October 27, 2011

Navajos split on Grand Canyon flights

Navajo Nation Split On Grand Canyon Flight Restrictions

By Laurel MoralesFour months after the official public comment period ended, Grand Canyon officials are still waiting for the Navajo Nation to comment about flight noise and possible regulations to address it.

The tribe is split. A hearing will be held Wednesday in the hopes they can reach a consensus.

Navajo sheep herders have told the park that helicopter and plane noise negatively affects their livelihood. But some tribal members, including Navajo council delegate Walter Phelps, would like the tribe to be allowed to run air tours over the canyon.

"I mean, we need economic development. We need jobs," Phelps said. "Our people are in desperate need of any opportunity that can be developed."

Phelps said it’s only fair the Navajo receive the same treatment as the Hualapai Tribe on the west side of the canyon. Back in 2000, the Federal Aviation Administration conducted an economic hardship study and allowed the Hualapai to be exempt from the park's over flight restrictions.
Comment:  For more on the Grand Canyon, see Skywalk Developer Sues Hualapai Tribe and Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon.

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