Grand Canyon, AZ: Gondola??

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the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 6, 2012 - 04:33pm PT
The Navajo Nation is proposing a massive tourist development which includes a Gondola to the confluence of the Colorado and LIttle Colorado Rivers. If you have ever been there you know (hopefully) it is a special place. The development is in the midst of the main canyon and within spitting distance of some very sacred sites for some cultures.

Here is some info from the website:

"Grand Canyon Escalade’s main draw would be the “Escalade” Gondola Tramway, carrying tourists from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim to the Canyon floor. Once there, visitors could walk along a 1,400-foot elevated river walk to the confluence, eat at a restaurant, or visit an amphitheater and terraced grass seating area overlooking the Colorado River. The development would also include a Navajo cultural center and retail and art galleries. Publicity materials claim the project will yield 2,000 jobs at full build-out and generate $50 to $95 million annually for the Navajo Nation. Navajo grassroots activists and neighbors of the project say local attitudes about it are sharply divided, creating tension in the community and pitting neighbors against one another. Several members of one grassroots group formed to oppose Escalade marched last week from the confluence to Navajo governmental offices in Window Rock, to make their opposition known." [Around a 100 mile hike]


Here is a link to a site with more info:

http://savetheconfluence.com/opposition-continues-for-the-grand-canyon-escalade/#more-997


I have no affiliation with this group, just wanted to raise some awareness.

Long live wild places.
Albert Newman
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Dec 6, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
That sounds swell! Are there plans for a dam near the confluence to facilitate ADA swimming? Golly, I sure hope so.
labrat

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Dec 6, 2012 - 04:39pm PT
Wow!
No thank you
dave Sparrows

Trad climber
AZ
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:26pm PT
The way I see it, we took all of their land at one point, so let them do what they want with what little they have left. It will probably be a nice cash influx for the Hualapai people. I mean look what we (the white man) are doing at the Arizona Snow Bowl/ Agassiz Peak; a sacred sight of the Navajo and Hopi people that we now spread human waste (Grey water) on to make snow. I know two wrongs do not make a right, but I say just leave them alone, it is their land to do what they please with it.

EDIT: Misunderstanding- I thought it was the Hualapai not the Navajo with the gondola proposal.
adrian korosec

climber
Tucson
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:38pm PT
Sounds like a great idea! If we could establish a way to pay to climb towers legally too it would be great. The Navajo Nation has every right increase revenue via natural resources provided it's done in a responsible, thought out manner.

I don't get the hatred of making certain wild places more accessible to the masses who otherwise could not enjoy them.

A gondola to the bottom of the Grand Canyon sounds great. A nice restaurant and gift shop at the bottom with mountain hut type lodging would be in order as well.
Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:39pm PT
"Albatross",

So if they get this...do we get free reign over all Reservation towers?

Tit for tat?

Hope all is well and you are getting out.

Jeremy Aslaksen
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:42pm PT
Hey, we took all of their land [...]

Who is "we" ?

Who is "they" ?

Those who took and those who were taken from are long dead.


Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:48pm PT
I do not believe that the confluence is on tribal land so NPS approval would be required, ain't gonna happen.

Very true Dave, the Navajo pushed out other cultures when they "invaded" North America, ironically around the same time Columbus "discovered" America

TwistedCrank

climber
Dingleberry Gulch, Ideeho
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
Will they serve drinks?
Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 6, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
FREE THE TOWERS AND SERVE DRINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

adrian korosec

climber
Tucson
Dec 6, 2012 - 06:10pm PT
here here!
crunch

Social climber
CO
Dec 6, 2012 - 06:47pm PT
The way I see it, we took all of their land at one point, so let them do what they want with what little they have left. It will probably be a nice cash influx for the Hualapai people. I mean look what we (the white man) are doing at the Arizona Snow Bowl/ Agassiz Peak; a sacred sight of the Navajo and Hopi people that we now spread human waste (Grey water) on to make snow. I know two wrongs do not make a right, but I say just leave them alone, it is their land to do what they please with it.

hey, david sparrows, it does not work that way. This is anglo developers, and their deep pockets, steamrolling over the Navajos, just like it usually is. The Fulcrum Group LLC, along with Confluence Partners LLC are pushing to develop this Gondola project. Lamar Whitmer is one of the Fulcrum Group. He was treasurer of Snowbowl a few years ago. He lives in Scottsdale, as does his friend Todd Borowsky. Todd's father, Eric Borowsky, owns the Snowbowl resort.

Same people, same developers, same money. They don't give a sh!t about anything except their profits. They have pockets deep enough to ensure that there's some buy in by powerful tribal members (like President Shelly) to keep this thing moving, just as there was back when Peabody pushed for mining coal.

Here:

http://navajotimes.com/news/2012/0412/041712whit.php



Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Dec 6, 2012 - 06:51pm PT
Screwed up. Not everyone has a right to go everywhere. That's why these are special places. Keep the Wild West wild, m'er f'ers!
Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 6, 2012 - 06:55pm PT
Nice Crusher, and thanks for the info Albert.

10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Dec 6, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
hey, david sparrows, it does not work that way. This is anglo developers, and their deep pockets, steamrolling over the Navajos, just like it usually is.

I read an article about this a few weeks ago. Crunch is correct. It's the white man pushing it, but he has got the Navajo to buy into it because he is promising jobs. The Hopi are strictly opposed to the idea.
Jolly Roger

Trad climber
here and there
Dec 6, 2012 - 07:27pm PT
The hopi are the only true ancestors of those parts. The navajos are roughly 500 years new.


They got the land becuase they would work with the white man.

Those mountians are not sacred, they are just retarded mooches.

Ask any hopi
bigwall shitter

Social climber
the wild west
Dec 6, 2012 - 07:33pm PT
that confluence is one of the coolest places around, swimming in the warm aquamarine blue waters of the Little C wearing yer birthday suit in full view of the old folks from illinois bumbling down the boardwalk.

Go ahead and build!
Gene

climber
Dec 6, 2012 - 07:46pm PT
Maybe they could put in an oyster farm as well.

g
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Dec 6, 2012 - 08:02pm PT
^^^
Actually, it was the Hopi who were peaceful and worked with the early settlers in the region. The Navajo resisted, were forcibly re-located, but eventually signed a peace treaty and were allowed to return.

But the Hopi, who cooperated with USA's "manifest destiny" and didn't fight, never got a treaty, and ever since have seen their tribal lands diminish (and bit by bit, it still continues to diminish).

See http://www.viewzone.com/day6.html for a map.

