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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cactuscat
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by cactuscat » Nov 30 2012 6:16 pm

hikeaz wrote:As against this moving forward as I am, I don't think that the Navajos are doing anything that Xanterra (or any other concessionaire) would not do, given the chance.
I can't speak for Xanterra, but my company - DNC - is very committed to protecting the environment and preserving the wild places in which we are so fortunate to work and live. I am very proud of them for this.
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chumley
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » May 09 2013 11:06 am

I was just reading more on this. It is alive and well. The official name is the Grand Canyon Escalade. Check out the development website for more details. http://grandcanyonescalade.com/

One of the groups fighting it is the Grand Canyon River Rafters. I do find it interesting that virtually ALL rafters (20,000+/year) stop at the confluence and hike upstream and swim in the LCR but they don't want to allow others to access it (how much do most people pay for a rafting trip $2000-$3000+?).

The confluence itself is the sacred site, and it is already being "desecrated" by rafters each and every day. Which apparently might be morally ok, except that the tribe isn't getting any of the money from the rafters that stop there!?

It is certainly more complex than it appears on the surface. Economic development for a tribal community offering income and jobs to a poor population through tourist revenue is not necessarily a bad thing, is it?

I personally would hate to see it happen. But if it does, I wouldn't rule out paying the $40 for a tram ride to the bottom sometime, bringing my mom and dad, or somebody who would otherwise never have the opportunity to see the canyon from that perspective.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » May 09 2013 11:40 am

The rafters leave footprints. The tram will leave scars on the Canyon walls which in a million years paleontologists will wonder about--if there are any paleontologists a million years from now.

Also, most of the foot traffic from the rafters is in the summer. In winter the place is almost deserted for several months. In fall and spring there are also far fewer. There is no overnight camping allowed there. So, although many people visit the place every year, at this time their impact is felt as little as possible.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » May 09 2013 1:39 pm

Not all the opposition is from rafters either. Many of the Navajo families that live near the rim in the Gap/Bodaway chapter are opposed to the plan as well.
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Jim_H
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Jim_H » May 09 2013 3:11 pm

I expect the actual economic input for the locals will be slim, but the resentment of most local with the increased traffic, the increased presence of outsiders, the increased in-your-face conspicuous consumption of some tourists, and the benefit to certain politically well connected tribal members will be greatly increased. I didn't write the Black Mesa hike description, but one person I worked with has continued to "stalk" me on this site by posting angry comments directed either at me, or the site members, telling people not to hike Black Mesa Navajo County Highpoint. One as recently as 2 weeks ago. She has people hiking in relatively close proximity to her trailer, and blames me and HAZ for this, despite people knowing of the trail for yeas before I arrived. People out there do not like people who are not like them. I had 3 separate occasions of 3 separate people coming along side of me in their car or truck, to tell me, "you don't want to be out here", when I was either walking a dirt road near my house, riding my bike to the diversion dam from my house with my neighbors dogs in tow, or hiking to BM from my house in Kayenta. They always started with, "are you lost?", despite my being in plain view of Kayenta and usually about 1 to 2 miles from the 160/ 163 junction. Point is, unless an individual sees direct benefit to themselves, their immediate family, or their known clan members, the local Navajo are probably not going to enjoy more Bellagonna coming out to visit. So, I expect this is quite possible to not be a popular project.

Therefore, I say build the hell out of it. Or, not. I don't really care, but it is probably a stupid a thing to waste resources on, if water lines, roads, and all the other infrastructure are put in to access the location.
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KwaiChang
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by KwaiChang » Jun 07 2013 8:40 am

azbackpackr wrote:The only consolation in something like that, and in something like the Sacred Toilet Seat attraction elsewhere (you can guess what I'm talking about) the only real consolation is that long after the human race is gone, Grand Canyon will still be there, eroding away the rocks and the ancient ruins of civilizations long past...
Well said Liz - when we are dust and bones - the canyon will take care of itself - until then tho - we need to prevent shenanigans like this. I am not privy (sorry) to the toilet seat joke however.....
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PLC92084
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by PLC92084 » Jun 07 2013 10:51 am

@Kwai ChangI think Liz is referring to this:

(Could be wrong but that's how I look at it...)
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azbackpackr
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 07 2013 11:32 am

Yup. It's a river runner thing. You see it from underneath when you look up that side canyon.
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KwaiChang
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by KwaiChang » Jun 08 2013 2:16 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Yup. It's a river runner thing. You see it from underneath when you look up that side canyon.
Got it - pretty funny!!!
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Alston_Neal
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Alston_Neal » Jul 14 2014 12:12 pm

Gather around all you elitist hikers..

