San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, May 8, 2015

National Park Service vs US Forest Service....This Time Its Personal!

Go here for the story of the current battle between the National Park Service and the US Forest Service over the future of the Big Ditch.  If you click through to the story you will discover that the article is clearly on the side of the National Park Service on this one.  The headline for the story contains a fine mish-mash of emotive terms designed to sway the reader before he even reads the first word of the story.  The story is entitled, "Forest Service Starts to Pave Way for Massive Urban Sprawl Next To Grand Canyon."  In addition to being clearly biased against the use of articles, the story also clearly takes the side of the National Park Service and the wacko anti-business, environmentalists who support it.  Here is some of the argument that is presented:
"The U.S. Forest Service on Friday began paving the way for a sprawling urban development near the southern edge of the Grand Canyon that would include more than 2,100 housing units and 3 million square feet of retail space along with hotels, a spa and conference center.The superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park has called the project one of the greatest threats to Grand Canyon in the 96-year-history of the park." Note use of the word 'sprawling,' designed to conjure up images of a community the size of Los Angeles being built along the south rim.  Sprawling comes up again in the next sentence but this time it is even worse.  'Sprawling' is used in the context of rich people and we all know how evil they are.
"The proposal, by the Stilo Development Group, would transform the 580-resident community of Tusayan, Ariz.— which sits near the southern entrance to the national park — from a small, quiet tourist town into a sprawling complex of high-end homes, strip malls, and resorts only a mile from the Grand Canyon National Park boundary. Stilo has partnered with the town of Tusayan in order to obtain the federal permit needed to expand road and utility access through public lands within the Kaibab National Forest so development can proceed. The agency today began moving forward with the process to approve that special-use permit."  
If you have ever visited the Grand Canyon, especially via the southern entrance, you might be wondering what all the fussing is above.  Tusayan is so far from the geographic south rim it seems to take forever to get to the first overlook into the canyon after entering the park.  You would also be aware that lodging options in the tiny town are very limited.  As a result those folks who wish to do more than just drive through the park on a day trip are forced to either pay the inflated monopoly prices for government operated accommodations within the park or find a room in Flagstaff, about 1.5 hours away in good weather.  I have done both over the years and neither one is an agreeable option for me.  I would much prefer to have a wide choice of hotels and motels near the park entrance, just like the situation in Rocky Mountain National Park with its associated entrance town of Estes Park.  Nobody has ever accused the presence of Estes Park as being the biggest disaster for Rocky Mountain National Park in its history so why should development at the south rim of the Big Ditch be any different?  The same thing is true for Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.  The same thing is true for Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons National Park.  I could give more examples but you get the point.
So what are the arguments being advanced against the development?  They consist of the usual assortment of idiotic, envy-filled, anti-business socialistic ideas.  Here are some quotes for your enjoyment:  "The National Park Service considers the mega-development a significant threat to Grand Canyon because it will require vast quantities of water and could lower the aquifer that feeds seeps, springs, and streams that support wildlife and recreation on the park’s South Rim."  Now that is a very interesting argument.  If you have ever had the misfortune of taking one of the guided tours along the south rim of the canyon you are aware that the Rangers go to great lengths to instill all sorts of environmentalist and evolutionary propaganda into your brain.  One of the things that they have always pointed out to me is the difference between the north and south rims.  The north rim is cut through with many canyons whereas the south rim is relatively smooth.  What is their explanation for this?  They have told me that all water in the Grand Canyon area flows from north to south.  In addition to accounting, in their minds, for the differences between the rims it also follows that water that exists on the south rim does not make its way into the canyon.  On the contrary, it percolates into the aquifer that stretches out southward from the south rim.  How using this water is going to impact the water on the south rim of the canyon is not explained.
Without any basis for the claim whatsoever, those who oppose development go on to assert this about the water, "Groundwater pumping accompanying the development could also lower the aquifer that is the exclusive source of all water for Havasu Falls, the cultural foundation of the Havasupai tribe."  This is always a good one.  Figure out some way to get the Senior Amerikans into the picture and you have won the rhetorical war.  Images of poor Indians wandering about in the hot desert sun with no water to drink while greedy developers sip Whiskey Sours along the south rim is sure to stir up opposition to the plan.  
Not surprisingly, "The city of Flagstaff and regional businesses have already passed resolutions opposing this development, saying that it would negatively impact surrounding communities and Grand Canyon National Park."  Now you might be wondering....why would career politicians in Flagstaff oppose development at the south rim.  More development means more tourists and more tourists means more revenue, right?  Wrong.  Those career politicians and the protected monopoly interests they represent see the development as a direct threat to their monopoly on hotels and restaurant services, and they are right.  So they are doing everything in their power, except tell the truth about their motives, to oppose the plan. 
The writer of the article saves his most pathetic argument for last.  He writes, "This latest development project comes amid concerns from conservation groups and tribal communities about proposals for re-starting operations of a nearby uranium mine and another major resort development right outside the park at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers....'Whether it’s uranium-mining companies or greedy developers some will always see the Grand Canyon as a cash register, not one of Earth’s most awe-inspiring and precious places.  This is a place worth fighting for. We plan to fight shoulder to shoulder with millions of other Americans to defeat this latest scheme to commercialize the Grand Canyon. Shopping malls don’t belong here.'"  That last quotation was from a bleeding-heart liberal who's paycheck is financed by the taxpayers and signed off by the federal government.  Remember the Mad Welshman's first rule of human interaction.  Never expect a person to understand your argument against his position when doing so will reduce the size or frequency of his government paycheck.
The proposed development will not place a Wal-Mart at Phantom Ranch.  Neither will it install cable cars to transport guests to and from the Colorado river.  There will be no strip-malls on the Tonto and no strip clubs on Horseshoe Mesa.  There will be no hotels at Hermit's Rest and no French restaurants at the Boucher trail overlook of the Colorado river.  Those allegedly "greedy" developers are willing to use their own money to make the many visits to the Big Ditch by millions of people each year easier, more comfortable and more affordable and they can do so without impacting the actual confines of the Park one iota.  What can possibly be wrong with that?  Furthermore, if someone owns the mineral rights to some land along the east side of the park, where the Little Colorado comes into the park, and he wants to develop a uranium mine, good for him.  He should be able to do what he pleases on his own land.
All in all this fight serves as a perfect example of how socialists lie about their intentions in order to preserve their government jobs.  The developers have been straight forward in their speech and have described precisely what they would like to do with their own money.  Those who oppose the plan have lied about their motives, created pseudo-scientific arguments out of thin air and done everything they can to make life harder for tourists who visit the canyon.  And amazingly, they have done it all in the name of the tourists who visit the canyon.  They are indeed experts at propaganda.

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