The current reality is that the Navajo are politically organised and comprise a sizeable voting population in the four corners region. Both tribes are wonderful people, but the Navajo ended up with the better end of white man's deal, to be certain.

Not sure how I feel about the tramway. It's a beautiful area, and increased access will expose many to the beauty of the Southwest. I've spent a lot of time in that area, it's tough to get down there, and I'd be hard pressed to say that only the rugged individual can visit. Of course there will be impact from a tramway, but in this day and age, economic benefit that's dependent on natural environmental beauty, rather than involving its destruction, might be the better way forward in general. There are those who still would be calling for more dams on the Colorado, most likely, if it weren't for the significant commercialisation of the river running industry.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2012 - 09:20pm PT
Thank you for all of the thoughtful replies.

I like the idea of exposing "wild places" (like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Zion National Parks, et. al.) to as many persons as possible. Hopefully those persons, like most all of us, will realize the value of wilderness in an ever increasingly complex world. Even if we don't fully understand the reasons yet, it seems to be of interest to keep some places in their natural state.

In regards to persons with special needs in experiencing The Canyon, a lot of options come to mind: IMAX at Tusayan, helicopter and fixed wing air tours, donkey rides to the bottom and river trips. Plus the thirty miles of pavement on the South Rim. I think that sh1t is even on Google earth now. Lots of ways to experience the place for people of all interests and abilities.

I like to think this proposal would somehow help the peoples of the Navajo Nation and the rest of the world. General observations and experience prove otherwise. I would prefer this idea be scrapped.

crusher: AZ Snowbowl is set to start snowmaking next week. Like the rest of the country, we have had one of the driest, warmest Fall seasons (and years) on record. Thanks for the moneygrubbers link...

Jeremy: we are still playing in the sand and there is room; you and SB and JM know where...

Keep it wild.
Albert

crunch

Social climber
CO
Dec 16, 2012 - 11:53am PT
I like to think this proposal would somehow help the peoples of the Navajo Nation and the rest of the world. General observations and experience prove otherwise.

Yes, indeed. It would be nice to be more positive and proactive instead of negative.

The magazine High Country News has a nice article about this. Link here, but it appears only subscribers can get the full article online:

http://www.hcn.org/issues/44.21/will-navajos-approve-a-grand-canyon-megadevelopment

Anyway, interesting interviews. Those living nearby were mostly opposed; those living farther away, and thus who would be less impacted, were not so opposed.

What is a more appropriate type of development? One Navajo rancher, who lived near to the proposed Gondola and was opposed to the scheme, suggested that a model was perhaps Antelope Canyon. Here, the Navajo Nation earns steady income for guiding and allowing access to a world-famous photographer's destination, but without the heavy-handed industrial disruption of this proposed Gondola scheme.

I've driven past this area, know nothing about it really, but would welcome the chance to actually visit and explore. So many folks visit the nearby and much more famous Grand Canyon South Rim resort, it might be good to open up more terrain for hiking and sightseeing. So I wonder, maybe building a few trails and promoting this same Grand Canyon confluence area as a place of scenic beauty--which it evidently is--might bring visitors and yield income, jobs and money, without any need for the controversy and disruption of the Gondola proposal?



Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 16, 2012 - 12:08pm PT
Man always kills the thing he loves.

If it doesn't take much effort to see natural beauty then the experience has less value.
In highly delicate environments the wise conservation practice is to keep a high value to the experience by maintaining low traffic.

That this is another anglo attempt to pimp natural beauty slams the door on it.
(not that the Indians were all that good at conservation, or, for that matter, climbers)
Reeotch

Trad climber
4 Corners Area
Dec 16, 2012 - 12:17pm PT
This is anglo developers, and their deep pockets, steamrolling over the Navajos, just like it usually is.

Please notice that the Navajo are by no means unified on this. This is indeed business as usual. Mining companies use the same tactics. It is easy to tempt an impoverished rural community with promises of jobs and business opportunities. The reality never seems to live up to the initial promises, and the real profits, if any, go elsewhere.

This is a wilderness, I certainly hope such a development doesn't get approved for this area. It would be a tragic loss. And, many Navajo agree with me on this . . .
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2012 - 02:45pm PT
crunch wrote: "So I wonder, maybe building a few trails and promoting this same Grand Canyon confluence area as a place of scenic beauty--which it evidently is--might bring visitors and yield income, jobs and money, without any need for the controversy and disruption of the Gondola proposal?"

Excellent ideas. I can think of off hand at least a dozen scrambling routes to the bottom of the LCR, including Moody "trail", Salt Trail, and Blue Springs trail, all highly recommended if you like adventure hiking. The Little Colorado River gorge (LCR) is an incredible place it would be nice if the Navajo Nation encouraged a little more low-impact activities such as hiking. There may even be some established climbing routes in the canyon. On a side note, base jumpers have really been drawn to the area. A couple years ago several did the jump, were unable to find the hike out and had to be rescued by DPS or NPS. Just last month a well known European base jumper leaped to his death near Salt Trail.

One major problem I believe some of the traditional locals have is that the Gondola would end within a mile or two of the "sipapu". From what I understand this is one of the most sacred sites in all their culture. I think it is good that people experience wild places, but there is a sickening image in my mind of the ugly fat American strolling over to the sipapu, munching on a Big Mac, drinking Starbucks.

The western part of the Navajo Nation is "the forgotten area" from what my Navajo friends tell me. Many, many hogans (homes) still have no electricity or running water in this area. A massive development could bring a number of low-paying service industry type jobs to the locals. I'm guessing that much of the profits would go into the pockets of a few individuals.

As I understand this proposal, the Gondola would be easily visible from the South Rim (which sees something like 5 million visitors a year). I am all about helping impoverished persons improve their way of life, yet the thought of this development sends shivers down my spine. I feel it is wise to keep certain places wild, without the intrusion of man and our developments.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Dec 16, 2012 - 02:57pm PT
Crunch, you really should take a weekend to explore around there. There's a couple ways down from rim to river, I'm certain that some moab-based adventurers will have some beta, or just drive over to Cameron and head off exploring the off-road routes along the Little Colorado rim and find one of the routes yourself (that's how I first made my way down there--thinking like, and following in the footsteps of the ancient ones). It's a most magic spot in the southwest.

EDIT--another tip has to do with a town named after a musical instrument as a starting point...
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Dec 16, 2012 - 03:17pm PT
If our country would spend a little more time trying to help create economic opportunities for people who choose to continue living on tribal lands, perhaps they wouldn't continue to propose development ideas that many of us find objectionable.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Interesting letter to the editor with a local perspective:


Navajo Times, 1/3/2013

Why not nursing home at Confluence?

