WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Latest on a proposal to build an aerial tram on tribal land at the Grand Canyon (all times local):
Members of the Navajo Nation Tribal Council voted down legislation to build an aerial tram to take paying visitors to a riverside boardwalk in the Grand Canyon.
The council voted 16-2 against the bill during a special session Tuesday in Window Rock, Arizona. It was the first time the full council had taken up the measure since it was introduced last year.
Some tribal delegates raised concerns about the development resulting in more public safety demands, while others questioned a $65 million investment that would be required by the tribe for roads, water, power lines and communications infrastructure.
Critics showed up to urge lawmakers to oppose the project. They have said the area is sacred and that the proposed development would mar the landscape.
A project that would build an aerial tram to take visitors to a riverside boardwalk in the Grand Canyon with stores, hotels and restaurants is up for a key vote Tuesday by tribal lawmakers who have been reticent to develop sacred land at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The special session is the first time the Navajo Nation’s full Tribal Council takes up the measure introduced last year.
It needs 16 votes to pass and has so far gotten a cold reception from lawmakers from the nation’s largest American Indian reservation.
The development on 420 acres of the reservation that borders Grand Canyon National Park requires a $65 million investment from the tribe for roads, water and power lines, and communications. The legislation prevents other development within a 15-mile radius and along access roads.
Critics showed up to urge lawmakers to oppose the project as discussion got underway Tuesday afternoon.