Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Making the Havasupai Land Use Plan; an outsider's view, 1975-82

The 1975 Act expanding the Havasupai's reservation contained several provisions which Park and Canyon advocates could legitimately claim to be concerned about. Creation of a Secretarial land use plan had the broadest impact. Specifically, the plan's uses were to be scrutinized closely to be sure they were not "inconsistent with or detract from park uses and values". I wrote the Park superintendent in Jan 1975 that that phrase meant he was the "on-the-spot guardian" and should have a say. I went on at length in my letter that any hunting should be rigorously limited, and prevented in the area of the Park that the Havasupai could use for traditional purposes. Regulations for that Use Area were solely under the Superintendent's jurisdiction. We remained jumpy about rumored hunting, though evidently without cause. 
We thought there should be trails and designated campsites, but were determined to discourage even small-scale commercial structures outside the two or three places the Havasupai might need them for their own purposes.

The Havasupai quickly formed a land-use committee to work with the BIA, and hired Joe Sparks, who had led the congressional effort, in March 1975 to advise on getting the plan drawn up, reviewed, and approved.