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Greater Grand Canyon Region

One of the greatest natural wonders on Earth...

Species Diversity | Recreational Opportunities | Geological Significance | Cultural History | Our Regional Work | Get Involved


Toroweap verlook. Photo by Mark Miller.
The plunging depths of Toroweap Overlook. Photo by
Mark Miller.

The 36 million-acre Grand Canyon eco-region is bounded on the west by the Grand Wash drainage and includes the Little Colorado River watershed to the south and east, as it sweeps through the Painted Desert from its origin along the Mogollon Rim's expansive ponderosa pine forests in central and eastern Arizona. Utah's High Plateaus create the boundary to the north.

This diverse eco-region contains the Grand Canyon at its core and includes other spectacular designated and proposed wilderness areas on the Kaibab Plateau, the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermilion Cliffs National Monuments, and other Bureau of Land Management public lands. The forested highlands include portions of the Apache-Sitgreaves, Kaibab, and Coconino National Forests north of the Mogollon Rim.

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Species Diversity

Chuckwalla lizard. Photo by Mark Miller.Within the ecoregion, America's three great North American deserts—the Great Basin, Sonoran, and Mojave—converge. These spectacular and diverse habitats offer sanctuary for numerous rare, threatened, and endangered species including desert tortoises, Gila monsters, northern goshawks, and Mexican spotted owls. The rugged highlands support elusive mountain lions along with mule deer, black bears, and the distinctive Kaibab and Abert squirrels. The ecoregion supports the nation's largest breeding populations of desert bighorn sheep, peregrine falcons, and the endangered humpback chub.

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Recreational Opportunities

Rafting the Colorado River. Photo by Mark Miller.The diversity of terrain and outstanding scenic qualities of this region provide innumerable recreational opportunities to visitors. One of the most beloved of American pastimes—river running—can be found on the Colorado River as it churns on its million-year old path through the Grand Canyon. Wilderness hiking, backpacking, bird watching, and other low-impact recreation is unparalleled in the Grand Canyon region and its new monuments.

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Geological Significance

One of the region's most remarkable aspects is the astounding display of geologic features and formations revealing more than one-third of the earth's history. Grand Canyon's depths expose rocks 1.8 billion years old. Deposits found throughout the region range from Precambrian rocks containing the earth's most primitive life forms to recent lava deposits that affected native Americans living around the Flagstaff area. The ecoregion contains some of the country's most spectacular faults and escarpments, including the Grand Wash and Vermilion Cliffs, the Mogollon Rim, and of course, the Grand Canyon itself.

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Cultural History

Photo: National Park Service

Human beings have roamed the region for the past 12,000 years, leaving behind life's traces ranging from simple lance points and arrowheads, to impressive stone buildings such as those found at Wupaki National Monument. In the beginning, hunters pursued large species such as mammoth and mastodons. Beginning 7,000 years ago, as large animals vanished or became scarce, humans relied heavily on hunting smaller animals and gathering roots, seeds, and fruits. For at least the past 2,500 years, cultivated foods supplemented the aboriginal inhabitant's diet. Today, tens of thousands of descendants of the early farmers, hunters and gathers, and Europeans inhabit the spectacular Grand Canyon ecoregion.

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Our Regional Work

The Arizona Wilderness Coalition's goals for the Grand Canyon region are ambitious, yet simple. We are advocating wilderness designation for no less than two million additional acres and the protection of existing wilderness through effective agency management. We also advocate for the designation of eligible and suitable Wild and Scenic River segments within the region. To this end, we enlist the support of volunteers for field inventories, research of wilderness and habitat issues, and letter writing campaigns.

New Monuments in this Region

Get Involved

Find out more about these major regional issues and how you can participate:

To learn more and to get involved, please contact Kim Crumbo, our Grand Canyon Regional Coordinator, at 928-638-2304.

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-Arizona Wilderness Coalition mission statement