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.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments