A $9.1 million combination of projects to repair and improve overlooks, trails and parking lots along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River has started.
The work was prompted in part by the 2014 death of an 8-year-old California girl, who fell after stepping off the trail to the Brink of the Lower Falls and slipping. In 2012, an 18-year-old Yellowstone concession employee fell to her death near Inspiration Point after walking off the canyon’s North Rim Trail.
As the first part of that work, the North Rim Trail has been closed until July 23. Because there are so many projects proposed, the work will take four years to complete.
The work will include rerouting trails away from dangerous areas with stone barriers; connecting historic overlooks with new walkways; creating safe, accessible viewing areas with new informational signage; and using natural materials to integrate the infrastructure into the canyon’s spires and cliffs.
Current closures include:
Inspiration Point until fall 2016.
A section of the North Rim Trail between the Brink of Upper Falls and the Brink of Lower Falls until July 23. The Brink of Upper Falls and Brink of Lower Falls are still accessible from the trailheads.
Areas affected over the four-year period include: Brink of Upper Falls, Brink of Lower Falls, Uncle Tom’s trails and overlooks, Inspiration Point, Red Rock Point, Crystal Falls and sections of the North Rim Trail that connect these areas.
Parking areas at the Brink of Upper Falls and the Uncle Tom’s area are being reconfigured to increase capacity and the flow of pedestrian traffic.
This project will be funded by the Yellowstone Park Foundation through private donations and federal fee dollars. Construction will be managed and contracted by the Federal Highways Administration, with oversight by Yellowstone National Park. A crew of students from the Montana Conservation Corps is assisting the National Park Service trail crew with work on the North Rim Trail.