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Havasupai Tribe Calls For Rejection Of Tusayan Development Proposal

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The Havasupai Tribe is calling on the U.S. Forest Service to again reject a large development proposal near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, tribal leaders say the proposed tourism and residential project represents a grave threat to water sources and sacred sites.

Havasupai Chairwoman Muriel Uqualla says the development would put the tribe’s main groundwater source in jeopardy. She also says the project would attract increased tourism to the area, which could damage the nearby Red Butte, one of the Havasupai’s most sacred areas, along with other cultural sites. The tribe wants Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provincio to reject road and utility construction through federal land that would allow the project to move forward.

The proposal by the Italian company Stilo would include more than 2,000 hotel rooms, restaurants, retail space and other development. A spokesperson says the commercial side of the project wouldn’t use groundwater, but hundreds of residential homes would tap into the aquifer.

The Kaibab National Forest rejected a similar plan from the company in 2016 over concerns it would negatively affect tribal lands and Grand Canyon National Park.

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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