Grand Canyon Development Plans Spark Dispute Among Navajo

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Developers Confluence Partners want to provide the more than 5 million annual visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park with a new 420-acre attraction. Their plans for the canyon's rim include a multimedia complex with an IMAX theater, retail shops, hotels, an RV park and a gondola tram that would take visitors 1.6 miles to the canyon floor in ten minutes. Confluence Partners has also drawn up plans for a "Riverwalk" on the canyon floor that would include elevated connected walkways, a food pavilion, a tramway station, a terraced seating area and a wastewater package plant. Members of the Hopi tribe also said that the proposed development is too close to the Hopi Salt Trail, one of their sacred sites. "In many respects, it's a landscape that is really ingrained in our hearts as Hopi people," said Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, Director for the Hopi Tribe's Cultural Preservation Office.

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