The Tusayan Town Council Thursday unanimously approved a road easement proposal that could eventually allow a large development project near the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the tourism and residential plan would include thousands of hotel rooms along with restaurants, shops and other amenities.
The new plan would move two proposed roads through Forest Service land that are needed to access the property owned by the Italian company Stilo Development Group. They would align with existing forest roads and only one would be paved. A previous version of the plan proposed two paved roads.
Brady Harris is the Tusayan Vice Mayor and says it would lessen the impacts on public lands.
"How do we keep the balance between progress and preservation? There is a need for it. We have seen visitation to the park exponentially increase. But visitation to the area in Tusayan has remained the same because there is no room for development," he says.
Tusayan’s proposal will now be submitted to the Kaibab National Forest for consideration. A similar plan was returned in 2016 over concerns about its effects on the Grand Canyon and other area lands.
Conservationists have long fought the project and say it would have detrimental effects on the Grand Canyon’s watershed and environment and would overwhelm park infrastructure.