Grand Canyon, AZ: Gondola??

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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
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Feb 6, 2014 - 03:04pm PT
The Grand Canyon can be preserved in perpetuity if people with guns are allowed to kill shiht in there.
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.
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