I lived in the Confluence area for 33 years herding sheep with no running water, no electricity, no paved roads, no housing for our large family although we lived in a comfortable small hogan, and taking care of my father's cattle until he passed away six years ago. He was laid to rest about five or six miles within the Confluence area where he gave his offering and prayed for his people to live in happiness and love one another, not fighting between each other. He loved to be among nature and the quiet surroundings. He passed down his grazing permit to me before he passed on.

Today my cattle are still out in the Confluence area. We still go to the sacred prayer sites to give our offering and pray for our people's needs. We don't want to share the sacred prayer sites with the camera-toting tourists.

Bodaway/Gap Chapter voted in October (barely) to develop the Grand Canyon Escalade project. What I don't understand was twice passing the resolutions earlier in the year in opposition to the development. Didn't that count?

What's wrong with our chapter officials? We voted for them to help other chapter members, not work against them. The new chapter officials aren't any better.

The supporters of the project stated there were tourists already at the site. To this day I've only seen a few tourists trying to find their way out. They say the tribe would manage the site better. The tribe would have to hire private security. They'll have to pay a fortune to do that. The Navajo Police won't do the job.

Instead of building an expensive resort why not build a nursing center for our elders so they won't be sent off the reservation? They'll be closer to their home and livestock where they grew up, a place where they call home. There will be jobs available for sure.

Our sacred sites will be destroyed forever. It will never be the same again. We will witness the greatest destruction of one of the Seven Wonders of the World by a non-Native organization.

My grandmother and my mother would get after us young kids to not throw rocks down the canyon. The Holy People live down there, they would say to us.

I have made it to those meetings and I didn't see any threats of violence although there were some people yelling at each other. The whole thing is causing division of relatives and friends in the communities.

One Hualapai I've met in Flagstaff said it all: "That Skywalk is a piece of junk. Don't let them build the resort on your land." He mentioned the Hualapai Tribe is paying big money for the Skywalk ever since the stockbrokers started pulling out.

Mr. Albert Hale, you and your Confluence Partners LLC have betrayed, backstabbed, and lied to us. Come on, Mr. Hale. Come back down to the Native world and join the right people. I'm totally against the Grand Canyon Escalade Project.

Robert Wilson
Page, Ariz.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 16, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Very interesting commentary here, particularly considering our own Gondola project now going ahead beside the squamish Chief.

I can't comment on your situation but I think its worth highlighting a few issues. First, I agree that it is a win win if you can find an area that can be sacrificed in terms of absolute wilderness values for the purpose of giving less capable or aware people people a "sample taste" of "being in the mountains" and being in wilderness . No its not what we consider "being in wilderness" but to regular shleps it is. We need those shleps to buy into our values for political support on other wilderness preservation issues.

I say sacrifice only in the sense of "pure wilderness" values being compromised. In a true wilderness area maybe this is a bad idea if what would be lost is simply too rare a commodity.

In other words the whole purpose of such a thing ( aside from making a ton of money) is to allow "urban people" the chance to sample wilderness, within thier capabilities and sensibilities, without unduly ruining those widerness values. limits to development should be part of the permitting conditions and should preserve those values. Obvious examples of such a thing are ski resorts or places like yosemite valley.

The other thing is that Gondolas are actually pretty low impact in all regards, including to a degree visual. They make very little noise and are driven by elecrtic power. Compared to a harley ripping through the valley or a bloody helicopter it's no contest.

If you think we really need to get away from fossil fuels ( only an idiot would not) then again this is a low carbon way to gain elevation.

So maybe its a bad idea where proposed in the grand canyon but elsewhere there are a lot of positives to consider.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 16, 2013 - 08:15pm PT
Great insights, Bruce.

It is my understanding that the Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. There are already many ways for persons of all abilities to experience the incredible beauty, including hiking, burro rides, rafts, airplanes, cars, movies, youtube, bicycles, etc. Around five million people a year enjoy the place in person each year already.

As our wilderness vanishes at astonishing rates, perhaps we need to rethink our ideas about making it more accessible for everyone. Do we want a rebar ladder route to the top of El Cap so people can experience climbing? What's next, a climate controlled Gondola to the top of Everest?

Edward Abbey wrote something about how the wilderness experience was so much more valuable with a little blood from a scraped knee, being thirsty, hungry and tired, and unsure of the outcome. I tend to agree with his assessment. Some things in life seem a little more rewarding with a bit of suffering.

Check this link: http://savetheconfluence.com/opposition-continues-for-the-grand-canyon-escalade/#more-997

I stand against the proposed Gondola, motels and restaurants.

Long live the desert.
Albert
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 16, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Good post ^^^^

I 100% oppose the project.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 16, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
Maybe if the US guvmint provided a few more viable options to making a decent
living they wouldn't feel compelled to go this route?
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Jan 16, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
Like what? Truth is that most of the res is in the middle of nowhere. There is no economy beyond goat herding and desert farming and there is not going to be another. This Gondola, unless it's completely on BIA land, is not going to happen. Nor should it, the area is easily accessible by boat or foot.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2013 - 12:44am PT
The Colorado River system drains nearly 250,000 miles of seven western states (CO, UT, NM, WY, NV, AZ, CA) and has created hundreds of thousands of climbs, of all types, in many rock strata, plus tens of thousands of miles of cool hiking, biking and boating. Chances are you have explored there?
I bet we could easily list 500 roped climbing areas in the Colorado River drainage.

Imagine the confluence of the Colorado River and the LIttle Colorado River as being a contender for crown jewel of this massive river system. An unbelievable natural area inside one of the most spectacular environments in the world. A sight that is magical and unreal at the same time.

I believe about 25,000 people a year go to the confluence, most all by boat, a hardy handful hike.

Do we really want a Wendy's "tram through", an IKEA, a bunch of people selling "Authentic Made in China" turquoise at the base of a tram at the confluence? Should we not keep just a few places wild?

Here is Edward Abbey introducing his masterpiece, "Desert Solitaire":

"Do not jump into your automobile next June and rush out to the Canyon country hoping to see some of that which I have attempted to evoke in these pages. In the first place you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbrush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe. Probably not. In the second place most of what I wrote about in this book is gone or going under fast. This is not a travel guide but an elegy. A memorial. Your holding a tombstone in your hands. A bloody rock. Don't drop it on your foot - throw it at something big and glassy. What do you have to lose?"

