RRFW Riverwire - Tramway Proposed for LCR Confluence
December 11, 2012
Imagine the anticipation of a visit to the stunning blue green waters of the
Little Colorado River, but as you come around the bend you see.a tramway
scarring the cliffside down to the Colorado River directly in front of
A proposal for development of a destination resort from the rim to the
confluence of the Little Colorado River (LCR) with the Colorado River on
Navajo Nation would include hotels, an RV park, airport, restaurant and a
tramway to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, 4,000 feet below.
In February 2012, a group of Phoenix developers, known as Confluence
Partners LLC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of
the Navajo Nation to move the project forward. Named the Grand Canyon
Escalade, the tramway and resort has generated a groundswell of opposition
from some members of the Navajo Nation as well as neighboring tribes.
While development proponents outside the tribe and within it champion
economic benefits of tourism revenue and jobs to the tribe, many of the
local Navajo who graze livestock and have lived in the area for
see it as a desecration of a sacred region. That sentiment was shared by
families living in the neighboring communities of Bodaway, The Gap, and
Cameron, Arizona, at several contentious meetings of those community
The Hopi Nation has long revered the confluence area as sacred ground as
well. In October, the Hopi Tribal Council passed a unanimous resolution
calling upon the people of Zuni Pueblo, the Navajo, the other tribes that
hold the Grand Canyon sacred, the National Congress of American Indians,
Inter-tribal Council of Arizona, the All Indian Pueblo Council and the
National Park Service, to join in opposing the tramway development. The
are also seeking support for legislation to protect the Grand Canyon and
other Native American sites.
Most of the proposed development site is situated within the boundaries of
the Navajo Nation and also within an area designated as a Tribal Park
(similar to a National Park) by the tribe and the National Park Service
almost four decades ago. However, the boundary in the river corridor has
been in dispute by the tribe and federal government since before the turn
the last century.
Tribal members opposing the development have established a group, Save the
Confluence, and are encouraging anyone who opposes the development to sign
an online petition. The petition to President Obama can be viewed at
s-to-develop-the-grand-canyon. Please note that RRFW does not take
on other causes featured at Change.org's website. Those interested in
following the issue are also encouraged to visit the website at
www.savetheconfluence.com and sign up for email alerts.
River Runners for Wilderness will continue to follow this issue and update
our readers through Riverwires and at our website.
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