Hi Wavester, you might be interested to know that Jeff Ingram worked with all the players involved to expand the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park in 1975. Here are his thoughts on the latest notice by Grand Canyon National Park to river runners who are asking the NPS about the boundary issue between the Hualapai Tribe and the National Park Service:
The late Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona must be roiling in his final resting place at the latest foolishness by Park Service bureaucrats in Grand Canyon National Park's administrative warrens.
Were he still around, Im sure Goldwater would agree with George Orwell's great quote:
"It is ridiculous to get angry, BUT there is a stupid malignity in these things which does try one's patience" (my emphases).
When Goldwater was putting together the legislation that became the 1975 Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act, he took great pains 1) NOT to intrude on the rights of the Navajo, Hualapai, and Havasupai, and 2) to encourage governmental actions that would respect and serve the interests of those peoples while increasing protection of the Grand Canyon.
The Park Service has never understood the fine line that legislation walked, and has failed to follow the guidelines that the Senator and the Congress set down to encourage the federal government's positive actions toward the other three owners of the Canyon's South side.
Once again, as in previous times since 1975, local South Rim officials, lacking principled understanding and historical knowledge of the laws that govern their work, have contravened the language and intent of the 1975 Act.
An unsigned Park administration email is floating about, purporting to be the U.S. government position on the boundary of the Park where it abuts the northern edge of the Hualapai Indian Reservation.
The full text, as it has come to me, is reproduced at the end of this entry, but here is the (rotten) meat of the matter:
Along that shared boundary, the federal government's position places all camping beaches, by definition, within the management authority of the National Park Service and not within the Hualapai reservation.
Based upon the federal government's determination of the boundary between the park and the reservation, the Tribe cannot require camping fees for camping on river left downstream of river mile 166.
Notice, please that it is the federal government's "position" and "determination". What lovely bureaucratic euphemisms for the word "opinion". Unfortunately for the writer of the email, cloaking itself in euphemism does not alter the wording and intent of the two controlling documents in this matter: a Presidential Proclamation and an Act of Congress.
I have written extensively about the history and law of the boundaries of the Reservation and the Park. I will simply sum up here by saying that the land on the south bank along the Reservation is part of that Reservation, the boundary of which runs to and along the river. The Park Service has jurisdiction only over river traffic when it is on the water. The Park Service has no "management authority" on what the email calls the "camping beaches". The Hualapai can charge fees, just as they can and do at Diamond Creek.
If the email is correct -- and its benign language belies decades of Hualapai-NPS relations -- about the current stance of the Hualapai, then there may well be even more trouble ahead than is envisioned by those who have correctly warned that using the Hualapai land on the south bank of their Reservation without permission may well, at any point, find trespassers in court and worse.
Full text of email"
"Grand Canyon National Park staff continue to focus on collective objectives of resource preservation and education with the Hualapai Tribe and will work
collaboratively to develop strategies for shared stewardship and mutual respect of each others responsibilities and authorities.
Grand Canyon National Park and the Hualapai Tribe share a common boundary along 108 miles of the Colorado River. Along that shared boundary, the federal government's position places all camping beaches, by definition, within the management authority of the National Park Service and not within the Hualapai reservation.
The park and tribe are coordinating on preparation of electronic and other informational materials that provide river users and the general public with the history of the Hualapai Tribe, their relationship to the river and Grand
Canyon landscape, and the relationship between the tribe and park. The outlets for these materials are being considered and may include the park and tribal websites, distribution to our river concessionaires and their
clients, and possibly in-service training with our staff's.
The tribe is developing a new website for river users to pay a tribal 'access/permit fee.' The park will provide a link to that site. It is our understanding that the tribe will allow hiking on the reservation, with appropriate permit and associated fees, and will identify any specific
locations that are off limits. Based upon the federal government's determination of the boundary between the park and the reservation, the Tribe cannot require camping fees for camping on river left downstream of river mile 166 (National Canyon)."