E.A.
April 1967
Nelson's Marine Bar
Hoboken



Written nearly 46 years ago.
Thank you for all of the comments...

canyoncat

Social climber
SoCal
Jan 17, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
The people who own the land should vote for whether they want this or not. The rest should STFU. That's what a democracy is.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Jan 17, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Um, it's federal land, either BIA or NPS.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
I agree with those who say this project is unlikely to continue due to it being in one of the premier national parks in the entire world.

But, stranger things have happened in the history of this country.

In the 1950s the government wanted to build a dam which would have flooded Dinosaur National Monument (north of Moab, Utah). The Sierra Club vigorously opposed this flooding and agreed to let Glen Canyon be flooded instead. David Brower, one of the gurus of the club, was able to take a float trip down Glen just before it flooded and it is said he came to a horrible realization that one of the great wild areas of the Colorado Plateau would be lost. Today, Lake Powell covers much of Glen Canyon.

I believe near Yosemite there is a place called Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. If my history is correct, this area was flooded and I think some claim it lead to the death of John Muir. (help me out here, folks).

One of our greatest rights in this awesome democracy we live in is called "freedom of speech". This allows us to share ideas, opinions and beliefs. The purpose of me starting this thread was to educate other folks about an issue they might be interested in. canyoncat- have you been to the Grand Canyon? The confluence? Just curious.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 17, 2013 - 07:23pm PT
I'll tell you a short story about the Squamish Gondola....

7 or so years ago some Whistler dudes propose a Gondola going right up the Chief. Totally a high odds financial success but they didn't count on the hugh opposition as it would have completely destroyed an existing super high value recreational asset as a quasi wilderness hiking trail and summit. We sent them out of town tarred and feathered on a rail.

6 years later a different bunch of whistler dudes propose a gondola starting at exactly the same place but going 90 degrees off to the east up into an old regenerating logging cut block where nobody goes except for loggers once every 80 years or so. This thing is for nothing but tourists but there are obvious opportunities for hiking and biking access and trail development, as well as rock climbing potential and improved access to really good small scale mountaineering. Not surprisingly locals are strongly in favor.

First off nothing involved here is pure wilderness, even on the chief. There is much highway noise and tons of visual blight all over the place. Both areas qualify as "Semi Wilderness forest" assets easily accessed from urban centers. If you can overlook the urban blight a bit the views from up high are spectacular.

Both projects involved the concept of Provincial park land being "used", the last proposal using or effecting by far the least. Whatever opposition exists to the latest revolves around mostly the principle of removal / easement through park land to facilitate any development what so ever - a philisophical / ethical position.

I know it may be hard to picture but in a nut shell the first proposal wanted to really wreck existing high value public assets to serve a narrow demographic while the second wants to wreck hardly anything (threading the needle between existing high value assets) for a whole lot broader a potential benefit.

A really big difference and all you had to do was spin the thing ninety degrees.

Fun huh? (I'm sure Anders might describe it differently)

How this might relate to the Grand Canyon proposal I have no idea.

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Jan 17, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
From what you describe it doesn't remotely relate to the GC proposal. I suppose I'm an idiot for even posting because this project has 0% chance of happening, but it's the middle of nowhere in a national park, not off some highway in Vancouver.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 25, 2013 - 07:02pm PT
New confluence news, it is sounding better for team wilderness...


Shelly still pondering Confluence

By Cindy Yurth
Navajo Times, Tseyi' Bureau, 1/24/13

TUBA CITY - Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said on Jan. 10 that, contrary to claims by developers he has not made a decision on whether or not to endorse a proposed $180 million resort and tramway at the Confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers.

In a Dec. 24 email interview, Lamar Whitmer of Confluence Partners LLC said he understood Shelly had given his blessing to the project last fall after the company presented him with a petition with more than 1,600 signatures in favor of the proposed "Grand Canyon Escalade."

Since then, however, competing petitions for and against the development have each garnered more than 2,500 signatures, according to their circulators.

The Hopi Tribe and the Grand Canyon Trust have also taken official positions against development at the Confluence, which figures prominently in both the Diné and Hopi creation stories.

Presidents of both the Diné Hataali Association and the Navajo Medicine Men Association have both decried the project, but nine medicine men have sided with the developers.

In October, Shelly sent a letter to Whitmer saying he would give his blessing to the project only if it had "solid public support"
by Dec. 31.

During a brief interview at the Western Agency inauguration, Shelly said he has not yet made that determination, and would like to talk with both the new Bodaway/Gap chapter officials and
other residents in the area that would be affected by the resort.

"I'm not going to lead the charge," Shelly said. "I'm going to see what the people want and get behind that."

Under the previous chapter administration, Bodaway/Gap voted
twice for resolutions against the Escalade, but then passed one in favor of the development by seven votes.

Escalade opponents say the votes were miscounted and there were other procedural problems with the meeting, and have filed complaints with the Ethics and Rules.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 08:35am PT
Another local perspective:

LeRoy Shingoitewa: Hopi Tribe Against Grand Canyon Project
ICTMN Staff
February 18, 2013


The following is a letter from LeRoy Shingoitewa, chairman of the Hopi Tribe, addressing the Hopi Tribe’s position on the Grand Canyon Project.


Our beautiful state has many points of pride, but none compare to our namesake, the Grand Canyon State. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon attracts nearly 5 million tourists a year. But the true value of the Grand Canyon goes far beyond that of a tourist attraction; it is a place of history, culture and is a link to the people of yesteryear, spanning dozens of generations.

Carved out centuries ago by the Colorado River, the Canyon was – and still is – home to several Native American tribes including the Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, Kaibab-Paiute, Navajo and the Zuni. Sacred sites dot the river and canyons, one of the most important areas being the confluence, where the Colorado River meets the Little Colorado River. The sacred area serves as a connection to the Hopi tribes’ ancestral past and is home to ceremonial trails, shrines and ruins.

But now, driven by the allure of tourist dollars, the Confluence Partners, LLC is threatening the beauty of this natural wonder with what they are calling the “Grand Canyon Escalade.” They have proposed a 420-acre tourist attraction that will include a gondola tramway linking the Canyon’s rim to its floor where a man-made walking path will take tourists to a restaurant and museum mere feet from what the Hopi value as sacred land.

While they expect a large economic impact to come from the development, it is clear that the developers value the potential dollars to be made from this sacred area rather than respecting the beauty and sanctity of a pristine location that is so dear to many tribal communities.

The Hopi Tribe has issued a Hopi Tribal Council resolution in September of 2012 to formally oppose the Confluence Partners, LLC, commercial initiative led by Arizona State House Representative Albert Hale and his business partners.

