On November 9, 2019 the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center held a ceremony to celebrate the launch of their new emission-free shuttle, known as the Crawler. Five shuttles were purchased with the help of Tucson Electric Power Company through a generous donation and an interest free loan. Guests at the event were treated to a ride through the Canyon in one of the open-air shuttles. The Crawlers create less noise and air pollution within the park than the dated diesel gas shuttles. The new vehicles will eliminate 15,000 gallons of gasoline each month and minimize the carbon monoxide emissions footprint by 400,000 pounds.
GLHN partnered with PAG and the Regional Partnering Center to help design the site layout, vehicle circulation within the site and electrical power and lighting work for the Vehicle Maintenance Facility. Due to the tight site, numerous layouts were explored to find the optimal configuration. To minimize the impact to the Forest Service land, all new work needed to be easily transportable should they need to be moved and the site reclaimed. Keeping it simple was a necessity! The selection of shipping containers for storage of equipment and parts made good sense due to their durability and ease of relocating. A lightweight canopy spans the shipping containers providing a shaded area for vehicle maintenance.
This project has been in the making since 2017 with community leaders Martha McSally, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Paul Grijalva providing support for the new electric vehicles that provide a quieter and more enjoyable transportation option within the Canyon.