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Grand Canyon trails to benefit from endowment

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Arizona’s largest public utility has created an endowment to benefit trails at the Grand Canyon.

Arizona Public Service Company has donated $1 million to partner with the National Park Service on the Grand Canyon Trails Forever Endowment.

Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said the money will help reduce a backlog of trail maintenance that has topped $40 million.

The Grand Canyon has hundreds of miles of trails but some are more popular than others. Those include the Bright Angel, South and North Kaibab and River trails. Uberuaga said most trails get repaired on an emergency basis.

About $350,000 of the money has already been used to renovate the Bright Angel Trailhead. APS President Don Brandt said Bright Angel was an absolute mess.

“The Bright Angel Trailhead was porta-potties in a state of disrepair,” he said.

Grand Canyon Association Director Susan Schroeder said that is all changed now.

“The porta-potties are gone,” she said. “They do have wonderful, clean, flush toilets now at the top of Bright Angel Trailhead.”

There have also been improvements to the parking lot and some structures have been built to provide shade.

Schroeder said that the endowment will help the canyon now and in the future.

“We will be able to spin off money consistently every year to the park,” she said. “That is why we are going to be looking at adding (more money) to that endowment.”

They hope to do that soliciting future donations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.