The Hopi people are not alone in this opposition. Many Navajo tribal members who reside in the area have communicated to us their mutual opposition to the proposed Escalade project. Grand Canyon River Guides and Grand Canyon Trust are all against the project. In addition, other local groups have formed to express their opposition, including Save the Confluence, and all are urging that there be further investigation into the proposed development site’s cultural significance. The National Park Service, which has been notified of the proposed project but has yet to release an official statement, has a longtime, ongoing concern with the land management jurisdiction, including an area of the park known for its endangered species.

As President Theodore Roosevelt stated on May 6, 1903, "In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it."

On behalf of the Hopi Tribe and in consideration of other tribes who uphold stewardship of the Grand Canyon, please take action and speak out to protect this pride and joy. The Grand Canyon is a breathtaking destination, and construction of the Grand Canyon Escalade will irreversibly compromise this natural wonder for many generations to come.



Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/02/18/leroy-shingoitewa-hopi-tribe-against-grand-canyon-project-147738






the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2014 - 01:58pm PT
Bump
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Feb 6, 2014 - 02:21pm PT
Thanks for that albatross.

People need to make their voices heard on this!

Please sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/navajo-nation-president-ben-shelly-stop-plans-to-develop-the-grand-canyon
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Feb 6, 2014 - 03:33pm PT
This is completely OT, but has anyone looked at George Steck's guide to offtrail, multiday, loop trips off the North Rim? With time limitations, plus the inability to carry min. 1 gal//day, + food and gear, to reach the 1st campsite with water (a 2 day hike), I contented myself with a drop beneath the Rim near Pt. Sublime, with Flint Col as my dayhike objective. This is usually the 1st campsite, but is a dry one.

I would say that this was far and away the most rugged hike I've ever done. It took almost 2 hrs of bushwhacking and traversing side arroyos just to reach the Big Jumpoff. Slides and ladders between rotten limestone cliffs bands, traversing game trails on outsloping scree ledges to find the next break in the cliff band. 90 degrees in the shade, late May. It's been the only time I constructed cairns, within sight of one another, so I could find my way back through the sole break in the Toroweap cap rim.

No sign of prior passage; an indulgent illusion. No one back at the Pt. Sublime campsite, for that matter. Except for one insular individual who sat, without a break, inside his SUV, for 2 days straight. When I was driving back out to the hwy at the Lodge, I noticed his car parked at the hike's start point. Sometimes I wonder if he found what he was, evidently, searching for.

As Abbey writes, there's an initial impression of the desert to embrace all of its mystery, intimately and immediately, as one might try a possess a beautiful woman,
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Feb 21, 2014 - 01:42pm PT
Thanks for the posts. I'm late to the party, and to this news, but like all of you who have been there the thought of gondola access to this spot left a sinking feeling in my gut. For anyone interested and able, it is actually not that hard a hike via the Beamer Trail. Take the Tanner Trail (from Lipan Point) to the river then hike up river a mile or two and you'll easily find a spectacular beach campsite you'll have all to yourself. From there you're highly unlikely to ever see anyone aside from the odd passing raft or dory.
From that campsite, wherever you choose it, it's a long but almost entirely level day hike to the confluence and back, and the scenery the entire route is, well, spectacular. For much of it you're about 500 feet directly above the river along the very edge of the Tapeats. We hung out for a few hours at the confluence before hiking back to camp, and I'd do the trip again in a heartbeat. We made no attempt to sneak up to the Sipapu, and I'd guess (and hope) that most who take the time to hike that far respect the wishes of the tribe regarding that site. Just don't F around with water, haul plenty, drink a lot, and make sure you're peeing "frequently and clearly" as they say at the Backcountry Office.
At least compared to a George Steck "Loops" route, this is truly easy. Can't remember the exact total mileage, but it's at least twenty miles one way from Lipan Point, give or take a couple miles.
No question the effort to get there enhances the experience. We saw no one at the confluence or along the Beamer trail, nor have I ever seen anyone out that way on other hikes into the area. Again, about as easy as non-burro routes get in GC, just long.

I'm sure others have better pics, but here's the confluence as you approach on the Beamer Trail:


The start of the Beamer Trail, looking upriver from Tanner Rapids:


Here's where we camped, a couple miles upriver from Tanner:
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 22, 2014 - 12:33am PT
Thanks Festus, nice post, I went down Tanner to the rapids a couple of weeks ago, wish I had time to do the Beamer, but it is on my list. The remoteness of the confluence is magical, would be a shame to destroy it.
John M

climber
Feb 22, 2014 - 12:37am PT
Thanks for posting that Festus. Looks like a beautiful place.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Feb 23, 2014 - 05:34pm PT
What else is on your list down there, Jon? We're going to go down South Bass and out on the Boucher in April, which will be the first time for me along that long stretch of Tonto in between.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2014 - 05:52pm PT
If you have an interest in preserving wild places, this site is worth a look:

http://savetheconfluence.com

Save the Confluence was organized as a response by Navajos who had been exiled from their land for nearly 50 years under The Bennett Freeze, and who now are threatened by a proposal called the “Grand Canyon Escalade.” Many residents believe this proposal is the wrong kind of economic development near The Confluence.

(The Bennett Freeze prohibited development in this arid stretch. It was lifted in 2009 by U.S. President Barack Obama. People who grew up under the freeze have been working hard to move back home. But, now, Navajo Nation officials — including President Ben Shelly– want to wrestle the land back away from the people.)

Reasons why The Escalade is being opposed are numerous. But, some of the main reasons are the following:

The fragile ecosystem of the so-called East Rim is at stake. The tribe is proposing multimillion-dollar tourism development that would bring tens of thousands of visitors to the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon. Both the National Parks Service and the Federal Aviation Administration recognize the unique cultural characteristics and unique environment of this region. Both agencies have imposed restrictions on aircraft and travel. Many of the protections would be undone by the type of tourism promoted by The Escalade.

Strong-arm tactics of both the developers and the Navajo Nation government have threatened the lifestyle of current residents and of those seeking to repatriate the land on which they were born and raised. The Navajo Nation has stated that if the people oppose their plans for major tourism development, then the tribe might seek to evict opponents from their homes. These are people who have lived under Third World conditions here due to the Bennett Freeze. When the freeze was lifted, no one from the tribe came out to offer to help the people rebuild.

