I yesterday posted commentary and photos concerning the proposed tramway development on the Navajo Nation in the Grand Canyon (“Save the Confluence”). This tramway would carry tourists from the rim of the Canyon to within yards of the banks of the Colorado River, at the confluence with the Little Colorado River. The Navajo Nation boundary is the high-water mark of the Colorado River. While the tramway base terminal would be, strictly-speaking, on the reservation, it would be located about as close to the boundary with Grand Canyon National Park as you can get. It’s presence would, thus, intrude greatly on the wilderness of the river corridor.
Imagine your neighbor installing a heavy-use tourist attraction – let’s say a water park – right along his/her side of the property line. On your side is a garden that has provided you with many quiet and soulful moments. Well … that’s over. Actually, urban zoning would probably prevent your neighbor from putting in this kind of development. But, it appears, there is no such legal constraint on the Navajo Nation from installing a monstrosity – right along it’s property line – into the heart of the Grand Canyon.
Of course, there is a precedent for this sort of thing. It is the monstrous helicopter and pontoon boat operation that the Hualapai Tribe has installed in the lower Grand Canyon. In this instance, it is right up to – and over – the property line. The helipads are located within yards of the high-water mark; again, the boundary of the reservation. But, without the permission of the NPS, the Hualapais have constructed stairways and boat docks on the other side of the property line and in the National Park. For 3 miles along the river corridor, the helicopter clamor is insufferable. Floating through these 3 miles is an “Apocalypse Now” experience.
Can we possibly allow such to happen at the Confluence?
p.s. some of these photos will appear in my soon-to-be-published iBook: “The Grand, The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, a Photo Journey and Visual Guide”. This is a 2nd edition of my traditional book, that is now out-of-print. The book will be available through the iBookstore, for about $5.00.