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Environmental Groups Urge Rejection Of Latest Tusayan Development Proposal

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Environmental groups are urging the U.S. Forest Service to again reject a large development proposal near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It follows the denial of a similar plan three years ago. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

The Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club and others wrote a letter this week to Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provincio. They say the project’s residential water use would threaten delicate springs on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim as well as the Havasupai Tribe’s sole water source. In addition, they worry the development would harm animal habitat and bring thousands of additional visitors to the sensitive area.

"It would really commercialize the entryway and the surrounding area of the Grand Canyon … There would be so much new development that it would … really stress the infrastructure of Grand Canyon National Park which is already aging," says Grand Canyon Trust staff attorney Michael Toll.

A spokesperson for the Italian developer Stilo says the letter contains numerous inaccuracies. In addition, after consulting several stakeholders the company is considering some revisions to the proposal but didn’t elaborate.

Stilo recently resubmitted a road and utility permit proposal to the Forest Service. It wants to build thousands of hotel rooms, retail space, restaurants, and other development in the Town of Tusayan near the park.

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Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom 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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