The backgrounds of the businessmen involved in The Escalade have raised concern of many area residents: One of the developers narrowly escaped charges involved with efforts to develop a professional sports stadium in Phoenix; another is a former Superior Court judge who resigned before he could be charged criminally, and another is a former Navajo Nation President who left office amid an extramarital scandal and questions about financial improprieties. These developers have used bullying tactics, which have included harassing phone calls and emails, as well as convincing local tribal leaders to forcibly overturn two resolutions opposing the project.
None of the money expected to be gained from the tribe’s massive venture is earmarked to help residents rebuild their homeland or to preserve the land.
—-

About this website: This website was organized by some of the original families who have maintained homes near The Confluence since at least the early 1800s, and who have homesite leases and grazing permits that would be affected by the current proposed development. Since the website started in 2010, its supporters have grown to number several thousand individuals on a grassroots level.

We encourage you to click the “People” link in the navigation on every page to see glimpses of some of the people who would be affected by a tourism development project at The Confluence.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Feb 23, 2014 - 10:08pm PT
I think that the gondola and resort is a good idea.

If you want support for wilderness and senic areas you need to get people there enmasse. To cut out all but a select few with the ability to hike in is to eventually loose all support.

Yose Valley is a tourist area.

The Grand Canyon of the Tuoloumne is wild. Very few go there.


While the proposed resort will spoil part of the grand canyon for a few, it will benefit millions in many ways, while still leaving most of the canyon wild.

the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2014 - 10:46pm PT
This is already a protected area in which there are many ways to enjoy for the near 5 million persons a year who visit. I used to believe the way to protect wild places was to get people into them but no longer subscribe to this tenant.

The thought of some fat, ugly American reading Rock & Ice magazine while taking a gondola to the bottom of the Grand Canyon sickens me a bit.

Let's keep a few corners of this world wild.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Feb 24, 2014 - 12:50am PT
Spider,

We do get people to the Grand Canyon by the millions, and it's impossible to argue otherwise. Helicopter and fixed-wing scenic flyovers, motorized rafts, burro transport, an expansive network of paved roads and walkways to countless spectacular overlooks and amazing views, all connected now (on the south rim, anyway) by an efficient bus system. Yes, Yos Valley is a tourist area, and so is most of the south rim of Grand Canyon and a chunk of the north rim. And I'm okay with all of it (minus the outboard motors on rafts perhaps), for the reason you state. But we've already compromised some of the wild places of these parks (to say the least) and made the places accessible to ALL. The result? For millions and millions every year, Grand Canyon was an incredible, unforgettable must-see, and millions upon millions more have a trip to Grand Canyon (as it is now) high on their bucket lists. Ditto for Yosemite, of course. Clearly we've done enough to allow anyone and everyone to experience these places for themselves. And I think most everyone on this forum can and does live with the compromises made to allow that kind of access, whether we're talking about GC or Yos. And those outside this forum, and/or those unable or unwilling to climb or hike? They can't wait for their first visit or their next visit, and with very, very few exceptions they all love these places, feel connected to them, and would (and do) oppose development beyond already-developed areas. If this wasn't true there'd be a hotel atop El Cap with a glass elevator up the Nose providing access from the valley.

To argue that we're excluding people from, and thus eroding support for, the remaining wilderness portions of Grand Canyon is as ridiculous as believing a gondola from rim to river at the confluence delivers them that wilderness. Which, by the way, is exactly like saying a glass elevator up the Nose would deliver them a climbing experience.



Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:08pm PT
Spider, you can't be serious? The confluence is about as wild as you can get, camping is not even allowed at the actual confluence. Now we want wheelchair access? Seems like a pipe dream to me, the Navajo Nation boundary only goes to the edge of the canyon. The asinine Skywalk got built because the Havasupia Nation boundary includes actual canyon.

I am all for access but there needs to be limits. Any area that has access to the multitudes is going to get ruined, it really will. I hiked out of the Grand Canyon last week and the picture posted below was less than half a mile from the trail-head at the popular Grandview tourist viewpoint. We do not need Jaquelyn Marshall in the inner gorge, keep her at the top.

Eye level, in your face, right on the Grandview trail
Eye level, in your face, right on the Grandview trail
Credit: Jon Beck
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2014 - 10:14pm PT
Thanks for the replies and interest. Times have changed in the last 50 years, we no longer have to get people into wilderness to have them appreciate wild places. Those days are gone with the internet. Here's a follow up article on the last post as to what may happen if we let wilderness become accessible to all:

North Carolina Man Reportedly Thought it Would Be "Cool" To Carve His Name On Rock Art Panel At Glen Canyon NRA

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/01/north-carolina-man-reportedly-thought-it-would-be-cool-carve-his-name-rock-art-panel-glen-canyon-nra7507

In a great case for justice the perpetrator was caught later the same day.


It is my belief that we should work to preserve the few remaining wild places left on this planet.


Sagebrusher

Sport climber
Iowa
Feb 25, 2014 - 05:55pm PT
Hopefully, many were enticed to report that! WTF!!!
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Feb 25, 2014 - 06:05pm PT
"In a great case for justice the perpetrator was caught later the same day."

I hope they cut off all his fuking fingers! Graffiti makes me so mad....
Erik
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Feb 25, 2014 - 06:47pm PT
This is already a protected area in which there are many ways to enjoy for the near 5 million persons a year who visit. I used to believe the way to protect wild places was to get people into them but no longer subscribe to this tenant.

Good, because its utterly counter-intuitive.

DMT
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2014 - 06:56pm PT
Quite true, DMT.

Yet for several decades following the flooding of Glen Canyon the environmental movement urged how important it was to get people into wild places in order that they can understand and protect these areas. Those days are long gone.
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Feb 25, 2014 - 07:06pm PT
I don't know about how much of an economic benefit it would be, or to how many. I'd like to find out how that new "skywalk" attraction is doing.
I'm living out here and I drive back and forth to Flagstaff all the time. I see a lot of signs opposing the development between Cameron and Tuba City. I can't recall seeing any in favor. The Navajo are by no means of one mind on this issue.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Feb 25, 2014 - 08:49pm PT
Yet for several decades following the flooding of Glen Canyon the environmental movement urged how important it was to get people into wild places in order that they can understand and protect these areas. Those days are long gone.


Albatross,

I know what you mean, and I'm with you, but in truth those days never existed. What the conservation/environmental
movement(s) actually proved (and not just the Brower-era version) was that it's really not at all about getting people into the wilderness it's simply about educating them on the beauty and value of that wilderness. That, in the end, is the only way to save it. Yes, Muir and Brower and countless others of their stature encouraged people to come see and experience the wild places for themselves. Few did, few ever have. Put on a backpack and pull one high pass into the Sierra Nevada (staying off the relative highways like Whitney, Muir, etc.) and how many people do you see? If you want the answer to be none it's not hard to do, yet few do it.

