Saving the Grand Canyon

grand-canyon-credit-Phil-Roussin2Grand Canyon |Phil Roussin

One of our country’s most iconic stretches of river and foremost natural treasures – the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon – is facing a battery of threats that could forever harm the river’s health and ruin the once-in-a-lifetime experience for people visiting the park. American Rivers is spearheading a national effort, along with local partner Grand Canyon Trust, to save this special place, and we need your help.

A Beloved River and National Park

The Colorado River has sculpted one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with layers of rock revealing millions of years of history. The river is home to endangered fish and wildlife. More than five million people visit Grand Canyon National Park each year and more than 26,000 float the river on trips lasting from one week to 24 days. The river boasts some of country’s most famous whitewater and many consider a Grand Canyon river trip the trip of a lifetime. The Colorado River’s Grand Canyon is one of the few remaining places in our country where visitors can enjoy a truly remote and wild outdoor experience.


Urgent Threats Facing the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is at risk from three separate threats that could affect the health of the park and the Colorado River.

Escalade Tram and Development

At the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers, a sacred site for many Native American tribes, a construction project is proposed that would build a major resort development – damaging the natural setting both on the rim and at river level at the Confluence. It would include hotels, restaurants, and shops on the canyon rim, and an amusement park style gondola that would shuttle 10,000 people a day to elevated walkways and a restaurant along the river. American Rivers is calling on the Secretary of the Interior to use every authority to stop this unnecessary construction project from harming an irreplaceable national treasure. American Rivers supports the Navajo Nation in its efforts to advance sustainable economic development initiatives that safeguard natural and cultural resources.

Uranium Mining

Mining continues just outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, and pollution from mining operations is threatening the Colorado River’s clean water. While President Obama recently issued a moratorium on uranium mining in and around the park, four mines continue to operate despite the ban. The abandoned Orphan Mine, steps from South Rim Village, is currently leaching radioactive water into Horn Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River. American Rivers is calling on the Secretary of the Interior to make the moratorium permanent, expand it to include all active mining in and around the park, and clean up pollution.

The Tusayan Expansion

The village of Tusayan, near the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, is proposing a massive expansion that would require significant new water supplies. The proposal includes 2,200 new homes, more than 3 million square feet of commercial space including shops and hotels, as well as a dude ranch and a European-style spa. One option for the necessary new water supplies is to tap the aquifers connected to seeps and springs within Grand Canyon National Park. American Rivers is calling on the Forest Service, which must grant key permits, to prohibit groundwater depletion.

“…if we start building gondolas and other forms of development, we lose much of what makes the Grand Canyon so special. It would be a devastation, a sacrilege, to build that structure there.”
– American Rivers President Bob Irvin
The New York Times, August 9, 2014

A Call to Action

We have a responsibility to save this priceless place for future generations. Please join American Rivers in our effort to stop these harmful projects and safeguard the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.

Sign our petition to protect the Grand Canyon

Make a donation to help us fight these developments