Press Release Aug 30, 2016

Navajo Nation Tribal Council Should Vote No to Escalade Proposal

We Have Opportunity to Protect Grand Canyon from Incompatible Development

BACKGROUND: Legislation was filed yesterday on behalf of Scottsdale developer Confluence Partners LLC to ask the Navajo Nation Tribal Council for approval to construct the Escalade resort hotel and aerial tramway at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers. This proposal would forever mar the majesty of the Grand Canyon and should be rejected outright.

The developer is planning to profit greatly from constructing a 420-acre resort including a hotel, restaurant and RV center, as well as a 1.4-mile tramway that would shuttle up to 10,000 visitors daily. Once again, this developer is trying to entice the Navajo Tribal Council to buy into this scheme with a $65 million investment of Navajo funds. The proposal was previously turned down due to concerns raised by the Navajo Department of Justice, and continues to be opposed by the current Navajo Administration.

Statement by Kevin Dahl, Senior Program Manager, Arizona Field Office, National Parks Conservation Association:

“National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) adamantly opposes this development. It would do irrevocable harm to the Grand Canyon’s natural and cultural resources.

“If this plan goes forward there will be huge environmental impacts, such as damage to Blue Spring from pumping groundwater and disposing sewage. The spring is the perennial source of water for the Little Colorado River and the only remaining breeding habitat for the endangered Humpback Chub fish. The resort would also bring noise and light pollution to one of the most isolated and pristine parts of the canyon.

“It is a spot visited by not only Native American tribal members, but by river runners and hikers of all backgrounds and faiths, who have experienced a profound reverence for this place which would be utterly destroyed by tramways full of sightseers.

“NPCA acknowledges the Navajo Nation’s sovereignty over development on their own lands, and we ask that they consider and support local Navajo residents’ opposition and respect the agreements they have made with other tribes to protect each other’s sacred sites. The Hopi and Zuni asked the Navajo to oppose this plan and stand firm in their tribes’ opposition to the destructive proposal.”

Time is of the essence for concerned citizens nationwide to join NPCA and submit comments calling for the Navajo Nation Tribal Council to say NO to the Escalade development proposal.

The deadline is this Saturday, September 3.

Comments may be emailed to: comments@navajo-nsn.gov