President of Navajo Nation opposes Grand Canyon Escalade project

The Save the Confluence group is urging Navajo Nation citizens to oppose a new bill in the Navajo Nation Council that revives the controversial Grand Canyon Escalade project. Photo from STC

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye remains opposed to a controversial development project on tribal land near Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

The $1 billion Grand Canyon Escalade has been pitched as a tourism and economic boost to the tribe. But Begaye, who said he opposed it when he was sworn into office in May 2015, hasn't changed his mind.

"Regarding the proposed Grand Canyon Escalade Project, I do not support it. I do not support the Escalade in the way it’s being presented. I oppose it," Begaye told The Arizona Daily Sun.

The project surfaced again this week when Navajo Nation Council Delegate Benjamin Bennett introduced Legislation 0293-16 to authorize an agreement between the Navajo Nation and a development group. The tribe would pitch in $65 million for "offsite infrastructure" near the Grand Canyon site if the bill becomes law.

Some Navajo citizens oppose the project out of fear it would harm sacred sites. The Save the Confluence group and the Bodaway/Gap Chapter have been speaking out against it. Environmental groups are also opposed.

Read More on the Story:
Escalade proposal to go before Navajo lawmakers (The Arizona Daily Sun 9/1)
Long-debated Grand Canyon Escalade project, with tram, hotels, will get hearing (The Arizona Republic 8/31)
Legislation revives Grand Canyon development question (High Country News 8/31)
Navajo lawmakers to consider Grand Canyon tram legislation (AP 8/31)

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