Community News

Grand Canyon Railway to Apply Herbicide within Grand Canyon National Park

April 4, 2018

Grand Canyon, AZ- Between April 4 and 6, 2018, Grand Canyon Railway, in consultation with the National Park Service (NPS), will apply herbicide along the railroad tracks including those within Grand Canyon National Park. The purpose of this application is to inhibit the growth of vegetation adjacent to the railroad tracks, lowering the risk of train wheel sparks igniting a fire. Once the treatment is completed, this area will also act as a fire break for any fires originating elsewhere in the park.

In addition to reducing fire hazards, this herbicide application will aid in the fight against invasive plant species in the park. The railroad tracks create an environment of disturbance that encourages the spread of invasive plants. Currently, more than 30 non-native species are found in close proximity to the railroad tracks. This treatment will not only help reduce the number of invasive plants found in the area, but will also help reduce the transportation of seeds and plant parts that spread these species.
The herbicide being used for this project is Landmark®, which is a broad spectrum herbicide. This herbicide works through inhibiting plant specific enzymes necessary for healthy plant growth. The herbicide will kill live vegetation, will break down quickly once applied, and will provide pre-emergence control. Landmark® is rated low in toxicity.

Weather permitting, the railroad tracks within the park will be treated on April 4th, with rain dates of the 5th, and 6th using a 16-foot boom sprayer. The project will be paid for and implemented by Grand Canyon Railway. Signs will be posted along pedestrian areas to notify residents and visitors of the application.

In spring of 2009, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for implementation of the park's Exotic Plant Management Plan. A Finding of No Significant Impact was signed by the Regional Director in July of 2009. The EA identifies the need to use an integrated approach to exotic plant management, which includes the use of herbicides. It also stresses the necessity for collaboration such as this joint effort between the NPS and Grand Canyon Railway.
For more information, please contact Cam Prophet, Grand Canyon National Park Invasive Plants Crew Lead, at 928-638-7734 or Morgan O'Connor, Director of Environmental Affairs with Xanterra Travel Collection /Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel at 928-699-3359.