an adjoining Indian village, where Navajo, Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai craftsmen constructed traditional dwellings surrounding an amphitheater that hosts daily Native American dances.

The first phase of a nearby Old West village also has been completed, and plans are on the drawing board to construct a tram from the canyon rim to the floor. Ditto for an anticipated high-end resort and a campground, which will house about 50 cabins and be able to accommodate 200 campsites and 200 recreation vehicles.

The parts for the Skywalk project were fabricated in other locations and are being brought to the Grand Canyon site as it is readied for their installation. Although the last published update on the project (from July 2006) still anticipates the Skywalk's opening to the public during the fourth quarter of 2006, additional construction delays will likely push that event back into 2007:

The glass bridge preparation process is now available for viewing by appointment only to the media. The visitor's center will be accessible and open to the public beginning first quarter 2007. It is anticipated The Skywalk will open to the public during fourth quarter 2006, with access through a temporary tunnel while the visitor's center is being completed.

Click on photos to enlarge

 

    

 

      

 

Additional photographs of the work in progress can be viewed at the Grand Canyon Skywalk web site: