The popular Island Trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument reopened on September 28th following extensive repairs.
The trail had been closed following trail damage from a rockslide. Two separate rock falls occurred at Walnut Canyon in December 2007, depositing a 49-ton boulder, several other large rocks, and 100 additional tons of debris on the primary trail. The rock falls completely blocked and damaged the trail, stairs, handrails, and a bench.
âRe-opening the trail has been the parkâs top priority,â said superintendent Diane Chung. âWe appreciate the publicâs support and patience during this project, allowing us to protect park resources and provide visitor access to Flagstaffâs local national monuments. We were delighted that so many people came out to celebrate the reopening."
The Island Trail, approximately one mile long, descends into Walnut Canyon via a set of stairways initially constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It offers views of pueblo homes occupied approximately 900 years ago. Part of the loop will remain closed as crews continue to make repairs this fall. The rehabilitation project was a collaboration between park staff, the Grand Canyon NP safety and trails divisions, contractor crews from the American Conservation Experience (ACE), and the parkâs interdisciplinary management team.
The reopening coincided with National Public Lands Day weekend and the Flagstaff Festival of Science. Other highlights of the day included exhibits of original artwork used to produce new wayside exhibits along the trail, a talk on the Civilian Conservation Corps history at the park, and cultural demonstrations of native basketry.