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Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

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Canyonram
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Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Mar 26 2012 8:11 am

Navajo Nation has announced plans for a huge commercial development on the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon Park. Plans include motel, restaurants, and a tram to take visitors down to the Colorado/Little Colorado confluence. Some of the details have been made available: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/state- ... 5b2d6.html

(If link doesn't work, web search on Arizona Daily Sun Tram objections mount)

I'd like to hear from the forum members---once again, a complex issue with no easy answers.

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friendofThundergod
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by friendofThundergod » Apr 27 2015 8:56 am

@chumley
It will be interesting to see how the new NN administration affects this project
This may answer some of those questions..

http://www.hcn.org/articles/navajo-elec ... ment-plans
“The Grand Canyon is the most protected land in the world,” David Uberuaga, the park superintendent, told The New York Times last fall. “And I still spend most of my time protecting the place. … Everybody wants to make a buck off the canyon.”

Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly is no different. While in office, he’s pushed economic development in the form of the Grand Canyon Escalade, a $1 billion proposal from a private company that would bring hotels, restaurants and shops to an undeveloped part of the rim on Navajo land, 26 miles from the nearest paved road. The piece de resistance would be a gondola that tourists could ride thousands of feet to the bottom of the canyon floor, to a place previously accessible only by launching a major expedition and guiding a rubber raft or wooden dory through 62 miles of roiling whitewater. Once there, tourists could eat at yet another swank restaurant, or enjoy an elevated “river walk” in the place where the muddy Colorado River meets the milky-blue Little Colorado. Some tribal members characterize the project as just another corporate attempt at turning ancestral land into a mini-Vegas, but the way Shelly told it, the Escalade project was practically a done deal.

Then an election worthy of a Hollywood screenplay put a kink in Shelly’s plans. Last year, Shelly came in seventh out of 17 candidates in the presidential primary. The top three contenders were former president Joe Shirley Jr.; Chris Deschene, a popular ex-Marine; and underdog Russell Begaye. The election started off innocuous enough, but then Deschene was disqualified because he purportedly wasn’t fluent in the Navajo language. A legal and cultural battle erupted, and the Navajo Nation Supreme Court removed all nine members of the Board of Election Supervisors and delayed the election by five months.

Finally, on April 21, the tribe held a special election. Begaye defeated Shirley 63 percent to 37 percent. In Bodaway Gap, the district closest to the Escalade site, he beat Shirley by more than 2 to 1. “That’s a big margin, especially when you have an unproven younger candidate against a two-term president,” notes Roger Clark, Grand Canyon program director for the Grand Canyon Trust.

Clark and other members of the nonprofit conservation group have been paying close attention to the election in part because Ben Shelly was never actually able to usher the Escalade project through the Navajo Nation Council, the tribe’s legislative arm. A new president and a new tribal council for Navajo Nation are basically the equivalent of a new Congress for the U.S., and any legislation from the previous session that didn’t become law will have to be reintroduced. The Escalade project will have to start from scratch.


The confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, the site of a proposed $1 billion development.
National Park Service
So will Begaye shepherd the controversial project through? It seems unlikely. Renae Yellowhorse, a 54-year-old grandmother and de facto leader of the Save the Confluence group, says that last year, Begaye signed a petition opposing Escalade. The same month, the president-elect responded to a question about the topic in Tuba City, Arizona: “When you talk about Escalade or any projects out there, we need to involve … the voice of the local people, rather than allowing big corporations to make those decisions,” he said. “Yes, we’re trying to create jobs, but we’re doing it in the wrong places and in the wrong way, and (Escalade) is one of those.”

“If the people say no, let it be known,” Begaye added, to uproarious cheers and applause.

The new president won’t have the power to kill the project outright, but Yellowhorse welcomes the political changes. Escalade supporters say that the gondola will allow more people (up to 10,000 a day) to experience the magic of the inner canyon, which today is visited by only a tiny fraction of the 5 million people who flock to the rim. But Yellowhorse doesn’t want hordes descending on sacred ground. “When (my grandchildren) come out here I want them to see it the same way our ancestors viewed it,” she says. “We were told by our elders that you … come here to do your prayers, you come here to feel the ground, to see the rocks, to get your medicine from the plants, to feel the wind. And then you leave it the way you found it.”

