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Tourism Cares Brings its Workforce to the Grand Canyon

WILLIAMS, Arizona — Hundreds of volunteers from 26 states and more than 55 tourism organizations descended upon Grand Canyon National Park and the surrounding area for a Tourism Cares volunteer project on November 1-3, 2015.

The project was the latest in a long history of volunteer events organized by Tourism Cares, the tourism industry’s philanthropic organization, and the first in a special series of volunteer projects in America’s national parks in 2015 and 2016 to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service.

Volunteers worked at two sites: one in the city of Williams, considered the gateway to Grand Canyon National Park, and another at the park itself. All together, the volunteer work saved thousands of dollars in labor and months of time for the city of Williams, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

Three painting projects completed in Williams covered nearly 14,000 square feet and used more than 65 gallons of paint. Volunteers cleared three miles of trails and removed nearly 250 invasive trees. More than a dozen large trail markers in Kaibab Forest were repainted, and volunteers removed more than 450 pounds of trash from around Grand Canyon National Park.

“On behalf of the state of Arizona, we thank all the wonderful volunteers who donated their time and worked with us to freshen up two very important visitor destinations,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Both locations are adored for the unique travel offerings. The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and Williams takes us back to our Route 66 history.”

At the end of the project, Tourism Cares and sponsors donated nearly $50,000 to Williams and other communities in northern Arizona.

“Tourism Cares for our National Parks is a perfect way to get our community out and giving back,” said Jessica Ahern, director of events for Tourism Cares. “Through this initiative and our partnership with the National Park Foundation, we are connecting travel professionals to parks and believe volunteers are the key to sustaining these places for the future. Getting members of our industry personally involved in the centennial celebration is an important goal for Tourism Cares.”

Upcoming Tourism Cares events at national park sites will include Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, near Atlanta, February 4-5; Cold Water Spring, near Minneapolis, May 19-20; Mount Rainier National Park, in Washington, September 15-16; and Ellis Island, New York, November 3-4.