Edwin D.
"Eddie" McKee
Cline Library, NAU

With movie star looks but a mind dedicated to science rather than celebrity, Eddie McKee ascended to the position of park naturalist under the worst possible conditions:  his predecessor, Glen Sturdevant, drowned in February, 1929, while trying to cross the Colorado River above Horn Creek Rapids.  Despite the tragedy, McKee took quickly to the job, establishing such modern day Grand Canyon staples as ranger talks, nature walks along the rims, interpretative signs, and educational pamphlets.

Edwin McKee
Grand Canyon
National Park
Museum Collection

A geologist by training, McKee wrote such landmark works as Ancient Landscapes of the Grand Canyon Region, first published in 1931, and numerous scientific papers on the geology and natural history of the Grand Canyon.  McKee also served as the first executive secretary of the Grand Canyon Natural History Association (today's Grand Canyon Association), founded in 1932, spearheading the fledgling organization's efforts to help fund interpretation, education, and research at the Grand Canyon, roles the association continues to fulfill today.  McKee left the Grand Canyon in 1940 and worked for many years as a professor of geology at the University of Arizona.  After his death in 1984, McKee was laid to rest in the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery.

Source material for this story: 2006 Grand Canyon National Park Calendar printed by the Grand Canyon Association.


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