The great success of our National Park system is education. Say what you will about crowds in Yosemite Valley or on the south rim, and their impact, but when people leave those full-access-for-all portals most leave with an appreciation of the entire park. They leave as supporters of preserving the entire park as it is, and often other wild places as well. They're with us even if they never hoist a backpack and head off-road.

It's always been about education and it always will be. Which is what you're doing in this thread. Thank you!

So take your kids back-packing and have them invite along a friend who has never done it. Then do up a trip photo book for the kid and I guarantee you that kid will proudly show it to everyone they know. You'll also win over the parents and who knows how many others, and move the pro-wilderness needle just a bit more to the right. You can be a one-man version of what the old Sierra Club did with their coffee table books back in Brower's time.

Oh, yeah, and next time you're at a National Park, tip your ranger!

Sagebrusher

Sport climber
Iowa
Feb 26, 2014 - 05:09pm PT
A great website about the trails of the Grand Canyon... Zoomed in to the junction of the Tanner, Beamer, and Escalante route.. http://www.bobspixels.com/kaibab.org/usgs_map.php?map=dv&seg=bb Personally, I have only been on the Bright Angel and Grandview trails. Sure would like to try some of the more hardcore routes!
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 3, 2014 - 05:08am PT
http://savetheconfluence.com/ben-shelly-escalade-wont-happen-because-of-lawsuits/

Navajo President Ben Shelly said a proposed resort on the Grand Canyon east rim “is not going to happen” Thursday night at a fund-raiser event in Tuba City.

Shelly, who has not officially announced a re-election bid for Navajo president, had met with people during a $30- per- plate dinner at the Hogan Restaurant. The president spoke about the Grand Canyon Escalade, which was part of three topics he mentioned.

Shelly, who spoke in the Navajo Language, said the Escalade won’t happen because it will launch lawsuits. The president did not say who would sue or state the reasons for the lawsuits.

Though the President’s office has not issued an official statement about Thursday’s development, he privately encouraged Escalade opponents to work on preserving the area. He also said to mark off areas the group did not want developed.

Revisit Save the Confluence later for witness accounts, a recording of Shelly’s talk and photos.

the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2014 - 12:19am PT
Grand Bump.
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 8, 2014 - 01:12am PT
$76 to sashay out on that stupid-a$$ skywalk?! Who pays that unless they're at gunpoint? Anyone who's spent any time at all hiking to and around north and south rim overlooks (easily accessible by car or bus I must add) has stood atop more exposed perches with far better canyon views for free. Economically speaking--my revulsion for the skywalk completely aside--I don't get it! No wonder the gondola idea isn't taking wing (knock wood).

http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/legal-battle-surrounding-grand-canyon-skywalk-still-flares

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 8, 2014 - 01:48am PT
$76 to sashay out on that stupid-a$$ skywalk

hahaha, I hate to admit it but me and my little boy were in the first group to go on the Skywalk when they opened to the public. My son was only 4 so he did not get charged. It was an interesting day, but you are right, the skywalk is a waste of money. It is not over the river and it was almost more interesting on the cliffs next to the skywalk. No railings anywhere, classic rez tourist development.

Credit: Jon Beck
Credit: Jon Beck
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
May 8, 2014 - 01:56am PT
Jon, you are an honest man to admit it! And I bet that whole day is already a darn good story that will only get better with age...and possibly an after-hours seismic event that drops the skywalk into the void.

And the only thing good about the skywalk is that it isn't over the river.

Hey, how old is your little boy now? Old enough for some good hiking trips, I'm guessing.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jun 11, 2014 - 03:43pm PT
My boy is 11, will take his first backpacking trip this summer, it will not be into the Grand Canyon! Sierra trout fishing trip is planned, any suggestions on an easy hike in with good fishing?

Latest news on the Escalade project is full speed ahead, although it seems I read somewhere that money is not available. This article is loaded with information about the plan to run a 1.6 mile long aerial gondola line down to the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. I have mixed feelings on it, that area of the rez is impoverished even by rez standards. Tourism is much preferred over coal. They would only use 3 acres at the river, but is is an extremely remote area, I am troubled by that aspect of it.

http://www.grandcanyonnews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=10888
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
Jun 11, 2014 - 06:29pm PT
Jon,

My boys are 12 and 16 now, and I've been taking them on backpack trips to the Sierras each summer for the last three years. Last summer we did a trip up to Big Pine Lakes, set up our camp between lakes 1 and 2 and day-hiked and fished all over the place from there. You can't go wrong doing a trip up there! It's a perfect backpack trip for younger kids, or anyone for that matter, about five miles to the first lake with an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet. That puts you within easy dayhike range of the glacier, a half dozen other lakes and, though we didn't climb, well you know what you'll be looking up at. Go in August and you won't have any mosquito problems at all, especially this year. Fishing was great, kids had a blast and so did the adults. It's where I take everyone who hasn't done much or any backpacking, an incredible first trip.

All the trips I've done to date with the kids have been relatively short with big pay-offs (good fishing, great views, etc.). My oldest is more than ready for Grand Canyon now, but I haven't done that with them yet, hoping to next year.
I erred on the side of making sure they didn't have a death march experience that would turn them off from the whole idea, and they're hooked now. The first trip we did was to Mosquito Lakes, from Mineral King, in August, also about five miles and a few thousand feet of elevation. Didn't see a soul there the entire time. This summer we're hiking into Cottonwood Lakes, and plan to hike up Mt. Langley one of the days. If you know the dates you'd like to go, get online now and get yourself a permit. You'll see people on the Big Pine Lakes trip, but it's really easy to find a remote campsite where you'll see no one unless you want to, simply by hiking for ten minutes away from the main trail. That whole Big Pine Lakes basin is truly one of the world's great hikes, or series of hikes. I'll put up some pictures here in a bit. You can't go wrong there.

Steve
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
Jun 11, 2014 - 06:40pm PT
Okay, Jon, before I hit your GC gondola link and get depressed, the photos that follow are my best argument against anything like the gondola in any place that spectacular and relatively wild that remains relatively untouched. Have a great trip wherever you go with your son...and if it's Cottonwood Lakes maybe we'll see you!

