Not all of the Grand Canyon is a federal park. There is a small section that does not belong to the federal government, but is owned by the Navajo tribe. As a result of US agreements, the tribe retains the right to develop its land in order to bring in revenue. Environmentalists and some federal employees think otherwise.
The New York Times reports the Navajo tribe seeks to build a $1 billion development that includes an 1100 foot walkway, retail stores and 2200 homes to be built in a nearby village close to the park. The tribe has looked to past successes that the neighboring Hualapai tribe has had with a walkway overlooking the Grand Canyon in order to make the case for this plan. Environmentalists will have none of it:
“This is the ongoing desire by various investors to make money off the Grand Canyon or to make money off the resources that are tribally controlled,” said Roger Clark, the program director for the Grand Canyon Trust, an organization that pushes to protect the canyon.
“Building this suburban development there would have an impact on the lifeblood of the national park,” said Bob Irvin, the president of American Rivers, a nonprofit organization. “It’s a threat to the groundwater supply of the Colorado River. We named it as the most endangered river in the nation two years ago.”
“If it’s going to do irreparable damage, we need to close the entire canyon off to commercial projects,” he said. “Tell the Hualapai to take down the skywalk. We are not building on the Grand Canyon National Park. We are choosing to develop the land that belongs to the Navajo people.”
But Ms. Yellowhorse, a leader of the Save the Confluence coalition, said she was intent on protecting land where Indians go to pray and honor their past — particularly what is known as the Confluence, the place where the two rivers meet.
“We don’t want to see the site desecrated,” she said. “We don’t want the tram out there. We don’t want people out here.”
Yet again we see, in addition to religious belief, environmentalists seeking to halt development of land that can benefit the Navajo nation. The Navajo people are not the wealthiest tribe in the world and are seeking ways to enhance their quality of life. However, because they seek to bend nature for their own benefit, green groups look to stand in the way of progress. This is one of many instances when environmentalist groups prevent development in poor areas not just in America but abroad too.
The documentary Mine Your Own Business outlines at least three situations where environmentalist groups prevent economic development in poor countries. Many of the greenies are wealthy themselves but hate the idea of anyone other than them benefiting from free exchange. The below clip from the film is an example of the mentality of environmentalists like those trying to prevent development in the Navajo nation.