Navajo Nation eyes Grand Canyon for development

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By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Generations of Navajo families have grazed livestock on a remote but spectacular mesa that overlooks the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers.

No significant development has occurred at the eastern flank of the Grand Canyon where the rivers meet.

But ancestral tradition and the tranquility of the landscape could change. That's if the Navajo government's proposal for a resort and aerial tramway that would ferry tourists from the cliff tops to water's edge is realized.

The vast 27,000 square-mile Navajo reservation abuts Grand Canyon National Park.

Tribal leaders say they're losing out on tourist dollars and jobs for Navajos by leaving the land undeveloped.

But Navajo families who have roots there, as well as the National Park Service and environmental groups, are opposing the large-scale development.

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