Thursday, August 10, 2017



When Congress passed the 1975 Grand Canyon National Park (and Havasupai Reservation) Enlargement Act, it documented its decision that Beaver Falls should be left in the Park, not added to the Reservation, as I have documented in posts dealing with the Act’s history.

In the past few years, the Havasupai have occupied Beaver Falls, established facilities there, and (at least at times) assigned a ranger to patrol the area. There have been incidents reported where the Havasupai ranger has asked hikers up from the river (always on Park land) to pay a fee to enjoy those Falls.

Someone has posted on the Lees Ferry bulletin board the following unsigned, unattributed, undated notice:

It reads: “NOTICE
If you choose to hike from the river to Beaver Falls, at Havasupai, you are entering Havasupai lands. The Havasupai are currently staging a ranger at Beaver Falls to collect entrance fees of $44.00 per person.”

Lets be clear: A hike from the river up Havasu Creek to and along Beaver Falls to their upstream end is entirely within Grand Canyon National Park. This is NOT Havasupai land. It is quite possible to visit the length of Beaver Falls without entering the Havasupai’s lands. No Havasupai ranger has jurisdiction over the Falls or the power to charge any fee to visit those Falls.

The Park Service should immediately remove this erroneous anonymous notice from Lees Ferry. It should notify river runners that Beaver Falls is within the Park, and no fee is owed to the Havasupai by any visitor coming up Havasu Creek from the Colorado to visit Beaver Falls. The Havasupai should be notified to end their unauthorized, illegal occupation of Beaver Falls, and not to interfere with Park visitors.

The Hualapai and the River — Then And Now: In two parts; Part 2

The second of a two-part review of aspects of Hualapai activities focussed on the part of the Colorado River that flows past their lands in the Grand Canyon.

SO, “NOW”.
The Hualapai, working with Las Vegas enterprises, have indeed come to see recreation (industrial mass tourism, that is) as the primary way for their reservation to provide them with an economic base, that goal they have been pursuing since 1883. I would like to consider these works more fully in another place, for they embody a more or less successful realization of their vision.

The Hualapai and the River — Then And Now: In two parts; Part 1

 First of a two-part review of aspects of Hualapai activities focussed on the part of the Colorado River that flows past their lands in the Grand Canyon.

“THEN” is 50 years ago, at the peak of the congressional decision-making as to whether dams should be built in the Grand Canyon.

“THEN” could extend back 30 years further, when Hualapai interests were first engaged by the possibilities for their economy that arose from Hoover Dam’s reservoir, Lake Mead. In 1934, Hualapai activist Fred Mahone wrote up a plan for access and recreation projects utilizing Mead. (My summary is at The Tribal Council and the BIA did not approve.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dam Press 1966: The Target Is The Sierra Club

Arizona newspapers did of course report on the events of the 1966 Colorado River Basin legislative struggle. In addition, or even as part of their reportage, they published material aimed at blunting, denying, and countering information put out by the anti-dam forces, in particular, the Sierra Club. These published pieces deserve their own display, in part because they were not central to events, but a side flow — this was the Arizonans’ preaching to their own choir. What I present here is a judicious selection and editing in order to provide a sense of what being so relentlessly targeted was like.

The pieces come mostly from Phoenix’s Arizona Republic (Rep) and Gazette (Gaz), Tucson’s Daily Star and Citizen (Cit)

This intense dis-informative coverage in my files starts with the “invasion” of Arizona by the Club and the Reader’s Digest in late March 1966.

24 Mar, Rep: “Sierra Club Prepares A ‘Low Blow’ at CAP” speaks of the Club’s fight “to scuttle the Central Arizona Project dams”. Reader’s Digest was sponsoring a workshop on the brink of the Grand Canyon. An R.D. representative was in Phoenix “issuing hurried invitations” to Arizonans to take part in the sessions to “explore possibilities of destruction of the Grand Canyon”. The Club’s Brower will moderate. The Club was the conference promoter, and the format was heavily weighted toward its point of view. The RD rep said newsmen and western officlals had been invited. They would be flown in and taken to the workshop. Goldwater was unable to come. The RD rep had contacted the CAP’s chief lobbyist, R Johnson, for help. Johnson was bringing several other pro-dam Arizonans, interested in “balanced development”. 

The AP version of this story ran in several state newspapers.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Press reports on 1965 hearings: Aug-Sep

Before I started in January 1966 as the Sierra Club Southwest Representative, much groundwork had been done on Colorado River legislation. The Supreme Court had affirmed Arizona’s water rights to Colorado River water. In response, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall had overseen the development of a grand plan — the Pacific Southwest Water Plan — to satisfy Arizona and as well set the stage for avoiding water shortages looming in the Southwest’s future. Senator Hayden was once again ready to move a CAP bill, but set it aside to let the House, a more refractory setting, see what it could come up with. H.R. 4671, the Arizona bill from Representative Morris Udall, was worked on in 1965 under the guiding hand of Wayne Aspinall’s House Interior Committee.
  The only press clippings I have from this period come from the end of the hearings before the Reclamation Subcommittee, when anti-dam testimony was heard. This recounting then is only a fragment of what must have been a time of vigorous discussion on how to get the seven Colorado Basin states into agreement.

31 Aug, Phoenix Gazette (AP): “Conservationists Attack Dam Plans” started off by reporting the testimony of C. Callison of Audubon and Sierra Club Executive Director David Brower and Editor H. Nash. They argued that dams were not needed because coal-fired electric plants could produce cheaper power. Callison urged that Marble Canyon be added to the national park; a dam would diminish river flow, altering one of the earth’s grandest areas of scenic beauty. The lower dam at Bridge Canyon would be “an outright invasion of the national park principle by backing water into the existing park”. Nash testified that boat trips through the Canyon would be virtually impossible, because of the difficulties presented by a dam in Marble.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dam Battle - December 1966 Press

1 Dec, Los Angeles Times, repeats Grand Junction Sentinel story of 28 Nov on possible use of thermal power for CAP.

2 Dec, Republic, article “Moving of Water Termed ‘a Folly’” reports “blunt” statement by Washington state water official, R. Tinney in front of a national Food & Fiber Commission: “transporting water long distances was transferring major income without specific social objectives”. Not a proper economic action for the federal government to subsidize such water movement. It would help Washington’s steel industry to subsidize movement of iron ore from Minnesota, but it is not clear that would be for the nation’s general good. Tinney said, the Southwest’s “enthusiasm for irrigation has led to many excesses”, such as exploitation of ground water. When the water table drops, the local community expects their water to be replenished. Tinney was praised for his report and “courage in giving it in Arizona”.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dam Battle - November 1966 Press

2 Nov, Sentinel, editorial: Currently Colorado River Basin (CRB) bill is in stalemate, with much finger pointing now. Backers should have listened to Chm. Aspinall. Upcoming meetings will provide chance to explore solutions.

4 Nov, Salt Lake Tribune, editorial: Nat. Reclamation Assoc.(NRA) should be complimented for inviting Brower to speak at its convention Nov 19. His arguments should be heard in an open meeting, where they can be answered, as they will be by Cong. Udall. CRB proponents will have to do more than call him uncomplimentary names to get their program passed. We hope that the Sierra Club will do likewise at one of their public meetings. [We already had, inviting Udall to speak at the Santa Fe Conference on a topic of his choice, which turned out to be the proposed Sonoran Desert National Park.]