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Kaibab Forest Managers Seeking Public Comment on Tusayan Road Easements


The initial public comment period has begun for a series of road improvements on the Kaibab National Forest in the Town of Tusayan. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius report, if approved it’ll pave the way for a large development project near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The land slated for development is surrounded by the Kaibab National Forest and only accessible via public roads. For the project to move forward, the Forest Service would have to grant the town of Tusayan permission to construct more roads and upgrade existing ones.

Deirdre McLaughlin is a lands staff officer for the Kaibab.

“We are looking for the public, we’re looking for them to comment on this. What are their thoughts, their ideas? What concerns they have about this proposal. This helps us to determine the level of analysis needed. We will be looking at the effects of the development on the private land as it relates to the surrounding land,” McLaughlin says.

The project by the Italian company Stilo would include more than 2,000 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space less than a mile from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The Park Service and environmental groups oppose the project for what they say will be detrimental effects on the Grand Canyon’s ecology. The company says it’ll provide jobs and housing for residents of Tusayan.

The Forest Service will hold three meetings next month and the initial public comment period lasts through June 2.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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