First Lady Bush Rafts Grand Canyon

First Lady to Raft Colorado River
By Arizona Daily Sun Staff

First lady Laura Bush will visit northern Arizona today on an unannounced trip to the Grand Canyon. [Mrs.] Bush is planning a rafting trip on the Colorado River with friends and will later hike out, several sources said.

Secret Service agents were spotted around the park last week. Local law enforcement agencies will be providing any additional security and transportation needs the first lady might have.

The Park Service, superintendent of the Grand Canyon and Bush's media staff would neither confirm nor deny any visit, nor would the White House provide Bush's public schedule for the coming week.

Park employees have been told not to acknowledge that they know anything about the visit. There are no public events planned at the Grand Canyon, the White House said.

The first lady has rafted the Grand Canyon before with childhood friends, according to published reports. During a talk on national parks in 2003, Bush was asked a question about whether business activity in national parks was increasing.

She responded with a specific opinion on the canyon's policy.

"I know that certainly the Grand Canyon is very, very strict, if you go on a river trip through the Colorado River and hike out, on the number of outfitters that can be there," she said.