Grand Canyon National Park Ranger Gets Awarded

Elyssa Shalla, a Park Ranger at Grand Canyon Park, has been picked as the recipient of the 2018 National Freeman Tilden Award.

Shalla was the recipient of the Intermountain West Region 2018 Freeman Tilden Award and competed against several other regional award winners for the national award. Shalla was presented with the award on Nov. 29 at the National Association for Interpretation Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Shalla was specifically chosen for the National Freeman Tilden Award in recognition of the “Towers & Type” program she created at Grand Canyon National Park. The program is an excellent example of an audience-centered experience (ACE). For this particular program, a typewriter was set up for three days at Plateau Point, which is located near Indian Garden, near the South Rim of the park. Plateau Point offers a well-known scenic view, and requires a 12-mile round trip hike. Due to its remoteness, visitors along this trail do not usually have the opportunity to connect with park staff or other visitors.

The typewriter was placed where visitors could share their thoughts. After three days, 76 entries were found on the typewriter. These stories were digitized and an Adobe Spark page was created so that the ACE pop-up could be captured and shared beyond its instillation. This project has provided for a meaningful visitor experience, as well as inspired and motivated Shalla’s peers.

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Shalla has worked for the National Park Service for eight years. She started her career as a volunteer in Grand Canyon before moving on to become a Park Guide in 2010 and a Park Ranger in 2014.

For more information on this project, please visit