Of the dozen people who have made the treacherous 750-mile hike, two are National Geographic journalists Pete McBride and Kevin Fedarko. Between October 2015 and September of the following year, McBride and Fedarko completed a sectional thru-hike - breaking the entire trek into a chain of separate hikes along the length of the canyon - of one of North America's most iconic and treacherous landscapes.
The two will be speaking Monday at the Newmark Theater about their treks.
National Geographic Live - Between the River and Rim: Hiking the Grand Canyon
Feb. 19, 2018. 7:30pm
They didn't do it just for kicks or bragging rights. The duo used their expedition to investigate reports about proposed commercial and industrial developments that would seriously endanger the canyon's future.
"It’s a look at this iconic national park and a showcase that it's more fragile than we think it is," said McBride, a photographer and filmmaker for National Geographic. "If we can't protect the Grand Canyon, what can we protect?"
McBride and Fedarko said that they are telling the story of their hike in order to raise awareness about what exactly these developments are, and what is at stake should they be pushed through.
"The underlying, and ultimately the far more important, reason behind the project was to use our journey to examine and raise awareness about a whole host of threats that loom over Grand Canyon National Park," said Fedarko, author and part-time river guide on the Colorado River. "They threaten to undermine the integrity of the landscape itself. The Grand Canyon is a bell weather for the rest of the national park system, and for public lands in general."
Both journalists believe that the exploitation of land and resources in the Grand Canyon for human profit is symbolic of what is happening to public lands and national parks on a national scale. They don't see it as an isolated issue.
"By virtue of the fact that its so well-known, the Grand Canyon sets precedent. Whatever happens inside the canyon - whether its good, bad, or indifferent - tends to reverberate throughout the national parks system and public lands systems," said Fedarko.
Join McBride and Fedarko to learn about the butterfly effect of over-developing natural lands, ways to ethically engage with these national parks, and what we lose if we lose the Grand Canyon.
Their talk, and the hike itself, is sponsored by the Grand Canyon Trust - a grassroots conservation organization seeking to restore and protect the Colorado Plateau.