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North Rim facilities to receive face lift

Published: Monday, July 18 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

PHOENIX (AP) — Grand Canyon National Park officials have begun plans to give facilities on the more-remote North Rim a face lift.

The North Rim is only 10 miles from the popular South Rim as the crow flies, but it's a 200-mile drive. It is open to visitors from May through October.

As a result, the North Rim accounted for only 10 percent of the park's 4.7 million visitors in 2004, park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said.

Still, an environmental assessment released in June said information posted before visitors reach the park is inadequate, traffic flow is poor and some signs are confusing. It also found there was not enough parking at Bright Angel Point, leading to the canyon's edge.

The plans call for upgrading the visitors center and lodge. A new kiosk would be placed near the park entrance to better direct traffic. Parking areas would be expanded, and a new pedestrian trail built between the North Kaibab trailhead and the lodge.

The majority of money for the $8.7 million in upgrades will come from park fee collections. Public comment is being accepted until Aug. 16.

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