GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comment on a proposal to modify facilities at Desert View to create an Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site.
NPS is preparing an environmental assessment (EA), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, to develop and evaluate alternatives.
Located at the southeast edge of Grand Canyon National Park, Desert View is the east entrance to the park. Desert View provides many visitors with their first introduction and orientation to some of the park’s most significant resources, including the Desert View Watchtower and its surrounding historic district. The area also offers spectacular views of the Painted Desert and the Little Colorado River Gorge.
Given the significance of the site, its infrastructure, and proximity to neighboring tribal lands, NPS is proposing to transform Desert View from a traditional scenic overlook and visitor services area into an Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site. This will provide opportunities for first-voice cultural interpretation from associated American Indian Tribes-including cultural demonstrations and enhance visitor orientation to the cultural significance of the site and park while helping inform visitors about tourism opportunities on surrounding tribal lands.
To accomplish these goals, NPS is proposing some modifications to existing infrastructure, some demolition of underutilized facilities, and potential new construction within the existing developed footprint at Desert View. More information, including a newsletter on the specifics of the proposed action is available on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/esertViewICHS.
Interested parties can participate in the following public scoping open houses:
Feb. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1175 W. Route 66
Feb. 21 from 4-6 p.m. at Shrine of the Ages Auditorium, 20 S. Entrance Road, Grand Canyon, Arizona
A webinar is scheduled Feb. 27from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. More information about the webinar can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/DesertViewICHS.
Public comments on the proposed action will be accepted for 30 days, closing March 6. During this time, any individual or group can submit scoping comments electronically at the PEPC website, in person at public scoping open house events or via mail to: Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Desert View EA, PO Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.
The preferred method for submitting comments is on the PEPC website listed above.
Comments that provide insights about the project purpose and the park’s current proposal are particularly helpful and new ideas and proposals are welcome. Following the public comment period, the NPS will analyze and consider all feedback and begin preparation of the EA.
The NPS will not select an alternative for implementation until after the analysis of the alternatives and their potential impacts has been completed within the EA. There will be a second opportunity for public comment on the EA in fall/winter 2018.
The NPS is working cooperatively with a number of partners, including: representatives from the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, Zuni and Yavapai-Apache tribes, the Grand Canyon Association, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and park concessioners.