Friday, June 28, 2013

GCNP Boundary: B.(cont) NO Eastern Boundary

Posting the entry yesterday on the Park's river boundary in the western Canyon led me to think a bit more critically about exactly what legally defines the Park's boundary in the eastern Canyon. These points occurred to me:

1. The 1975 GCNP Enlargement Act abolished Marble Canyon National Monument.
2. The Act placed a "proposed" boundary subject to Navajo "approval" & "concurrence" on Marble's eastern rim and further south.
3. The Navajo have not so far concurred or approved. The 1975 Act, that is, made no change, no change whatsoever, in the Navajo western boundary. The easement concept is NOT in the 1975 Act. 
4. So: where is the Park boundary? At this point I am ready to argue that there is NO Park boundary (in the sense of a line) for the eastern, left-bank, side of the Grand Canyon from the LCR to Navajo Bridge.
   In other terms, the Park boundary is "undefined" or "undetermined".

5. However, the western Navajo boundary is describable, and the arguments in my 22 July 2012 post place it along the edge of the water/ on the east & north river banks. 
6. So we can say the Park includes the lands and waters of the Canyon over to the western Navajo boundary and by default that boundary becomes the eastern Park boundary or at least defines the extent of the "lands and waters" included in the Park. 

7. Some dispute that the western Navajo boundary is on the water/shore line, which is another way of saying that the boundary has not been taken to a final adjudication or negotiated to an agreement between the Navajo and the Fed.

8. Unless and until there is final resolution, we can only say with certainty that the Park includes the water surface of the rivers from Navajo Bridge to the point where the boundary crosses from the north side of the Little Colorado to run south. 
9. Since the Park did not include the land north and east of the confluence before the 1975 Act, and since the 1975 Act only proposed a boundary to include that land, the Park cannot have any jurisdiction of any kind on the area north and east of the confluence. 

10. In conclusion, we have an undefined eastern Park boundary and a disputed (by some) western Navajo boundary between Navajo Bridge and where the line goes south from the north bank of the Little Colorado. 


  1. The BIA shapefile (2015) from shows the water's edge as the eastern boundary however, the TIGER line shapefile for AINA tribal lands (2014)shows the canyon rim. The intervening cliffs I guess I'll label as "disputed boundary". Thanks for your contributions via this blog

  2. Im glad that the BIA data is on the water's edge; that I believe is the soundest position this confusing matter can resolve into.
    I wonder if the TIGER/AINA (not familiar with them) is taking the position that NPS does: Congress said that maybe, IF the Navajo agree (they havent and wont), the land between rim and river can go into the Park. So NPS mapmakers claim, that is all they need to show the land in the Park on their maps. Which is really unfortunate for anybody wanting to, say, hike across or along that strip -- whom are they to check with? At least, NPS could have shown that the rim-to-river strip is only "potentially" in the Park. They should make it clear that use of that strip is in the hands of the Navajo, though it seems not to matter, since unlike the Hualapai, the Navajo do not seem concerned about hiking and such.