portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

forest defense

Arizona Ski Resort expansion threatens Native sacred sites

The Flagstaff Action network in Arizona is presently working on opposing the expansion project being proposed by the USFS district in charge of the San Fransisco Peaks in Arizona, who have historically ignored the Navajo pleas to leave this sacred land intact. A water pipeline to make artificial snow and other plans are being considered by the Peaks Forest Service Ranger District.

This area represents a sacred site to the Navaho Dineh tribe, and is called Kokoioisliid in their language. Lend your support for this struggle!
The Flagstaff Action network in Arizona is presently working on opposing the expansion project being proposed by the USFS district in charge of the San Fransisco Peaks in Arizona, the highest elevation in the state, containing rare high elevation montana forest types, famous aspen stands, providing habitate for many species of plants and animals, including Northern Goshawks, Mexican spotted owls, black bears, mountain lions, a threatened groundel and a huge list of other plants and animals that make their homes in the mountains.

This area represents a sacred site to the Navaho Dineh tribe, and is called Kokoioisliid in their language. 13 other native nations also hold this area sacred. In 1983 Abbott Sekaquaptewa, former chairman of the Hopi Tribe said, "If the ski resort remains or is expanded, the basis of our existence as a society will beecome a mere fairy tale toour people. If our people no longer possess this way of life, which will inevitably occur with the continued presence of the ski resort, a direct and negative impact upon our religious practices [will result]. The destruction of these practices will also destroy our present way of life and culture." (EF!J Brigid 2003)

The USFS in the 1930's leased this 777 acre tract of public land to Arizona Snowbowl corporation so they could build a ski resort, ignoring the pleas of Native Americans then, as they are doing now. They are now considering the proposal to build a gigantic pipeline to pump 180 million gallons of reclaimed water a year up the mountain to make artificial snow in this arid and biologically diverse place.

Arizone Snowbowl's proposed development also includes a 2,500 sq ft "Native American Cultural Center." This serves to show that the operators of the resort still do not [want] to understand how drastically ANY type of development on this sacred mountain impacts the Navaho culture.

At the same time this proposed expansion project is being considered, the Forest Disservice is supposedly also considering the proposal by the Navaho Dineh to have this land designated as "traditional cultural property". It seems that the priority is still for this area to be used for "Winter Recreation however. This means that this designation, (were it to ever happen) would be meaningless because the ski resort will remain in place and expansion efforts are likely to continue.

The comment deadline ended in November 2002, but comments and calls are still needed and support is welcomed.

To let the USFS know you oppose further desecration of Native and Public lands held in trust for future generations, write/email/call:

Jim Golden, Forest Supervisor
 r_3coconino_snowbowlupgrade@fs.fed.us
RE: Snowbowl Expansion Proposal
Peaks Ranger District
5075 N. Highway 89
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
(928) 527-3600

For more information about this group and other project they are working on:
Flagstaff Activist Network (FAN)
 flagact@infomagic.net
www.flagstaffactivist.org
(928) 527-3620

homepage: homepage: http://www.flagstaffactivist.org
phone: phone: (928) 527-3620