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Tusayan Town Council Considers a Name Change

The Town of Tusayan near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is considering changing its name. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the driving force behind the plan is marketing the town to tourists.

At last week’s town council meeting, Mayor Greg Bryan said Tusayan is often confused with Tucson. He claimed this has an adverse effect on the town’s economy and identity. According to the Grand Canyon News, one of the possibilities proposed at the meeting was to change the name to The Town of Grand Canyon. Tusayan is less than seven miles from the South Rim and its economy depends almost exclusively on tourism from the national park.

There were objections, however, to renaming the town. Critics cited Tusayan’s history and the potentially high costs associated with a name change. Tusayan is one of Arizona’s smallest towns with a population of less than 600.

The Tusayan Town Council will hold a community meeting regarding the proposal.  They could also vote to include the name change on the August ballot.

Tusayan received national media attention for advocating to keep Grand Canyon National Park open during last fall’s government shutdown. The town is also the site of a large development project that has been highly controversial.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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