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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
GCPBA sent a May 25, 2021 letter reiterating our opposition to the Navajo Nation’s proposal to construct docks for commercial purposes on the South shore of the Colorado River, 1-2 miles downstream from Lee’s Ferry. The letter is posted on our webpage (http://gcpba.org). Here’s a synopsis: By way of the Harbors Act, the US Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over construction within navigable waters. Although the Navajo claim rights to the middle of the river, they have now recognized federal jurisdiction and applied for a permit, which was granted by way of a Letter of Permission in Oct. 2019.

An LOP is an abbreviated permitting process, which: 1) involves no public notice/participation, 2) assumes no “appreciable” public opposition, 3) requires that the Navajo demonstrate land ownership and, 4) requires the Corps to confer with other Federal entities. Because there were no public proceedings/notifications, GCPBA has sought documents and correspondence via FOIA.

We have helicopter/boat rides at both ends of the Park - Page/Lake Powell and Las Vegas/Quarter Master. The Navajo now want to have boat rides starting just downstream from Lee’s Ferry – no mention in their permit application of how they would get their clientele to the docks. From highway 89A, the precipitous 400 foot high escarpment to the river doesn’t lend itself to vehicular access.

We shared our findings/concerns with other stakeholder organizations and encouraged them to state their opposition. Per discussions with these groups, we know that the NPS is opposed to the docks. Therefore, petitioning the NPS serves no purpose – they know about it and have conferred with the USACE re their response to the Navajo.
The Navajo are required to give 10 notice prior to construction and can ask for an extension when the permit lapses on October 21, 2021. Federal regulation 33 CFR 325.7 is the mechanism by which the Corps can rescind the LOP. Hence, our letter invokes this regulation because the LOP was issued contrary to Corps’ guidelines, i.e. there is public opposition, landownership has been in dispute for decades, and the Corps did not confer with NPS prior to issuing the LOP.

If you share our concerns, you are welcome to voice your opposition. Be polite! You can reference 33 CFR 325.7 and request the suspension and subsequent revocation of the Letter of Permission for SPL-2019-00602. Here’s contact info:

Col. Julie Balten
District Commander
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District
915 Wilshire Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85012
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Ms. Sallie Diebolt, Chief
Arizona Section Regulatory Branch
US Army Corps of Engineers
3636 North Central Avenue, Suite 900
Phoenix, AZ 85012
[email protected]
 

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Just curious, any mention as to which direction the "boat rides" would go? I am assuming upstream towards the dam, but you never know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just curious, any mention as to which direction the "boat rides" would go? I am assuming upstream towards the dam, but you never know.
Probably not upstream. There are tours providing that experience. Best guess; downstream - here's a hypothetical: run Badger, lunch at Jackass, pics at 10 mile rock, run Soap Creek, selfies at Brown's inscription, probably turn around at House Rock and return.
 

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It's not clear to me from this post why this is a bad idea.

However, I am very familiar with American history and the statement "landownership has been in dispute for decades" is an effing joke. Pretty sure the Navajo Nation owned all of the land and it was all taken from them, there's really no dispute there.

In addition, the letter states that "we have" and now "they want". Isn't that fair considering it's THEIR LAND?!? Landowners are routinely allowed to change rivers, discourage floaters, and behave like general aholes yet when a tribe does it, now it's an issue. Oh yeah, only because it will impact their operations and profits.

Sounds like a dispute between Navajo Nation and rich exploiters who want to continue their grip on the local economy. The only mistake I see is them asking permission and in doing so recognizing federal jurisdiction. They should have just built it and been done with it.

It's possible I am not seeing the entire picture.
 

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If the Navajo Nation's intended use is a launch point for river patrols of their lands as indicated on the GCPBA website, I personally would have a hard time voicing opposition. How would this be substantially different from the Parks Service running their river patrols?

Edit: If however, the use includes use of motorized boats (twin engine jet boats for example) BACK upstream to the proposed dock I would have concerns.
 

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LOP my sweet you know what. This at minimum should be an EA with public comment. Preferably a full blown EIS, but that's not likely going to happen due to the potential impacts being relatively minimum and temporary. As for upstream travel, from page 6 of the GCNP Private Regulations :

Upstream Travel. No vessel shall engage in primarily upstream travel above Separation Canyon (RM 240)

One would think that what they are proposing would necessarily engage in upstream travel.
I browsed the commercial river use stipulations and there's no mention of upstream travel..
 

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The regulation that says "Upstream Travel. No vessel shall engage in primarily upstream travel above Separation Canyon (RM 240)" could be legally challenged. As long as a vessel re-docks below where they launched, technically the travel is primarily dowstream. Of course not the intent, but why not just say NO upstream travel with exception for emergency/life saving purpose. I sure would not want to test a motor rigs engine under load by traveling downstrean in case of issues/failure.
 
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