Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Something I'll never experience

One of the most spectacular tourist attractions in the world opened today, and it's one that I will never experience.

The Grand Canyon Skywalk has a glass floor that protrudes 70 feet past the rim of the canyon and 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Those three facts are precisely why I will never be on it. I have a hard enough time with the Pinnacle Overlook at Cumberland Gap, and that's on solid ground with a concrete floor. I can't imagine standing on a four-inch slab of glass and staring straight down the maw of the Grand Canyon.

Hopefully others won't be as squeamish about the view as I am. The Skywalk could provide a much-needed boost to the Hualapai American Indian tribe. The tribe now suffers from crushing poverty and a 50 percent unemployment rate. It's leaders allowed a Las Vegas businessman to build the $30-million Skywalk in hopes that it will attract tourists -- and money -- to their home 90 miles west of Grand Canyon National Park. Construction of the attraction at the canyon, which the Hualapai consider sacred, was not without controversy. Let's hope the return is worth the compromise.

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