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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cw50must
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by cw50must » Aug 31 2016 2:35 pm

wow, 5 day period, that seems short. I'll get on it. I saw it showing up on social media last night but I missed that Friday deadline.

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 10 2016 1:27 pm

Update. A couple of my friends went to the first committee meeting, the Law and Order Committee of the Navajo Tribal Council, held today at Twin Arrows Casino. My friends reported that it was a very emotional meeting. They said that even though half the meeting was conducted in the Navajo language they could tell how the committee members felt. The committee then voted 4 opposed and 0 for the project. The council members particularly mentioned about the fact that the Tribal Council had received about 66,000 letters against the project, and only 319 in favor of it.

Three more committees to go, and then it goes to the full Tribal Council.

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Oct 10 2016 7:06 pm

I'm more optimistic than I was a before reading that.

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by RowdyandMe » Oct 10 2016 8:30 pm

Well this is one tribe that doesn't get the payouts that other tribes do. So I have to wonder will it happen for payout money.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 11 2016 6:09 am

@Widowmaker
Pay outs? You mean like those tribal welfare-like payments some tribes get? I think that's an unrelated topic.

The developer is asking the Navajo Nation to build the road, power and water lines into the area, and to maintain them. (There is no easy way to get water to that area, and the road would be about 20 miles long.) The cost of that is supposedly going to be $65 million or more, just for the initial outlay, for which the tribe would have to take out a loan.

The Scottsdale developer would end up with about 95% of the profits. The remaining profits going to the tribe would not be enough to make the payments on the loan they'd have to get. It is a total ripoff for the tribe, they will lose and lose again.

Plus, there is the cost of defending the many lawsuits that will surely will be filed by the Hopi tribe and other entities, including the Park Service.

Plus, there will be the "ah ha!" realization by many Navajos that, once again, the white man (that developer) is going to rip them off.
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chumley
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Oct 11 2016 7:28 am

azbackpackr wrote:The cost of that is supposedly going to be $65 million or more, just for the initial outlay, for which the tribe would have to take out a loan.

The Scottsdale developer would end up with about 95% of the profits. The remaining profits going to the tribe would not be enough to make the payments on the loan they'd have to get. It is a total ripoff for the tribe, they will lose and lose again.
That sounds like a pretty one-sided deal. :o Do you have a link to where I can read more about the costs and such that you cite?
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by Tortoise_Hiker » Oct 11 2016 9:32 am

I would not want it if it was 95% profit the other way either. Just saying.....
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 11 2016 1:43 pm

@chumley
Please go to this PDF file of the legislation and look at page 246. Thanks. No time to do more, I am packing for a 25 day river trip! :D

https://rrfw.org/sites/default/files/do ... 9_2016.pdf
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Oct 11 2016 2:21 pm

So if the Navajo Nation doesn't come up with $65M, the developers can borrow it on their behalf and the Nation would have to not only repay the loan, but pay a 10% annual penalty on the outstanding balance. And that's just the road.

The rest of the Navajo Nation's Attorney General's report is similarly grim. If the numbers are accurate, it looks like a terrible deal for them.

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Oct 11 2016 2:24 pm

@azbackpackr
Thank you. I'm a big fan of facts and documentation! :)

It'll take a while to read through that, but a quick look shows that the page you reference is but one exhibit citing concerns with the project. From what I can tell, this was written by the same attorney who negotiated the terms for which he is now claiming to be unfair! (The following two pages in the PDF offer a full rebuttal of that exhibit).

Putting the moral objections aside for a moment, the business aspects of a development of this type are extraordinarily complex, and I'm sure there are dozens of different ways that proponents and opponents alike do the math.

I'd like to read more of the various documents submitted in this PDF. Thanks for attaching it!

Have a great trip down the river!
Last edited by chumley on Oct 11 2016 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Oct 11 2016 3:00 pm

Quick look at the financial terms and projections on page 20-22.

The big argument raised above seems to be the $65 million in infrastructure the NN will have to pay up front (or borrow).

The concern is that it is possible the NN could not generate the revenue necessary to pay a loan back during the first couple of years. But that concern only references revenue generated from the tram, not the hotel and sales tax revenues ... which are projected to be more than twice as much as the 8-18% franchise fee (this is even mentioned in the complaint).

So while it is possible that the NN could be on the hook for this, it is extremely unlikely. The developers will have invested $160+ million and will want a return on their money. The only way they get their return will also assure that the NN gets more than enough to pay back a loan for $65 million.

The risk is primarily for the developers. If things don't work out as planned, they lose a whole lot more than the NN does.... but they may also be able to absorb a huge loss much more than the NN is.
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nonot
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by nonot » Oct 11 2016 7:09 pm

The NN is a foreign country. If they default on the loan I wonder if they can even be held accountable.

One wonders if there is data to compare to the toilet bowl? One would think the revenues would be higher for the tram when considering the proximity to towns and highways, and especially the south rim.

Chumley, don't worry, the lawyers will get their cut no matter what!
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Oct 11 2016 10:15 pm

nonot wrote:One wonders if there is data to compare to the toilet bowl?
Looks like many of the financial projections are based on GCW as well as NPS south rim visitation numbers. GCW now gets over 1 million visitors per year. I agree that the Escalade would get many more than that due to location.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by flagscott » Dec 14 2016 11:35 am

Interesting development in the Tusayan development fight. The Havasupai have filed a lawsuit to stop withdrawals from the aquifer that feeds into the Havasu Creek. http://azdailysun.com/news/local/havasu ... 6b914.html

Also named in the lawsuit: the city of Williams, Bearizona, and uranium mining companies.

(I realize that USFS already denied the Tusayan developers a needed permit, but that decision can be overturned. And it's a sure bet that the next head of USFS will value $$$$ more than ecosystems.)

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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by AZLumberjack » Dec 15 2016 6:19 am

(I realize that USFS already denied the Tusayan developers a needed permit, but that decision can be overturned. And it's a sure bet that the next head of USFS will value $$$$ more than ecosystems.)
I'm sure our new President (elect) will favor the "Developer" in this case.... :(
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Apr 12 2017 2:38 pm

One of the most detailed and well-researched news articles that I've read on this topic was published by Gannett/Republic/AZCentral.

It's a full-length feature and is very interesting reading for anybody following this story.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/loc ... /99699958/
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by KwaiChang » Apr 12 2017 3:56 pm

@chumley
Awesome article - sad too - thanks for sharing. Sure hope it doesn't happen.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 12 2017 4:54 pm

Thanks for posting this. I've been out of the loop a bit since moving to Oregon.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by JasonCleghorn » Apr 13 2017 8:33 am

I suspect that it is a matter of when, not if that the tram is built. If there is money to be made, somebody's going to make it.
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Re: Commercial development/Tram into Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Oct 31 2017 7:12 pm

Navajo tribal lawmakers leery of developing sacred land at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World said no Tuesday to a multimillion-dollar project to build an aerial tram to take paying visitors to a riverside boardwalk in the Grand Canyon.

The Navajo Nation Tribal Council voted 16-2 during a special session in opposition of the legislation. It was the first time the full council had taken up the measure since it was first introduced last year.
http://azdailysun.com/news/local/navajo ... 93b55.html

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