Grand Canyon Under Siege

Proposed aerial tramway to the bottom of Grand Canyon

Two massive developments have been proposed that would forever change the character of Grand Canyon. One is in the gateway village of Tusayan, just south of the South Rim, and the other is near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers, at the eastern end of the Grand Canyon. While neither development would be in the national park, both would have significant impacts on the Grand Canyon.

The massive housing and retail development at Tusayan has no source of water other than pumping groundwater from 4,000 feet down or hauling it in by tank truck from the towns along I-40, 50 to 80 miles to the south. That deep water table expresses itself as numerous springs and perennial creeks within the desert interior of the Grand Canyon, and provide essential water sources for plants and animals. Pumping large amounts of water from this deep aquifer would certainly reduce or eliminate the flow of the water sources. The massive influx of people would put even more strain on overtaxed park roads and facilities, which are in need of more that $320 million of repairs.

Grand Canyon Escalade would consist of an entirely new rim village and an aerial gondola to the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. A developer from Scottsdale, Arizona is behind this proposal, which would be built on the Navajo Indian Reservation (the reservation includes the far eastern rim of Grand Canyon and the canyon itself down to the east bank of the Colorado River.) Some of the tribal government appears to be in favor of the Escalade project, but nearly all of the Navajo who live in the area are opposed, as well as the nearby Hopi Tribe and the National Park Service. Proponents argue that the tram would allow people to experience the wild Grand Canyon, but what they don't realize or more likely, don't care about, is that the development would destroy the wilderness character of the area, which is one of the most remote and undisturbed portions of the canyon. At present, access is via 35 miles of rough dirt road and there's no water or power at this remote site.

For more information, check these links:

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. -Theodore Roosevelt