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County Board Of Supervisors Denies Bid For Two Guns Camping Site

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Jimmy Wayne | Creative Commons
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The Coconino County Board of Supervisors has rejected a bid to construct a large-scale resort east of Flagstaff and south of the Navajo Nation near Two Guns. 

Developer John Gunderman had proposed a luxury camping site with more than 770 lodging units. The Two Guns Resort was also slated to include water parks, a pet resort, and drive-in theater, among other amenities. The project, Gunderman estimated, would have required at least 150 full-time employees, along with seasonal and construction workers.

 

But county officials — and members of the public — had concerns regarding topics ranging from cultural awareness to public safety.

 

At a public hearing Wednesday, supervisors questioned Gunderman about a lack of evacuation plans, as well as fire department services. The Two Guns area does not have a fire district; the nearby city of Winslow declined to provide fire emergency services for Gunderman’s development.

 

Gunderman said he was in talks with Navajo Gaming officials about using fire services from the Twin Arrows Casino. No official agreement, however, had been reached. 

 

Supervisors also expressed concern that Gunderson had not conducted an archaeological survey of the area. 

 

County Supervisor Judy Begay questioned whether construction of a private establishment in the area could restrict Indigenous peoples' access to culturally significant and medicinal plants.

 

“Personally, I cannot approve knowing that’s part of my upbringing,” Begay said Wednesday. “I have a lot of respect for my people, and health practitioners, and the medicine men that are out there.”

 

A previous draft of Gunderman’s plans in December drew criticism for its stereotypical depictions of Indigenous peoples. While some thanked Gunderman for ultimately removing teepees and hogans from the resort plan, others were more critical.

 

“[The developer] did not drop the offending and insensitive use of Indigenous culture until … actually less than two days ago,” said Supervisor Patrice Horstman on Wednesday.

 

Gunderman says he reached out to local tribes in constructing a new plan; the Hopi Tribe has submitted a letter of opposition.

 

The Board of Supervisors denied the plan unanimously.

 

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