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/grand-can ... e-at-risk/
In Japan they say only old people and crazy people hike mountains...........yep


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Jim_H
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Jim_H » Jul 14 2014 12:34 pm

Wow, talk about bad graphics and I think bad reporting. The map zooms on the western rim out by the Havasupai, not the Navajo lands, when the story talks about the gondola. Also, I never heard any Navajo say the Little Colorado and Colorado confluence was sacred. The Hopi, maybe, but the Navajo generally have no opinions on the canyon.

As far as the developer, super human eye sight at 8 miles? Doubtful. Who hasn't seen further with a straight line of sight? Depending on how large the structures are, they will be visible. Hotels will be visible, for sure.
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big_load
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Jul 14 2014 12:58 pm

Jim_H wrote:... but the Navajo generally have no opinions on the canyon.
I saw a fair number of anti-development signs on the rez. I don't think the objection is necessarily rooted in traditional religious beliefs; it could be based on community or personal values of other types. They could be the same reasons that anyone else might object.

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Jim_H
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Jim_H » Jul 14 2014 1:01 pm

big_load wrote:
Jim_H wrote:... but the Navajo generally have no opinions on the canyon.
I saw a fair number of anti-development signs on the rez. I don't think the objection is necessarily rooted in traditional religious beliefs; it could be based on community or personal values of other types. They could be the same reasons that anyone else might object.
Well, it has been almost 2 years since I was out there, up there, over there, what ever. I last was on the Rez when I moved off of it in mid-October of 2012, so that is a long time for this project. Most Navajo i used to know or speak to, never said anything about the Canyon. The San Francisco Peaks, oh yeah. Now, the Hopi, who believe they came from the Canyon, they are different.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Jul 14 2014 1:07 pm

The most common slogan is "Protect the Confluence". Of course I have no way of knowing the affiliations of those displaying signs, but I wasn't anywhere that I thought had much Hopi representation.

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RowdyandMe
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by RowdyandMe » Jul 14 2014 4:27 pm

As a Native American, I would say its all about money. The reason the new casino hasn't went in on the west side yet is that two other tribes are afraid of losing business and employees. I not sure on the numbers but I believe its over 7 million dollars and counting.
So you can see it has nothing to do with historic values just cash flow.
This is my own personal opinion.
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chumley
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Apr 22 2015 11:02 am

Yesterday, the Navajo Nation (NN) elected a new president, Russell Begaye.

Previous negotiations with Confluence Partners had taken place with current president Ben Shelly, who entered into the initial agreement to explore development of the Escalade project.

As I understand it, the Bodeway-Gap district publicly voted in favor of the project, winning by 7 votes (though by 55% to 45% since only 109 votes were tallied). As far as I know, no public vote has taken place across the entire NN, nor has the elected government voted on the project.

I am unaware of any specific statements by the newly elected president regarding the Escalade development, but he is a former businessman, and ran on a platform that emphasized bringing businesses to the reservation, creating jobs, and updating infrastructure.

It will be interesting to see how the new NN administration affects this project.

As much as the rest of the world might want to have input on it, this is a decision that will be made by the NN and the financiers of Confluence Partners. All the online petitions and hashtag activism on Facebook are pointless since the NPS, Arizona and US Governments have exactly zero input or regulatory control over it. It's a Navajo project on their sovereign land. It will be their decision to make.

Interesting days ahead...

More information (both sides):
http://grandcanyonescalade.com/
http://savetheconfluence.com/
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big_load
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Apr 22 2015 7:12 pm

@chumley I heard the news on the radio this morning, and was very surprised that they didn't comment on the possible relevance of the election to the tram project.

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nonot
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by nonot » Apr 22 2015 8:09 pm

@chumley

Agree with everything you state except the subject of the tramway. The boundary between the national park and the NN is not clear. While they can build all the malls, skywalks, casinos, and hotels they want on the rim, it is not clear whether the land ownership clearly permits the building of the tramway down into the canyon.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Apr 22 2015 11:45 pm

@nonot
I'd like to believe that. And I'm sure there will be lawsuits if it comes to it. While I haven't fully researched this, I've yet to read anything that doesn't define the boundary as the Colorado's high-water mark on the east side of the canyon.

I think the NPS is trying to argue that they are not permitted to develop right to the boundary, but I'd be interested in reading about where the boundary is if it's not the river's edge. I don't think anybody is arguing that it's up on the rim? Is there some arbitrary distance from the river where the boundary is? Is there an argument as to where the high-water mark is?
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nonot
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by nonot » Apr 23 2015 6:45 pm

I haven't done intense research either but my understanding is that some seem to think the boundary is the rim, and doesn't include the slope. I know that with the Havasupai, for example, in the area of the great thumb the boundary is defined 300 yards or so back from the rim, and the Havasupai nation doesn't own the land right on the edge of the rim. So it seems at least plausible to me that the boundary could not necessarily be the river/high water mark with the Navajo, and may even vary in different portions.
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