Been to Grand Canyon’s Skywalk lately? More and more people are answering “yes” to that question these days. As a result, a private ranch owner in Arizona decided to charge visitors a road fee to cross a section of his ranch in order to get to this attraction. Property owner, Nigel Turner calls it an admission fee. The $20 admission fee also includes a rodeo show and other ranch events.
According to Turner, his property endures abuse from daily Grand Canyon tours or personal vehicles traveling on his property. While that may be the case, the Hualapai Indian tribe – which manages the Grand Canyon Skywalk – finds the fee immoral and potentially illegal.
Turner’s staff began charging the fee on Memorial Day weekend which is considered one of the busiest travel weekends in the country. At least 20 tribal members were protesting the toll. A tribe member issued a written statement saying that the fee makes Turner appear mean-spirited and for sure harms tourism throughout the County.
Some 5 million people indulge in a Grand Canyon vacation each year; most of them head to the Grand Canyon South Rim, while nearly 700,000 people visit the west side of the Grand Canyon. The Skywalk, which is the Canyon’s biggest attraction, is a glass –bottom bridge that extends out 70 feet from the country’s oldest rock formations.
Turner commented that his attorney took care of the matter by explaining to several officials in Arizona that the road, indeed, was private. Turner also said he is not going to charge a fee for law enforcement, emergency vehicles, or tribal members. However, the tribe insists that the road is not a private road and reminds officials that in 2008, Turner received a $750,000 settlement to shelve his claim and make way for future construction.
Are you willing to shell out $20 to use a road? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about Mr. Turner’s “admission fee.”