Skywalk: Engineering Marvel or Tourist Trap?


David Jin, a Chinese package tour operator, came up with the idea for the walkway nine years ago and has bankrolled it with unnamed investors. Jin has declined interviews until after Skywalk opens. The tribe will receive "royalties" at first and eventually take over complete financial control.

It will take a lot of $25 admission fees to recoup costs but Bravo is confident.

"I'm a gambler. My money is on Skywalk," he said. "My money is on the Hualapai nation. My money is on our people."

To get to the attraction, which will be inaugurated by astronaut Buzz Aldrin Tuesday and open to the public on March 28, be prepared for some rough roads -- 14 miles of the two-and-a-half hour trip from Las Vegas is on washboard dirt roads until the tribe finishes paving it. And it's dusty.

Is the view worth it?

The reality is you can hang over the Grand Canyon even in the more picturesque Grand Canyon National Park. But don't count on the park copying the Hualapai.

"I can't imagine we would ever allow that sort of development here," said Chuck Wahler, supervising park ranger. "It is land that is part of the Grand Canyon but not part of Grand Canyon National Park, so we obviously don't have any say over it. I certainly wish them well."

If the attraction succeeds, there are plans to add more tourist facilities at Grand Canyon West. On the drawing board: A gondola that would whisk visitors from the rim down to the floor of the canyon and back.

"Kind of getting like Disneyland, isn't it?" said one tourist as she looked at the pink-colored platform glistening in the noontime sun.

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