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  1. #1
    Keith Guest

    Default The Grand Canyon Skywalk

    Tribe set to open Grand Canyon Skywalk

    HUALAPAI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. (AP) — Visitors who have marveled at the Grand Canyon's vistas will now have a dizzying new option: a glass-bottom observation deck allowing them to gaze into the chasm beneath their feet.

    The Skywalk, which will be unveiled Tuesday, is being touted as an engineering marvel. The glass-and-steel horseshoe extends 70 feet beyond the canyon's edge with no visible supports above or below.

    For $25 plus other fees, people will be able to see 4,000 feet straight down to the canyon floor, a vantage point more than twice as high as the world's tallest buildings.

    Hualapai Indians, who live near the rim about 90 miles west of the national park, allowed a Las Vegas developer to build the $30 million Skywalk in hopes of creating a unique attraction on their side of the canyon.

    Tribal leaders are betting that people will flock here, braving the rugged terrain — including a twisty ride through unpaved roads — to walk its transparent surface.

    The Skywalk, they hope, will become the centerpiece of a budding tourism industry that includes helicopter tours, river rafting, a cowboy town and a museum of Indian replica homes.

    It's scheduled to open to the public on March 28.

    The Skywalk has sparked debate on and off the reservation. Many Hualapai (pronounced WALL-uh-pie) worry about disturbing nearby burial sites, and environmentalists have blamed the tribe for transforming the majestic canyon into a tourist trap.

    Hualapai leaders say they weighed those concerns for years before agreeing to build the Skywalk. With a third of the tribe's 2,200 members living in poverty, the tribal government decided it needs the tourism dollars.

    "When we have so much poverty and so much unemployment, we have to do something," said Sheri Yellowhawk, a former tribal councilwoman overseeing the project. "It sounded like a good idea."

    Las Vegas businessman David Jin fronted the money to build the Skywalk. Yellowhawk said Jin will give it to the Hualapai in exchange for a cut of the profits.

    Construction crews spent two years building the Skywalk. They drilled steel anchors 46 feet into the limestone rim to hold the deck in place. Earlier this month, they welded the Skywalk to the anchors after pushing it past the edge using four tractor trailers and an elaborate system of pulleys.

    Architect Mark Johnson said the Skywalk will support the weight of a few hundred people and withstand canyon winds of 100 mph. The observation deck has been embedded with shock absorbers to keep it from wobbling like a diving board as people walk on it.

    Hualapai leaders were to be the first to set foot on the Skywalk on Tuesday. They've hired former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and John Herrington to join them. The astronauts were expected to help christen the deck during a brief ceremony.

    Herrington was chosen in part because he's a registered Chickasaw Indian. Aldrin said he agreed to attend after reading about the project. And, as the Apollo 11 astronaut famous for walking on the moon, Aldrin said he has no fear of heights.




    If you can't see this picture, then click on the link below.

    http://images.usatoday.com/news/_pho...yonx-large.jpg

    I think I will pass on this glass bottom Skywalk. If I can't see cables holding it up, then I ain't gettin' on it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Grand Canyon Skywalk

    I'm with you, Keith. You couldn't PAY me to go on that thing, let alone get me to PAY $25 for "the privilege" of checking it out.

    My knees are getting wobbly just thinking about it...

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Grand Canyon Skywalk

    Oh hellz no!

  4. Default Re: The Grand Canyon Skywalk

    Ditto... I'd rather die!

    In fact, just looking at that picture is giving me an anxiety attack...

    Honestly, in my life I've never been afraid of heights.. until I went to Yosemite with my young kids.. all of the sudden, they leaned over a little too much for comfort and I thought I was going to faint. Even though I was holding them as tight as I could.. I freaked out.. I just knew one of them was going off the cliff... sort of a strange scary incident for me.. so this glass thing is a definite no-no for me.
    " You've Been Thunder Struck ! "

  5. Default Re: The Grand Canyon Skywalk

    double-dog ditto!
    Just watching other people walk on it makes my blood pressure rise. Ugh!
    Unions - the folks who brought you weekends!
    Proud Army Veteran's Mom

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