There’s tension in Northern Arizona over a proposed tourist attraction on the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon.
“It’s a 420-acre development,” said Lamar Whitmer of Confluence Partners, L.L.C., the company that would develop the Grand Canyon Escalade. “The primary will be a gondola tram that will take visitors from the rim of the canyon to the canyon floor.”
The project will also include a walkway and food pavilion at the bottom of the canyon, and hotels, restaurants (including fast food) and an R.V. park on the canyon rim.
The proposed project is near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers, but it’s a problem for Navajos.
“The medicine men do their prayers at the edge where the confluence is, where the waters overlap. It’s sacred to them,” said Franklin Martin of the group Save the Confluence.
The group’s Leonard Sloan said that there are things that “you can’t sacrifice,” and this area of the Grand Canyon is one of them.
“People who have never been out here have never seen the view from the canyon, what it means,” he said. “They’ve never seen it. That’s why they want to get rid of it.”
Sloan called the developers “greedy” and “money hungry people.”
“They want to take it,” he said. “That’s stupid.”
But Whitmer contends that it’s the Navajo Nation that will get the economic boost from Escalade.
“At build-out, we anticipate 2,000 direct jobs, and there will be a spinoff benefit of another 1,500 jobs,” he said. “The Navajo Nation will receive substantial revenue off of this.”
Whitmer estimated the economic boost to be around $160 million per year.
As for the project interfering with a “sacred” place, Whitmer said Escalante will have no access to the confluence of the rivers and will about three football fields away from it. He believes that this is no different than the area around Canyon de Chelly, where there has been development near a site that is also considered sacred.
Whitmer said his company is willing to work with the Navajos to address their concerns.
Confluence Partners hopes to have Grand Canyon Escalade operating by 2016.
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.