Local News

Grand Canyon National Park, the Havasupai Tribe, and the Sierra Club Attempt to rescue Tusayan

November 6, 2011

by Mike Scerbo

Opposition to the recently passed Stilo land use plan is not going away. The Havasupai Tribe, the Sierra Club, and Grand Canyon National Park are deeply concerned about a land use plan that could dry up water supplies, destroy animal habitats, and scar the landscape with parking garages and RV Parks.

At the November 2nd, Town Council Meeting, Tribal Attorney Helen Burtis vowed to fight on if  Stilo's plans are to grab the Tribe's groundwater, "Infringing upon those rights will not be taken lightly by the tribe." To date Stilo has not said where it plans to get the water.

The Grand Canyon national park is very worried by Stilo's silence because tapping groundwater reserves could also dry up the springs that feed the Grand Canyon. Park Superintendent David Uberuaga tried to get his questions answered at the November 2nd Town Council meeting. Mayor Greg Bryan responded, "We're taking input from you, we're not going to respond to questions."

Uberuaga wasn't backing down. he stated, "Under the agreement the developer will be allowed to drill wells. I understood in prior conversations that they would not be drilling wells." Uberuaga also said, under the agreement Stilo would not be compelled to set aside land for schools. He calls that situation, "unfortunate."

Uberuaga also sent the town another letter outlining his concerns and Stilo's lack of a specific response. . Here is a link to that letter.

Just prior to the vote, the Sierra Club wrote an open letter to the council that stated, " Careful planning can create a beautiful, comfortable, safe, and environmentally sensitive place to live. Poor planning can lead to empty buildings, water supply problems, and, even worse, negative impacts on some very important neighbors.  Please work together and plan carefully."

Despite the plea, the plan was approved.