Last week a Navajo Nation council member introduced controversial legislation for an aerial tram and other tourist attractions at the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Dubbed the Grand Canyon Escalade project, the plan calls for a gondola that would shuttle tourists from the cliffs of the Navajo Nation just outside of the national park down into the canyon, to the spot where the Colorado River meets the Little Colorado River. The proposal also calls for a waterfront boardwalk, hotels, a cultural center, and a marketplace where Navajo artisans could sell their wares.
The project is strongly opposed by the National Park Service, environmental groups, other Native American organizations who believe that the confluence of the two waterways is sacred ground, and, basically, everyone who worries about a priceless natural treasure getting turned into an amusement park.
Backers of the development counter that it would create thousands of jobs in a part of the reservation where unemployment is high.