Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Save the irreplaceable Grand Canyon and protect the magnificent Colorado River from damaging development.
The Grand Canyon, an irreplaceable national treasure, is being threatened with three enormous projects this year, each of which could permanently and negatively impact it. The development is, in part, intended to provide economic benefit for the Navajo nation, but more sustainable alternatives must be considered.
There is a $1 billion construction project called Escalade intended for the heart of the canyon that caters to the wealthy with boutique hotels, a restaurant complex and high-end stores. All of it is clustered around a gondola intended to transport people around the canyon. If that weren’t inappropriate enough, a district court judge denied a request to halt new uranium mining only six miles from the park’s south rim that could permanently pollute it. There is also an enormous projected expansion proposed for the tiny town of Tusayan that could noticeably deplete the available supply of groundwater. Three million square feet of retail construction to serve 2,200 homes is planned for Tusayan, a newly-incorporated village with a current population of 587. Both the magnificent Colorado River and the unique natural environment of the Grand Canyon are seriously threatened.
The Grand Canyon is a World Heritage Site. There is no higher recognition of value in the world. If anything deserves protection, it is this great natural monument and yet, it’s being threatened from all sides. These three enormous threats are obviously inappropriate for a great natural site deserving of preservation on a global scale. Four and a half million Americans visit this priceless landmark every year for a unique wild experience that will be gone if any of them is developed.
The Escalade project should be blocked and alternatives more suitable for sustainable economic development for the Navajo Nation should be considered. We can create opportunities for the Navajo that also protect the Colorado River and National Park resources. A permanent ban on mining near the canyon should be instituted and the Tusayan project should not proceed without a comprehensive review of local water resources. The Interior Department and the Obama Administration need to hear that certain projects don’t belong in the Grand Canyon.
Dear President Obama,
The Grand Canyon is a World Heritage Site and yet, it’s threatened with obviously inappropriate development on a scale that could permanently and negatively impact it. No site could be more honored than to be recognized as one of the most important sites in the world and yet, the Grand Canyon could be ruined by any one of three proposed projects. That makes no sense.
I recognize that the Navajo nation, having sustained endless injuries from the United States government, feels it is entitled to develop the canyon. Surely, a more appropriate and sustainable approach can be found than the Escalade project. There have to be projects that can bring some prosperity to the Navajo without “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs,” without destroying the experience of the canyon for future generations which the Escalade project would do. Uranium mining can poison the canyon forever and should not be conducted anywhere near the canyon or the river. Finally, the enormous development called Tusayan could seriously deplete the groundwater and negatively impact the Colorado River. It needs a complete investigation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mark Lellouch, National Park Service