Yet Yellowhorse’s place of prayer is also a potential gold mine. She’s hopeful that the new president will work with the Park Service to permanently protect the confluence, and find other ways to bring jobs and infrastructure to one of the most beautiful — and bleak — places on Earth.

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Sredfield
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Sredfield » Apr 27 2015 6:36 pm

Let's hope . . . .
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chumley
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » May 13 2015 10:59 pm

At his inauguration yesterday, the new president signed a document expressing his support for the escalade project.
See http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2015/05/ ... vereignty/

Then today, he claimed he had not read what he was signing and has always been opposed to the project, and still is.
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation- ... 64789.html

Yikes.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » May 14 2015 6:41 am

Yeah, that's all over the Grand Canyon private boaters' social media pages. He said the outgoing prez just shoved this paper at him and he signed it. Sigh...
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Jim_H » May 14 2015 7:10 am

Maybe it was written in Navajo?
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by friendofThundergod » May 14 2015 10:35 am

@Jim_H
Well it's certainly not the first time a Native American has signed something under less than ideal pretense..

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KwaiChang
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by KwaiChang » May 14 2015 11:45 am

chumley wrote:At his inauguration yesterday, the new president signed a document expressing his support for the escalade project.
See http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2015/05/ ... vereignty/

Then today, he claimed he had not read what he was signing and has always been opposed to the project, and still is.
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation- ... 64789.html

Yikes.
Yikes indeed!!!
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big_load
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » May 14 2015 1:12 pm

A skilled politician can always have it both ways.

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by friendofThundergod » Aug 15 2016 6:21 pm

A very good read from Nat Geo, touches on the topic of development in the canyon and some great pics...
The canyon provokes two major reactions: the urge to protect it, and the temptation to make a pile of money from it
.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magaz ... -pictures/

Some interesting points from article: Strangely enough in terms of development, Native Americans seem to be the greatest threat to the canyon..For example, the NPS caps helicopter tours for the G.C. at 90 some thousand a year, but the Hulapi declined to disclose how many helicopter tours they give a year, but in a five hour time period 262 flights were documented in a five hour span and most days that number is around 450 :o Also the issue of the tramway down to the confluence is discussed, the sky walk, uranium mining, the growing numbers of boat tours and plans to turn Tusayan into a resort town with up to a thousand new homes going in and a direct easement to the canyon for its residents..
Thanks to a Federal Aviation Administration rule change requested by the Hualapai, the tribe may operate an unrestricted number of helicopter flights. These are filled with sightseers, many from Las Vegas, and fly below the canyon’s rim from sunrise to sunset. The noise they generate is so intense, and so continuous, that the area is locally known as Helicopter Alley
I am not sure how this is measured, or how true this is, but the below quote from article I found pretty cool..
Before 2015 more people had stood on the moon (12) than had completed a continuous thru-hike of the Grand Canyon (eight)
The authors attempted this, but quit after six days ;) But did give it another shot in the cooler months, first attempt was in Sept...

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KwaiChang
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by KwaiChang » Aug 16 2016 10:33 am

Good article FOTG - actually a sobering article and a bit depressing to boot. Sadly once the damage is done.......
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by friendofThundergod » Aug 16 2016 11:08 am

@Kwai Chang
Ya it was a little disheartening, probably a couple decades away from the main areas of the Canyon looking more like Niagara Falls in terms of development..but the accounts from their thru-hike were great...

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by DallinW » Aug 17 2016 8:23 am

friendofThundergod wrote:but the accounts from their thru-hike were great...
A good book you might like is The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher. I picked it up earlier this year, haven't finished it yet, but it's an account of the first continuous hike of the length of the canyon. The article names someone else as the first completer but I think that was by section.

