Toyota donation supports Grand Canyon National Park

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK — Toyota is providing $500,000 and five hybrid vehicles to the Grand Canyon Association to support a number of environmental, education and safety programs for visitors to the park and high school students across the country.

This donation is part of a $5 million contribution from Toyota in support of five national parks and the National Park Foundation to enhance environmental leadership and educational programs at parks around the country. The company is also donating a total of 23 vehicles to the national parks.

"Toyota's philanthropic support makes more resources available to the youth of this country and ensure the future stewardship of Grand Canyon National Park and other public lands," said Susan Schroeder, executive director of the Grand Canyon Association, the official fundraising partner of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park will use Toyota's contribution to expand the park's Preventative Search and Rescue Program to the North Rim. This program ensures visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience at the park. On the South Rim alone, this program can reach up to 1,200 hikers each day.

A majority of the funds will be used to support the Grand Canyon's Environmental Education (GCEE) program, which will offer travel grants to schools in inner-cities, rural counties and Indian reservations to enable the groups to bring their students to the park. Also as part of GCEE, cold weather gear will be purchased to loan to students visiting in the late fall and winter, expanding the timeframe when schools can visit the park.

Other education programs funded by Toyota's contribution include a school resource ranger to be on the grounds of the Grand Canyon School each school day; adding three horses for the use of mounted rangers; and strengthening the Rim to River stewardship development program, which is available to high school students from across the country and supports the Department of the Interior's No Child Left Inside Initiative.

"The partnership with Grand Canyon National Park is a great opportunity for Toyota to extend its environmental and educational community-based programs," said Michael Rouse, vice president, philanthropy and community affairs, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "We are proud to partner with such an iconic national park to develop and offer programs that inspire the youth of the nation."

In addition to the monetary contribution, Toyota will donate five hybrid vehicles — two Prius and three Highlander Hybrids — to Grand Canyon National Park. The vehicles will be used to support the Toyota fund programs as well as various other initiatives throughout the park.

"Toyota has become a champion of national parks through their generosity and leadership in environmental initiatives," said Steve Martin, Grand Canyon National Park superintendent. "Their donation of five fuel-saving vehicles helps to support the National Park Service mission and promotes a positive course to a cleaner, more environmentally responsible future."

Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 277 miles of the world-famous Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and includes adjacent uplands from the southern terminus of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the eastern boundary of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The canyon itself is almost a mile deep and is 18 miles across at its widest point. Here the forces of erosion have exposed an immense variety of formations which illustrate vast periods of geological history. Human history is also preserved here, with archeological sites and artifacts revealing continuous occupation of the canyon for at least 10,000 years.

The park contains six vegetation formations which contribute to an amazing diversity of life, including 538 documented mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian species and 1750 vascular plant species. The park also contains critical and fragile riparian resources.

Grand Canyon National Park was originally established as a forest reserve in 1893. It was then designated a national monument in 1908, and finally achieved national park status in 1919.

Today, the park receives approximately 4.5 million visitors each year, making it the second most visited national park and the most visited destination park in the nation.

For more information on Toyota's philanthropy and community affairs programs, visit their Web site, www.toyota.com/community.