Friday, June 28, 2013

Its time to lay down the line…or toe it.

My entry of 22 July 2012 argues that the western Navajo boundary abutting Grand Canyon National Park runs along the river banks at the water's edge between its crossing of the Little Colorado, to its confluence with the Colorado, and on up river to Navajo Bridge.

However, "knowledgeable sources assert", as a journalist might say, that the line is set back from the river, perhaps even ¼ mile from the left bank of the Colorado & the right bank of the Little Colorado. Indeed, some suggest that the Park and the National Park Service have some sort of jurisdiction right up to the rim and beyond. 

Now it is true that the official NPS map office does misleadingly show the boundary up on the rim, since Congress once proposed putting it there if the Navajo agreed, which they havent. Maybe that is why I keep hearing rumors that NPS does make claims for lands across the rivers. This disinformation has infected some defenders of the Park, and perhaps might even have reached GCNP Superintendent David Uberuaga. 

If so, then with the Escapade scheme of Phoenix developers slithering its way through the insides of Navajo Nation institutions, I suggest it is time for NPS to step up to the line, stake its claim -- or shut up about it. 

Here is a simple, cost-effective way for the Superintendent and any supporters of a ¼-mile or a rim boundary to back up their opinion, spelled out as a press release:

GCNP Superintendent to Inspect Site of Canyon Tramway Scheme

On July 4, the Superintendent will lead a delegation of Park officials, invited guests, and media down the Colorado River to its Confluence with the Little Colorado. They will disembark on the east side of the river in order to examine the locations that would be affected by the tramway  plans to deliver thousands of visitors to this unique and fragile beauty spot of the inner Grand Canyon.

The Superintendent and his Park Rangers will set five posts along the area with official NPS signs saying that the land within ¼ mille of the river is within the Grand Canyon National Park under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Photographs will be taken. The Superintendent and selected guests will offer brief remarks on the environmental and scenic degradation the tramway scheme would bring if carried out. The Superintendent will also address ways of insuring that river and hiking use to this area of the Park will not degrade the environment.

Prior to the inspection, the Superintendent will hold a press conference at Desert View to explain the purpose of the trip to publicize and reinforce Park jurisdiction over a threatened part of the Grand Canyon. Navajo chapters neighboring the Park will be notified and invited.

At the completion of the trip, the Park will host a public gathering at the Canyon rim with the  theme "The Confluence Belongs to the People".


  1. Replies
    1. No, even with further prodding, NPS stayed aloof. The matter of this boundary remains problematic.
      Of course, as far as the tramway/rim development, the ownership of the land no longer matters, since the Navajo government rejected the proposal last year. I hope that is the final word on such ideas.