Tuesday, May 22, 2018


You want to take a river trip through the Grand Canyon.
You want to stop at the confluence with Havasu Creek, and walk upstream to Beaver Falls.
You want to visit and walk about at Beaver Falls, the farthest downstream of the beautiful Havasu waterfalls.
You want to keep within the National Park.   And you can.    

And are legally entitled to:

The Park Enlargement Law of 1975 included Beaver Falls in the National Park since “in order to assure their protection as part of the national park” the precise boundary is to “cross upstream from the falls”.

Below are scans of the legal items that protect and insure your right to visit Beaver Falls as part of your trip in Grand Canyon National Park, a right Havasupai officials may not stop you from or charge you a fee for exercising.

  I. Public Law 93-620, Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act, p. 3, Sec. 10(a)
    describes the relevant Park boundary in words.
 II. Boundary Map 113 20-021 B, Dec 74, Grand Canyon National Park
     shows the boundary on the official legislated map. It is hard to read; the following 

     documents therefore make the crossing point clear, as does the Item V map.
III. Report, Committee on Interior & Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, No. 

     93-1374, September 24, 1974, Section-by Section Analysis of S. 1296, as 
     Recommended: Sec.10, p.11 states the “precise” point, underlined in gray, where the
     Park boundary crosses Havasu Creek, upstream from Beaver Falls, as approved by 
     the U.S. House of Representatives.
 IV. Conference Report [To accompany W. 1296], ENLARGING THE GRAND CANYON
      NATIONAL PARK, December 17, 1974, (3) Havasupai Reservation Enlargement, 

      p. 6 states that the boundary crosses Havasu Creek at the top of Beaver Falls, 
      underlined in gray, as agreed to by the House and the Senate, then signed by the 
      President on January 3, 1975.
  V. Map, Secretarial Land Use Plan for the Havasupai Indian Reservation, 

      March 23, 1982 shows the boundary, in agreement with the official map, as drawn
      and approved for the Secretarial Land Use Plan for the Addition to the Havasupai 
      Indian Reservation.

Item I.
1975 Act: Title; Boundary Map named

1975 Act: Sec. 10. (a) Reservation Boundary Line

Item II.
Official Boundary Map (lower right quarter)

Item III.
House report, title page

House report: Precise crossing above Beaver Falls:

Item IV.
Conference report:  title page

Conference report page 6: top of falls

Item V.
Map in 1982 Secretarial Land Use Plan for Havasupai Reservation
Park (GCNP) above dashed line; Reservation (HIR) below.
Yumtheska Pt  (YUM) to left, Ukwalla (UKW) to right


  1. Thanks Jeff...
    Perhaps the current Park administration should take note.

  2. As an NPS employee who works in this specific area, i would urge you to look closely at the map that you have provided as your evidence. The topo map shows that Lower Beaver Falls is in park land, but upper Beaver Falls is squarely in Havasupai land. When you do the up and over hike from the creek, you enter tribal land, which, as we charge to enter GCNP, the tribe reserves the right to charge visitors to their land.

    1. Thanks for this comment. I will write a blog entry to deal with it more fully. But in brief, the reason that the wording was needed in the congressional documentation is just because the official map (and the later BIA map based on it) is not on a detailed enough scale to make the crossing point clear. I can only surmise that the error about the crossing point arose because various cartographers (starting in the 1980's) did not do due diligence, and were therefore ignorant of congressional intent as expressed in the documents I reproduce in this entry. In this case, words speak more loudly than pictures (map).

  3. Amy
    The maps the Park sent me(beaver falls) are not correct as far as I can tell. The Park is recognizing a boundary that does not exist. Jeff is the expert. If one reads the legal description in the 1975 enlargement act you will see that it is not specific enough to draw boundaries as some cartographer took liberty at doing. In this case one mustlook at the intent of the legislation as Jeff has done. Pretty Obvious that all of Beaver falls was intended to be in the Park. How do we get it corrected?
    wally rist

  4. Was this not ALL tribal land prior to the enlargement act? Who GAF about the border? Why not just pay the Havasupai the money? If you can afford a guided rafting trip down the Grand Canyon you should be able to afford $45 to visit Beaver Falls. The Havasupai sure as hell aren't getting rich off it. One trip in to Supai and you can see that.

  5. All the land from the Grand Canyon south toward what is now I-40 was Havasupai land in the years before whitefolk arrived. The 1975 Enlargement Act had to deal with the changed situation created by United States when it set up the National Forest and National Park, in the process, doing a taking of almost all Havasupai patrimony. Land was not just simply returned to the Havasupai; it was complicatedly returned to the Havasupai, with many requirements to satisfy those who -- Rightly -- believed the land to be of the highest Park quality. One of those requirements was to set the boundary crossing at the top of Beaver Falls. Others set the boundary on the Great Thumb back 1/4 mile from the rim, and tangled up access to adjoining parts of the Park. Etc. The Havasupai accepted these conditions and compromises, in return for repatriation of a chunk of their pre-whitefolk lands.
    So we have a law, we have a Havasupai-written land use plan, we have people who cherish the Grand Canyon, we have people who wish to visit the place. The idea of all that legalistic apparatus is to guide decision-making and activities by all parties -- to protect what the Havasupai accomplished for themselves, and to protect the values and appropriate uses of the Grand Canyon as a place of world-wide worth.

  6. The map seems like a rather important part of your research, yet the image you post as the "Official" map is a low-resolution scan of what is clearly labeled a half-sized reproduction.

    The real map would seem to be an important piece of evidence given the legislative language, and incorporation by reference into the act itself.

    Why not post a higher-resolution copy? Have you obtained one?

    One would also assume the reservation line is monumented. Where are the markers on the ground?

    There's that saying about strong claims needing strong evidence... taking a viewpoint on a boundary which contradicts that of the NPS would seem to be such a situation.

  7. The actual official map is pretty low-resolution, and I have never seen a cleaned-up version. The "official" map by the NPS Cartographer does not match the congressional map in a number of places, and that office keeps confidential the documents etc they used to justify their choices. I have, in my various posts under the tab "Boundaries" tried to track down and explain in a public way how the line runs.
    I have reproduced parts of the congressional map in various posts.

    Because the scale of the Act's map is so large and the line is not aimed at being precise to the point of being capable of being referrable to exact features, we end up trying to explicate it using words, which is the case for the line coming from Ukwalla Point across the top of Beaver Falls to Yumtheska Point.

    I have no idea if the reservation is monumented. The description of the line as "1/4 mile from the rim" boggles the mind as far as putting down any markers -- which was never intended anyway. Everybody was supposed to cooperate and get along, under the guidance of the Secretary of the Interior.
    And to return to your last point: I agree, but since NPS keeps its evidence "confidential", I can only describe and write about what I know, remember, and have documentation for. So I am confident about the Reservation boundary crossing at the top, upstream end of Beaver Falls being pretty solid.