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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
RRFW Riverwire – Tramway Free Grand Canyon Comments Needed

December 18, 2014

The proposed development of a huge resort and tramway at the confluence of the Little Colorado and main Colorado Rivers in Grand Canyon, first proposed in February of 2012, has taken an ominous new turn.

You may recall that a group of Phoenix developers, known as Confluence Partners LLC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some representatives of the Navajo Nation to move the project forward. The LLC has no prior company experience in any type of construction.

Named the Grand Canyon Escalade, the tramway and resort has generated a groundswell of opposition from members of the Navajo Nation, neighboring tribes and citizens from around the world.

Despite this, draft legislation prepared for the Navajo Nation Tribal Council’s vote has been released, outlining development of a destination resort on the rim of the Grand Canyon. The legislation calls for between 800,000 to over 2,000,000 annual visitors per year at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

The Escalade would be built on Navajo Nation land perched above the main Colorado River, with a long, fully visible tramway down to the river’s edge and would include 4,000 square feet of restroom facilities at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

The development would also include an RV park, airport, restaurant, five star hotels, a boutique and a Discovery Center on the rim, 4,000 feet above the confluence, along with boat and helicopter tours.

The Navajo Nation draft legislation spells out the duties of the partners, and requires the Navajo Nation to expend a minimum of $65 million for a 20 mile all-weather road to the development location, as well as power, water, and telecommunications. The Navajo Nation would also be required to construct a wastewater treatment facility able to accommodate over 2 million visitors annually.

A glaring omission from the draft legislation and tribal consideration is that legislation passed in 1975 by the United States Congress recognized that the entire Grand Canyon has many managers, including the National Park Service, the Navajo and other tribes and agencies. The law requires the Secretary of Interior to work with all the Grand Canyon’s many managers in providing “protection and interpretation of the Grand Canyon in its entirety.” The legislation, known as the Grand Canyon Enlargement Act, required the Secretary of Interior to work with all the managers of Grand Canyon, including the Navajo Nation, to protect the resource.

The draft legislation also makes no mention of two existing Tribal Parks, the Navajo Nation Marble Canyon and Little Colorado River Tribal parks. These parks were created by tribal agreement in the 1960’s and 1970’s to preserve this area of Grand Canyon.

With $65 million in Navajo funds to be spent in supporting this Phoenix developers’ scheme, grassroots Navajo groups are working on a list of needs that are more relevant, more helpful, and not destructive of Navajo values and the Grand Canyon.

River Runners for Wilderness encourages its members to write Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. Tell Secretary Jewell:

- You support a tramway-free Grand Canyon.

- Tell Secretary Jewell that the two Navajo Tribal Parks, Marble Canyon and Little Colorado, in the eastern Grand Canyon, would be excellent areas for Interior to work with the Navajo Nation as the 1975 Act encourages her to do, with federal funds, to make these Parks, under Navajo Nation direction, known and available to the public in an appropriate way that does not desecrate the area;

- Tell Secretary Jewell that the Department of Interior should be supportive of Navajo residents in the Grand Canyon area of Western Navajo by working with the Navajo Nation on a Navajo-generated list of regional needs such as housing, sanitation, telecommunication and water supply projects.

- Remind the Secretary of her duty to work with the Navajo to protect and preserve the Grand Canyon as the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement Act required.

You can contact the Secretary here:

Secretary of the Interior
The Honorable Sally Jewell
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Or send an e-mail to Secretary Jewell at [email protected]

You can see the draft Navajo Nation legislation (16 Mb) at the following links:

https://rrfw.org/sites/default/files/documents/DraftBillEscalade12-14.pdf

Additional information is also available here:
Save the Confluence - Preserving the East Rim of the Grand Canyon

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, but you won't be able to get a permit as all the day trippers on both the Little Colorado and coming downriver from Lee's Ferry, paying $500 for the package deal, will leave no room for you to ride the tram. Sorry about that...
 

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While I am opposed to the tram idea. A nice flush toilet and bathing/shaving I n the bathroom sink on say day 5 of a winter trip would be pretty nice....just kidding.

The confluence is such a critical habitat, and wonderful place of natural beauty. I would hate to seen it ruined with a ski lift and dozens of people walking around taking photos. The tram builders would have to build little walkways, fences or roped off areas. If the plan gets approved, I am definitely doing another canyon run before construction starts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Dutch, yes, that hot water off the camp stove in the morning to wash my face when there is frost on the boats is a magical thing...Dozens of People? How do these numbers strike you:

A Double Decker gondola, holds 60 folks, and goes at 18 miles an hour. The cost of $400 PER PERSON to ride this to the bottom of the Grand Canyon will be a "deal" to the Vegas tourists... 60 people every 10 minutes (you only get to spend ten minutes at the bottom), 600 people an hour, 6,000 people in a ten hour day, operating 365 days a year, for 2,190,000 people a year... Remember, the design calls for 4,000 square feet at the bottom for restrooms alone...

One person e-mailed me the following: "Is $65+++ million the best use of Navajo funds? $65 mil for a top-down whitefolk project? If this scam succeeds, it will be the biggest hit on the Navajo since the Long Walk to Fort Sumner in New Mexico. Asking the Secretary of Interior to work with the NN to exercise due diligence so the scammers' wouldn't be able to get any traction for their flim-flam is the least we can do. This thing aches to be exposed to public view headlined HERE IS THE KIND OF FRAUD THAT WHITEFOLK CON ARTISTS STILL THINK THEY CAN PUT OVER ON THE NAVAJO PEOPLE."
 

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I would have concerns about waste treatment for 4000 SF of restrooms in an ecologically sensitive area. I am an Architect and recently got a load of shit, no pun intended, over 6 composting holes on NF land at a ski resort. How is this to be dealt with? Even these composting toilets having leaching requirements for liquid waste and I don't believe pits are allowed anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No Sh!t (Pun intended) And what about the upstream winds in that area? There will be a number of engineering issues that will need careful consideration to move that amount of people into and out of that area every day, every year... yours, tom
 

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Well, I don't see the Vegas crowd dropping $400 for a 10 minute ride down, a 10 minute potty break and a 10 minute ride back up, but who knows, and more than that, them Vegas vermin need to stay in Vegas.

But on the other hand, should the gummit shut down again at least there would be an alternative way to launch............... an expensive alternative, but at least one that doesn't involve parachutes and transport planes flying in the canyon.............

Nope, time for the Monkey Wrench gang to form up again.
 

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Do not know for sure,
But this elevator scheme looks to me to be a bait and switch where the backers will make a ton of money off the build of the elevator and the taxpayers and tribe will loose even more when no one rides the elevator to pay the massive construction costs.
 

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As boaters we have to be so far away from the LCR. I think it's funny how they want to put a resort down there. Money talks and we get to smell the waste.


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