Saturday, July 7, 2018

Post-Postscript to "Beaver Falls Is In Grand Canyon National Park"

Krista Langlois and Amy Martin have offered their opinion that the boundary between Grand Canyon National Park and the Havasupai Reservation, where it crosses Havasu Creek, is "disputable". However, the documents generated during the legislative history of the 1975 Enlargement belie that opinion. 

The documents are clear that the boundary crosses at the upstream end, top, of Beaver Falls. From that location, the boundary goes in two straight lines, east-north-easterly and south-westerly respectively, to Ukwalla and Yumtheska Points. (See the maps in my previous posts.) That boundary was explicitly set by Congress so that the stretch of Havasu Creek known as Beaver Falls and the adjoining land on either side of the Creek would be retained in the National Park.

Any Park visitor travelling down the Colorado River who stops at the junction with Havasu Creek and walks upstream and visits Beaver Falls can take that trip entirely within the National Park. Visiting those Falls from the river therefore does not require any payment to the Havasupai. 

Since a Havasupai at Beaver Falls has been asking Park visitors up from the river to pay a fee, the Havasupai must somehow have forgotten or mislaid the documents relevant to their successful 1974-5 effort to have the United States repatriate a portion of their ancestral lands. Im sure they have and can consult such important material archived in Supai or some other appropriate place. 

Langlois and Martin make the point that Beaver Falls was part of ancestral Havasupai land. That is true, as it is for lands running east from Hualapai territory, down toward northern Arizona's great east-west travel corridor, past Flagstaff, and out into Navajo and Hopi lands, and including parts of the Grand Canyon below the rim (e.g., Indian Gardens) -- some million acres or so. 

However, the 1975 Act, in repatriating some of their ancestral land to the Havasupai, says about the remainder:  Sec. 10(f): "By the enactment of this Act, the Congress recognizes and declares that all right, title, and interest in any lands not otherwise declared to be held in trust for the Havasupai Tribe or otherwise covered by this Act is extinguished. Section 3 of the Act of February 26, 1919 (40 Stat. 1177; 16 U.S.C. 223), is hereby repealed." [That second sentence refers to how the Havasupai were dealt with in the original Grand Canyon National Park Act.]

Furthermore, the repatriated lands (those "held in trust"), except for uses specifically provided for by the Act or in the Havasupai's Secretarial Land Use Plan, "shall remain forever wild" (Sec. 10(b)7. Beaver Falls is nowhere mentioned in the exceptions -- for the simple reason that the Falls remained in the Park. 

Finally, I have a question about this whole matter. For decades following the 1975 Act, the Havasupai dealt with Beaver Falls as the Act intended, that is, they left that Park land alone. Just a few years ago, somehow they decided that Beaver Falls was not only not in the Park, but rather than being left "forever wild" should be tarted up and charged for. How come? What has led them to ignore the law they worked so hard for? Should we worry about other provisions of that law that protect access of "nonmembers of the tribe" to this National park?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Postscript to "Beaver Falls Is In Grand Canyon National Park"

There has been a response to my posts on Beaver Falls.

In "Outside Magazine Online", July 5, there is an article entitled "Sacred Native American Sites Are Not Your Playgrounds" by Krista Langlois. It begins with three paragraphs, copied at the end of this post.

Without giving in to the temptations offered by the writer's errors, I want to state again the truth (not a fake), the legal, legislated, fact that:
Beaver Falls and the land on either side are within Grand Canyon National Park.

The article says some river runners "circumvent" the Havasupai fee system by hiking up from the river. Given that river trips come from Lees Ferry, that is quite a circumvention. However, it is not, really, since river runners are within the Park from the Paria River to the Grand Wash Cliffs, including lower Havasu Creek (from the top of Beaver Falls) and the land adjoining it. Hikers to Beaver Falls up from the river do not owe any Havasupai fee since they are never on Havasupai land, never leave the Park.

The article links to my blog post (thank you very much), saying I am "disputing the park's boundary". Of course, I am really relating the Park's history, some of which seems to have slipped out of the institutional memory of the National Park Service, the Havasupai, and other involved parties. 

The rest of the article offers ways to reverence age-old attachments to the land, which those of us who are advocates of the National Park System, or just star-struck by this grand continent, can readily endorse.

Here is the article opening:

Deep in the Grand Canyon, on land that Havasupai Native Americans have called home for generations, is a place known as Beaver Falls. It’s an unimaginative name for an otherworldly landscape, where turquoise water tumbles over a series of terraces gouged into red desert walls. To legally reach the falls, you have to pay the Havasupai $140, hike ten miles to the tribe’s campground, then hike an additional four miles to the waterfall. The camping and hiking permits are one of the tribe’s few sources of revenue, and help ensure that Beaver Falls stays protected. 
Some Grand Canyon river runners, however, circumvent the permit system by hiking upstream from the river, without paying the Havasupai. In response, the Havasupai now station a ranger where their land meets National Park Service land, asking river runners to fork over $44 or else return to their rafts. 
It’s a fairly simple request, but some river runners are so upset they’ve begun circulating an obscure document disputing the park’s boundary, suggesting that rafters can freely hike to the falls despite the Havasupai's wishes.