RRFW Riverwire –Tramway Meetings at Bodaway-Gap Scheduled
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
A Phoenix based developer’s legislation to build a massive tourist development on the rim of the Grand Canyon with a tramway to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is once again scheduled for consideration by the Navajo Nation Resources & Development Committee January 11, 2016. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Boadaway-Gap Chapter House according to Ben Bennett, Vice Chairman of the Resources committee. Bennett is the Navajo Nation delegate who introduced the now 266 page legislation. The committee was first scheduled to review the legislation over a month ago.
The tramway legislation is a Phoenix developers scheme to build a luxury tourist resort on Navajo Nation lands, possibly including many hundreds of helicopter flights to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, along with moving up to ten thousand people a day to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back to the rim top. The legislation also proposes to take away 420 acres of land without compensation to the traditional Navajo families that have lived in that location for many decades, and circumvents a number of Navajo Nation laws.
Local Navajo that live in the Bodaway-Gap Chapter and Navajo grass-roots organizations such as Save the Confluence are in opposition to the proposed development. The Navajo Nation Office of Legislative affairs has received over 66,300 comments in opposition to the development, with just over 130 comments in support of the proposal.
As per Navajo Nation law, the legislation must be reviewed by four Navajo Nation committees before going to the entire Tribal Council for a vote. The Law and Order Committee was the first committee to review the legislation. After a contentious debate, the committee unanimously voted the legislation down. The Resources and Development committee now will consider the legislation.
While the legislation is proceeding through the Navajo Nation Tribal Government review process, yet another Navajo Nation Chapter has come out in opposition to the project. In mid-December, the Crystal Chapter unanimously passed a resolution opposing the development. The Tuba City, Cameron and Coalmine Chapters have also passed resolutions against the project. Additional First Nation resolutions in opposition to the project have come from the Hopi Tribe, Zuni Tribe, and the All Pueblo Council of Governors.
In October, the Phoenix based develops placed a full page advertisement in the Navajo Times newspaper claiming the tramway development would protect the Grand Canyon from river runners, helicopter tourists and backpackers. The non-profit group River Runners for Wilderness, through the generous donations of a number of river runners, replied with a full page rebuttal in the Gallup Independent newspaper. A second full page rebuttal to the developers claims was placed in the Navajo Times by the Hopi Nation. Both the Hopi and Navajo Nations have long standing traditional ties to the area where the development is proposed.
While Navajo Nation elected officials grapple with the Phoenix developer’s legislation, a small group of Navajo Tribal officials continues to quietly work on development of a General Management Plan for the Marble Canyon Tribal Park and Little Colorado River Tribal Park. This initiative was started in January 2015. It includes a partnership between Dine Innovative Networks of Economies in Hozho, Arizona State University and the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources. This group will meet tomorrow, January 5, at 11:00 am at the Bodaway-Gap Chapter House.
River Runners for Wilderness still encourages its members to write to the Navajo Nation and the Secretary of the Department of Interior. Tell the Nation and the Interior Secretary, with all due respect:
-You are opposed to Navajo Nation Legislation 0293-16
- You support a tramway-free Grand Canyon.
- Ask that Navajo tribal funds be spent on vital needs such as housing, sanitation, telecommunication and water supply projects across the entire Western Navajo lands.
- Remind the Navajo Nation and the Secretary of Interior that the Department of Interior has been charged to work with the Navajo to protect and preserve the Grand Canyon as the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement Act required.
You can send your comments to the Navajo Nation here:
Or in writing, mailed to:
Office of Legislative Services
P.O. Box 3390
Window Rock, AZ 86515
Navajo Nation law requires that all comments, either in the form of letters and or e-mails must include your name, position title, address for written comments and a valid e-mail address. Anonymous comments will not be included in the Legislation packet.
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240