Navajo Nation Council Fights Proposed Grand Canyon National Park Tram

A proposed tramway along the Grand Canyon trails and rivers is seeing some opposition. A panel consisting of members of the Navajo Nation Council is fighting against the construction of the tram and additional tourism development within a specific area where the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers meet.

The Arizona Daily Sun has reported that the Law and Order Committee unanimously protested against the Grand Canyon Escalade legislation in Flagstaff during a hearing at the Twin Arrows Casino Resort. While this doesn’t outright block the proposal to build the tram from moving forward in legislation, it does show that the project has had its detractors from the beginning.

The Navajo Nation Council’s argument is that the tram and further development would disrupt the tradition, customs, and nature they wish to maintain in the area. Navajo Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay Jr. argued, “Why can’t we invest back in our own culture, our traditional way of life?” The council isn’t against prosperity, but believes that increased tourism could negatively impact the environment and the preservation of culture within the indigenous communities.

On the opposing side, backers of the tram argue that building the tramway along the Grand Canyon National Park’s eastern ridge would benefit the local community. The project was originally pitched as a way to bring jobs and boost the economy in an otherwise jobless section of the reservation. They argued that the tram would allow the local economy to grow and have community members the opportunity to grow businesses for tourists as they conveniently travel on the tramway. The tram would also protect visitors from any incoming wet Grand Canyon weather, should they need to leave the area quickly.

Regardless of whether or not the project gets approved in the committees, legislation will go to the full council.