Tuesday is the final day for the public to comment on a series of proposed road improvements on the Kaibab National Forest near the Grand Canyon. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, if approved, the work could pave the way for a large-scale development planned about a mile from the South Rim in the Town of Tusayan.
The project would take place on private property owned by the Italian company Stilo. It would include more than 2,000 homes and 3-million-square feet of commercial space. But the proposed development would only be accessible via Forest Service roads, and that agency would have to grant permission to Tusayan for the necessary upgrades.
Deirdre McLaughlin is a lands staff officer for the Kaibab National Forest.
“The analysis that the Forest Service intends to conduct with regards to this project will look at the effects of the developments of the private land on all of the surrounding lands. We will consider any issues raised by any individual,” McLaughlin says.
The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service along with several environmental groups oppose the development. They say it would be detrimental to the Grand Canyon’s ecology by tapping area aquifers. The company and Tusayan officials say the project will provide jobs and housing for residents of the town.
Forest officials will consider public comments and determine the level of environmental analysis required in order to make a decision —that could take at least a year.
For more info on the proposal, see the U.S. Forest Service website.
For the public comment page, see https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=46776.