ALL HIKERS

HISTORICAL FIGURES

RALPH CAMERON
(1863-1953)


Grand Canyon
National Park
Museum Collection

From many standpoints, Ralph Cameron was a scoundrel.  And although Cameron may well have lacked an appreciation for the principled life, he was a successful early Canyon entrepreneur of great influence at the canyon during his lifetime, and he continues to influence the South Rim experience for visitors today.


Arizona Historical
Society

In 1890-91, Cameron helped build the "Bright Angel Toll Road" to Indian Garden, today's Bright Angel Trail.  By 1901, Cameron controlled access to Grand Canyon's principle rim-to-river trail.  To cement his hold on the property, Cameron filed multiple mining claims up and down the trail, as well as along the rim, legal maneuvers that led to numerous court battles with many other canyon stakeholders.

Cameron was later elected to the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate, and he used his political power to further his economic interests at the Grand Canyon and to "pay back" entities that had rankled him, including the National Park Service.  It took a U. S. Supreme Court decision in 1920 to invalidate his claims, eventually resulting in the land and trails transferring to the National Park Service.  Ralph Cameron is buried in the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery.

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

MAIN INDEX | BACK TO HISTORICAL FIGURES

Copyright Richard M. Perry, 2004-2017.  All rights reserved. This web site, its text, and pictures may not be copied without the express written consent of Richard M. Perry.