The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a shiny new glass bridge protruding 70 feet into Grand Canyon West and hovering 4,000 feet over the Colorado River. It was rolled out over a bed of metal rods and was fastened to the canyon's wall on March 7.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, will be the first man to walk on Skywalk for its official dedication ceremony today, March 20.
While this part of the Canyon boasts the most spectacular and varied terrain, it has not been as well-known or traveled by the general public in the past. Las Vegas developer David Jin and the 2,200 members of the Hualapai Indian tribe are counting on this daring walkway with its breathtaking wide-open aerial view to change all that.
However, many environmentalists and some tribe members see the Skywalk's memorable visual contrast amidst the natural splendor as a defacing tourist gimmick and a desecration of sacred grounds.
Robert Bravo Jr., the West Canyons Operations Manager, admits that a small sector of tribal members have some apprehension, but he said, "when it comes to desecration, we're very careful, we keep it as pristine as possible and we're making sure we do this right."
The general consensus of the average tribal members we found was positive and hopeful that Skywalk will serve as a major augmentation to the tribe's other attractions‚ an Indian village, horseback riding, cowboy shows or helicopter and Hummer tours -- which bring much-needed revenue to the Hualapai nation.
The plans to build this dramatic $30 million engineering marvel, set in motion more than a decade ago, are now fully realized.
The official opening to the public of the horseshoe-shaped Skywalk takes place on March 28. The tribe charges $25 to walk on the bridge.
The total cost can be closer to $75 per person, with other park fees.