Edit: Correction, from Wikipedia: "When Fletcher conducted the trip in 1963, the park did not encompass the entire length of the canyon; it was later expanded so it did. Fletcher thus only walked about half of the physical canyon, though he was correct in saying he was the first to walk the section of the canyon designated as a national park. Kenton Grua, a professional river guide, was the first person to walk the entire length of the Grand Canyon, in 1977. He was inspired by Fletcher's book but set out to "do it right" by walking it from end to end, not just the section inside the park."

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Aug 17 2016 9:46 am

@DallinW
Fletcher also had the benefit of air-drop resupply that wouldn't be legal today.

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friendofThundergod
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by friendofThundergod » Aug 17 2016 9:56 am

@DallinW
Someone also suggested "the Emerald Mile" written by the same guy who wrote the above Nat Geo Article..

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Tough_Boots » Aug 17 2016 10:46 am

@DallinW

Also read Grand Obsession about Harvey Butchart. Harvey gave Fletcher a lot of beta and did not think too fondly of him.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by John9L » Aug 17 2016 10:55 am

DallinW wrote: Kenton Grua, a professional river guide, was the first person to walk the entire length of the Grand Canyon, in 1977. He was inspired by Fletcher's book but set out to "do it right" by walking it from end to end, not just the section inside the park."
friendofThundergod wrote:Someone also suggested "the Emerald Mile" written by the same guy who wrote the above Nat Geo Article..
The Emerald Mile was written by Kevin Fedarko & covers a lot of Kenton Grua and talks about his thru hike of the Canyon. It's a phenomenal read! Lee I'll lend you my copy this weekend :sweat:

Tough_Boots wrote:Also read Grand Obsession about Harvey Butchart
Depending on the day of the week this is my all time favorite book! :)

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friendofThundergod
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by friendofThundergod » Aug 17 2016 11:40 am

We might have to take this topic to the "good book" thread gentlemen...this one is about development in the Canyon ;) and do bring this weekend John, I plan on being very lazy, sleep, hike, nap, book, nap, nap, eat, nap, nap some more, dinner..lol

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KwaiChang
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by KwaiChang » Aug 19 2016 9:08 am

friendofThundergod wrote:@Kwai Chang
Ya it was a little disheartening, probably a couple decades away from the main areas of the Canyon looking more like Niagara Falls in terms of development..but the accounts from their thru-hike were great...
:scared: :scared: :scared: OMG Niagara Falls!!! I currently live less than 1.5 hours from there and in the 25 years I have been here I have seen it go from bad to really really bad in terms of development. As soon as the Casino's (Indian Tribe) went it everything quadrupled in size and scope. The Falls - a very majestic sight to behold are now an after thought at best.

It saddens me to think that the Canyon is indeed heading this direction. In only 10 years the South Rim has grown in size - that abortion of the new lodge/sales center sickens me. Obviously someone is making $$$$. :o :o

Hopefully someone will realize what the potential nightmare will be - altho I doubt it highly. Methinks the Tribes should be shown Niagara Falls today and then think hard about it. Some dumb fools with rush in with dollar signs in their eyes - sad very sad indeed. :( Insert Crying Indian from the early 70's commercial here.......

PS - just ordered up The Emerald Mile!
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chumley
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Grand Canyon Escalade

Post by chumley » Aug 31 2016 9:56 am

A bill was introduced on Monday evening 8/29 to move this project forward.
0293-16_summary.pdf
Summary of bill
(163.2 KiB) Downloaded 1780 times
0293-16_full.pdf
Full text of bill
(5.5 MiB) Downloaded 996 times
5-day comment period ends September 3 at 5pm
Comment Period Contact Information:
Email:
comments@navajo-nsn.gov

Mail:
Executive Director, Office of Legislative Services
PO Box 3390
Window Rock, AZ 86515

Fax:
928-871-7259

Comments must include your email address. Anonymous comments will not be considered.

Information FOR: http://www.grandcanyonescalade.com
Information AGAINST: http://www.savetheconfluence.com
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 31 2016 10:26 am

Thanks for posting this. I haven't had the energy to put together the post. Now I want to get my letter in by Friday.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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