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Forest Service Accepts Application For Tusayan Development

Ryan Heinsius

The U.S. Forest Service has accepted an application for a large development project near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It follows the rejection of a similar proposal in 2016. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

According to Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provencio, the Town of Tusayan and the Italian developer Stilo have met the minimum requirements for the application to be considered. In a letter to the town’s outgoing mayor, Craig Sanderson, Monday, Provencio says the newest proposal addresses some previous concerns about the development’s water use. However, she says the Forest Service is still uncertain about Stilo’s plan to truck in water and how it’ll ultimately address sewage at the site.

The project would include hotels, shopping areas and other tourist amenities miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The Forest Service would first have to approve road and utility construction on public lands.

Tribes, conservationists and a former superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park have opposed the project, saying it would threaten water in the Grand Canyon.

A Kaibab spokesperson cautions that accepting the application doesn’t mean the project will be given the green light, and officials will conduct a full review including an environmental analysis.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered 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 Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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