Mosquito Lakes, 2011. It's a great first backpack trip for kids but if they get car sick the last 20 miles to the trailhead is one seriously winding single lane road. Other than that it's all good!
Mosquito Lake #2
Mosquito Lake #2
Credit: Festus

Credit: Festus

Lake #3
Lake #3
Credit: Festus

Last summer, Big Pine Lakes, one of the planet's finest backpack trips...and I think the straightest road to a high trailhead in all the Sierra. No car sickness worries at all here!
Big Pine Lake #2
Big Pine Lake #2
Credit: Festus

Lake #2, Temple Crag, and barely visible above the ridge, center of ph...
Lake #2, Temple Crag, and barely visible above the ridge, center of photo, the summits of North Palisade, Starlight, and Thunderbolt.
Credit: Festus

Credit: Festus

The trout tree! (somewhere between lakes 1 and 2).  Make sure ...
The trout tree! (somewhere between lakes 1 and 2). Make sure you pack in everything you need for your favorite trout dinner recipe, 'cuz you won't be lacking for the main ingredient!
Credit: Festus


cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jun 11, 2014 - 07:23pm PT
So, the gondola goes from the rim to the bottom, but it doesn't come back up?



Could be a problem there.
Festus

Social climber
Enron by the Sea
Jun 11, 2014 - 07:55pm PT
Ugh. Just hit Jon's link and read the article on the gondola project. I don't at all disagree about the dire need to help people in this area, with something besides coal, who have been economically screwed through no fault of their own, but...

R. Lamar Whitmer, managing partner of Confluence Partners, said over the last year and a half he believes opposition to the project from Navajos has lessened. In meetings with Navajo Nation lawyers, Whitmer said the lawyers said the Nation has every right to develop this area.

Whitmer goes on at length to talk about what the Navajo need and deserve, almost as if he's one of them and has lived in the area, but nothing could be further from the truth. Please Google him.

Confluence Partners will no doubt make a killing if this happens, but will it really do much to help the locals? I seriously doubt it, check the history and economic benefit of most indian casinos, the actual tribe (minus a few well paid off higher-ups) gets crumbs, most might get a crappy low wage job at best, and the developers and outside management team rake it in. The obscene trashing of a beautiful (sacred to some) and special place is actually a secondary issue to me. The fact that Confluence Partners is using the tribe as a pawn to cash in on this trashing, that's far and away the most obscene and unforgivable aspect of this whole sorry tale.
the albatross

Gym climber
Flagstaff
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 11, 2014 - 09:30pm PT
Thanks for all the comments, I'm pleased to see that people are discussing wild places and their need for preservation for future generations. I'm so thankful that our forefathers had the insight to protect some places for us to explore. Wilderness is a rapidly diminishing commodity and it vanishing at a frightening pace. I feel sorry for unborn youth who will not get the opportunity to experience adventure as we have and I apologize for my role in the destruction of the unknown.

Festus your writings bring up a number of pertinent topics I look to address when work is not so pressing. I appreciate your perspective on the importance of wild areas. Keep it coming our way.

From my limited experience with some traditional Dine men, I would caution us to be leery when we place our Western value system on a people who have live in an entirely different culture. We might consider that some of our neighbors do not worship money or status on FB. I understand the "need for jobs" in an "impoverished culture", but sometimes question if a job as a janitor wiping up the sh#t of fat Americans holds any more value then tending to a garden and raising sheep. I realize that a dozen or so folks stand to gain a ton of money if this project sees completion, but I tend to side with the hundreds of thousands of folks who will experience an incredibly wild place in its natural condition.


Long live the wilderness,
Albert
Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
Jun 14, 2014 - 08:15pm PT
The Colorado / Little Colorado is a special place. The fact that only a few rafters and fewer hikers visit it is what keeps it serene and special. A ridiculous tram, museum, and such would be a travesty.

Little Colorado near the Confluence
Little Colorado near the Confluence
Credit: Dave
Scott Patterson

Mountain climber
Craig
Jun 15, 2014 - 02:01pm PT
Seems like a pipe dream to me, the Navajo Nation boundary only goes to the edge of the canyon. The asinine Skywalk got built because the Havasupia Nation boundary includes actual canyon.

Actually both the Navajos and NPS have claim to the east side of Marble Canyon. Even the NPS says you have to get a Navajo permit to hike or backpack there (I don't think you need one to get to the confluence from the Beamer Trail though, but you do need a Navajo permit to hike or backpack on any NPS lands north of there; everything on the east side of the River). (PS, the Skywalk is actually on the Hualapai reservation rather than the Havasupai Reservation).

Canyon de Chelly is also a national monument, but you need an Native American guide to get to any of the hikes there other than a short trail (Navajos even live within the monument). A Native American guide is also required Navajo National Monument, though that one is low cost or free.

NPS lands within the reservation are not managed in the same way as other NPS lands.

So far the NPS seems to be remaining silent on the gondola proposal. I’ve been wondering if there is a conflict.

Hey, we took all of their land [...]
Ya.. the white man paves, pollutes and kills 99 percent of the north American ecosystem..But the Indian wants to build a Gondola and suddenly the Indian is desecrating holy places...
Bahahahaha
Stupid white idiots..
Edit: white men steam rolling the natives into this?
Like I said...greedy stupid white man...
Either way I stand with the native people....maybe its Donald Trump - I'll be glad to help scalp him and what ever the hell that thing in his head is...

For the record, the Navajos are relatively new comers to the region. They only arrived in the Southwest region (from Canada) less than 150-200 years before the Spanish. They didn’t arrive to area around Grand Canyon until ca. 1700 AD.

The Navajos actually forcefully took the land from the Pueblo, Utes/Paiutes, and Comanche through warfare and raids.

In that sense, what they did isn't that different from what the white man did other than there was 150-200 years between the two.

That doesn't somehow justify what the white man did, but white men weren't the only ones displacing former natives.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 17, 2014 - 09:52pm PT
https://rrfw.org/sites/default/files/documents/SecretaryJewell7-15-2014.pdf

The link above is an excellent letter sent to the Secretary of the Interior by the River Runner For Wilderness. This letter discusses the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement Act and how it may stop any development of the Escalade project to build a gondola to the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado. I read somewhere else that the government considers the reservation boundary to be 1/4 from the river, the Navajo Nation considers the boundary to be mean high mark of the river.
cali kat

climber
CA
Jul 19, 2014 - 10:57am PT
Has anyone assessed the impact of a tourist development on the rivers themselves? In the midst of this drought, are they going to be sucking away water for development? How much more crap will be in the water when the tourons have easy access to the river?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 19, 2014 - 09:09pm PT
Has anyone assessed the impact of a tourist development on the rivers themselves? In the midst of this drought,

I do not believe the tribe has water rights in the Colorado River. I have heard that the Hualapia tribe (further west) looked at the possibility of building a golf course on their reservation, but were denied water from the river. All the water for the National Park (north and south rim) comes from Roaring springs and is pumped up to the rims.

19 billion gallons of water flow through the canyon everyday (when the river is flowing at 30k cf/sec), almost all of it spoken for before it reaches Mexico.
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