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President And First Family Visit Grand Canyon

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avatar President And First Family Visit Grand Canyon
September 01, 2009 11:41AM
Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
President And First Family Visit Grand Canyon

Taking a break from their normally busy schedules, President Barack Obama and the First Family stopped for a quick visit to Grand Canyon National Park on Sunday, August 16th. Since no public appearances or statements were made during their stay in the park, they actually had a chance to relax and enjoy some the many outstanding natural and cultural features that the Grand Canyon has to offer.

The President was joined on the visit by his wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha and other family relatives, along with their support staff.

The NPS Central Incident Management Team under the command of Eddie Lopez (superintendent of Bryce Canyon NP) was brought in by the park a week before the President’s arrival to coordinate the logistical, operational, planning, informational and financial aspects of the event. During that time, they worked very closely with the park, White House, and Secret Service staffs to ensure that the President’s visit was enjoyable and above all safe.

The President’s plane, Air Force One, arrived at the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan at 10 a.m. that Sunday morning. A clear blue sky, light breezes and temperatures in the low eighties greeted them. A waiting motorcade whisked the First Family and support staff from the airport to the park. Hundreds of people lined the roadway both in the community of Tusayan and inside the park to try and get a look at the President. Most of the visitors to the park were aware of his visit and were excited to be a part of it. There were very few complaints of area closures or road delays. Many foreign visitors stated that this was the highlight of their vacation.

The first stop for the First Family was Powell Point on the Hermits Rest Road, where they got their first view of the canyon. This was not the President’s first visit to the Grand Canyon, though. He had traveled there with his family when he was 11 years old.

The First Family then hiked a short distance to Hopi Point, where members of the national press corps who travel with the President were given the only opportunity they had that day to photograph them in the park. They also made a stop at Mojave Point, where there was a brief opportunity for the President to meet and mingle with some the park and support staff.

Interpretive rangers were made available at each of the First Family’s stops to discuss some of the park resources. They were also accompanied by superintendent Steve Martin and other park staff during their time in the park. The last stop for the First Family was at Hermit’s Rest, where they enjoyed a picnic lunch before they left the park in their motorcade back to Grand Canyon Airport.

With that, the President and first family ended what was a very enjoyable and hopefully relaxing.
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