ARIZONA NEWS

National Forest fields 200,000 comments on Grand Canyon project

Jun 12, 2015, 3:30 PM | Updated: 3:30 pm

...

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Kaibab National Forest is sifting through more than
200,000 public comments that are mostly against an easement through the town of
Tusayan that would help make a development near the Grand Canyon possible.

Stilo Development Group USA wants to build homes, retail shops, hotels, and
cultural centers in the area, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. The easement would allow utilities to be installed and
improved along roads managed by the Forest Service.

Kaibab spokeswoman Jackie Banks said the scope of a review of environmental
impacts will be determined later this month, partially directed by the public
comments.

Supporters of the project were in the minority. Long-time Tusayan resident John
Dillon said in his letter to the forest service that the developer has
reasonable access to its holdings, but that the environmental impacts study
should be thorough.

“A full EIS will provide the greatest environmental protection to the Kaibab
National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park,” he wrote. “It will also help
to provide real and current answers to all the questions that have yet to be
satisfactorily addressed by both the Town of Tusayan and the developer.”

A law firm representing Stilo wrote a letter to the forest service saying
issues like water sources and impacts to the Grand Canyon are “unsubstantiated
assertions” that shouldn’t be part of the scope of the agency’s review.

The letter says the only issues that should be considered in the impact report
is how increased traffic will affect the area.

The letter also challenged comments that Grand Canyon National Park
Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said about the issue.

“Mr. Uberuaga’s comments erroneously assume that the (Kaibab National Forest)
has some obligation to manage the National Forest as a buffer zone for the Grand
Canyon National Park,” it said.

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National Forest fields 200,000 comments on Grand Canyon project