Indian Country Today summarizes Grand Canyon Escalade plans

The Navajo Nation’s proposal to build a multi-million-dollar resort at the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers in northern Arizona has raised environmental and cultural concerns. The 420-acre tourist attraction would include a hotel, restaurants, and a gondola tramway from the rim of the Grand Canyon to an elevated river walk on the canyon floor.

Proponents of the project say it will create jobs, monitor and protect sacred sites and generate revenues for rehabilitation of the Bennett Freeze area. Opponents, which include the Hopi Tribe and Grand Canyon Trust, cite the sacred nature of the confluence, the threat to specific sacred sites and the appropriate conditions for religious activities and the fact that this is not an economic development plan that was created by or would necessarily benefit local residents.

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High Country News: Don’t bring Vegas to the Grand Canyon

Let’s not bring Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

Critique of a developer’s plan to haul tourists on a tramway to the Colorado River.

Op-Ed: Mar 11, 2014

By Carolyn Hopper

Last June I was lucky enough to join a raft trip through the Grand Canyon. The experience was extraordinary.

The river was a cold, clear green, the result of Glen Canyon Dam holding back its silt. A couple of days and 62 miles into our float journey, we arrived at a magical place known as the Confluence, where the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers meet, a place that’s been designated a world heritage site.

There, a sweep of layered, multi-colored stone steps away in mesas toward the canyon rim, 4,000 feet above us and less than a mile away. It is a view comparable to a cathedral’s brilliant red and blue windows.

But there are plans to “improve” it.

Read Hopper’s full article at,


“Does anyone else see the million red flags flapping briskly in the wind?”


Rita Bilagody, long-time Bennett Freeze activist from Tuba City, penned a letter to this week’s Navajo Times about the proposed Grand Canyon Escalade contract.

The following paragraphs were pulled out from Bilagody’s  letter, which is available at,

President Shelly is ready to find a delegate to sponsor legislation to push a “Master Agreement” that has been “finalized” and “everything is ready” but in the next breath it is admitted that “it needs investors” and (to make things worse) they are “unaware” if the supposed Confluence Partners LLC has lined up the capital. Continue reading

Tome: Escalade contract is ready for council’s eyes without the $120 million

There should be some movement on the proposed $120 million Grand Canyon Escalade resort this quarter, revealed Deswood Tome, special adviser to President Ben Shelly, in an interview last week.

Tome said a master agreement has been finalized between the Navajo Nation and developers Confluence Partners LLC, and now needs a stamp of approval from the Navajo Nation Council before it goes forward.

“We’ve got everything ready and are just looking for a delegate willing to sponsor the legislation,” Tome said.

The project also needs investors, and Tome said he’s not aware whether Confluence Partners has managed to line up the capital. Shelly has said in previous interviews he will back the project only if it is funded and has community support.

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Preserving the East Rim of the Grand Canyon