Every day from before dawn until around midnight, a staff of thousands unites to keep the Grand Canyon in good condition and its 4.4 million annual visitors safe. NPR travels to the iconic destination to see how it works. "I hope that you are not imagining a pony ride at Disneyland," warns a mule manager about the steep trip down the canyon.
Indeed, only 1% of visitors make the mile-plus trip to the bottom, where temperatures reach 110 degrees. Staffers patrol crowded roads and lead search-and-rescue missions. "We get a lot of people who are unprepared for the elements, who don't go in with enough water, enough food or enough preplanning to know how hot it's gonna be," says one ranger.