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Opposition to Proposed Development Near Grand Canyon

PHOTO: The U.S. Forest Service is fielding thousands of public comments opposing a proposed housing and retail development within a mile of the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park. Photo credit Town of Tusayan, Arizona.
PHOTO: The U.S. Forest Service is fielding thousands of public comments opposing a proposed housing and retail development within a mile of the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park. Photo credit Town of Tusayan, Arizona.
June 9, 2015

TUSAYAN, Ariz. – A proposed housing and retail development in the small town of Tusayan, near the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, continues to draw opposition.

Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, says the U.S. Forest Service has received more than 200,000 public comments opposing the approval of roads and infrastructure that would enable a residential development to be built within a mile of the park boundary.

"It will harm the canyon," says Bahr. "It will affect water in the springs and seeps in Grand Canyon, as well as some of the creeks if they indeed pump ground water for this development, which they've said they could."

Bahr says there also are concerns the development could add more car and airplane traffic, as well as light and noise pollution to Grand Canyon National Park. She adds that the project cannot be built in its current form without Forest Service approval.

Tusayan Mayor Greg Bryan says a major goal of the project is to provide affordable housing for town residents who now live on land owned by several companies, making home ownership nearly impossible. He adds that Tusayan has a long history of conserving water and doing its best to protect the Grand Canyon.

"We're here for one reason, and that's Grand Canyon National Park," he says. "That is the golden goose, and we're not about to foul that nest and ruin the experiences our guests from around the world come to and enjoy."

Bryan says the proposed development would add hundreds of new homes and 200,000 square feet of retail space.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