This greeting from the North Rim comes to you before it is open to the public. The National Park Service and Forever Resort employees are getting ready for your arrival.
The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park opens May 15, 2014. Unless a lot more snow falls.
Spring arrived in southern and central Arizona very early this year but winter lingers in the northern part of the state and although I drove through warm desert to get here, the North Rim greets me with snow my first night back.
As I left Jacob Lake heading south through the Kaibab I hoped to see snow along the way. The patches hidden under the edge of the forest almost nonexistent. The meadows look brown.
Note the dates on these photos
Over the last seven years I’ve made this drive the amount of spring snow continues to diminish. On cleared roads with 2-5 foot snow banks I’ve driven past white meadows. Sometimes large patches of snow on northern exposures frame well watered green meadows running with small flows of water between flooded dips we call lakes. This year, barely any standing water except for small year-round lakes.
Seeing the forest and meadows dry emphasizes the lack of snowpack for yet another year in the Southwest’s at least 17 year drought. Campfire and smoking restrictions are now in place on the Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests in Arizona, but not the North Kaibab district adjacent to the North Rim of the park. Couldn’t even have a BBQ at the Flagstaff KOA. Will spend a lot of time this spring talking to visitors about fire safety.
2006 Warm Fire
Due to human intervention and the “put it out” suppression policy of fire on public land for over 100 years fuel accumulation can ramp up catastrophic fires whether human caused or natural.
Climate change can not be denied. Humans are only part to blame. Earth is a cyclic planet in motion and changing all the time. In fact those colorful rock layers in the canyon were deposited in much different environments than we know today. The Grand Canyon is a 1.8 billion year old record of climate change.
Having just come from summer in South Africa followed by spring in Yarnell and not being a big fan of cold and snow, I pretty much stayed inside and unpacked the RV. But when the sun came out so did I.
So even though I returned to snow fall for a day and half it’s mostly melted already and the ground is barely moist. We could get more as sometimes it snows into June. And hopefully there will be a very wet monsoon season this summer.
Hope you’ll come for a visit and find out. But please be careful with fire.
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