The Grand Canyon is listed as a Park in Peril according to the National Parks Conservation Association. That’s because a proposed development near the park threatens water sources on the South Rim of the canyon. Arizona Public Radio’ Ryan Heinsius reports.
Hundreds of homes and thousands of square feet of commercial space are planned for the town of Tusayan at the edge of the National Park. But before that can happen, roads and infrastructure like utilities, have to be constructed on public land.
The Conservation Association wants President Obama to urge the U.S. Forest Service not to approve the work. It says the company, Stilo Development Group, may need to drill water wells to supply the project, and that would be detrimental to the Grand Canyon’s ecology.
Kevin Dahl is the Arizona senior program manager for the association.
“Where’s the water coming from, and what are we taking water away from? There are numerous fragile springs and side creeks, and also Havasu Creek, which is the entire water source for the Havasupai Indian Tribe. We don’t want those waters threatened,” says Dahl.
The National Park Service has also expressed concern about project. Stilo Development says it plans to be responsible and sustainable, even though it hasn’t yet identified a water source.
The company says the development will bring jobs and affordable housing to Tusayan, population less than 600.