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.
- 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.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon