The Grand Canyon is at the center of several environmental challenges.
The Grand Canyon is at the center of several environmental challenges. (Sarun Laowong/iStock)

Our Most Imperiled Park

The Grand Canyon faces threats from every side.

The Grand Canyon is at the center of several environmental challenges.
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The Issue: Uranium Mining
Canadian firm Energy Fuels plans to resume operations—and with it the threat of contam­ination—at Canyon Mine, just nine miles from the South Rim. Activists worry that it and three other former mines could leak toxic waste into the watershed. In 2012, interior sec­retary Ken Salazar put a 20-year ban on uranium mining in the area, but companies with existing rights are exempt. The Grand Canyon Trust is suing the Forest Service to ­prevent the Canyon Mine from reopening.

The Issue: Tramway
The proposed 1.4-mile Grand Canyon Escalade, a luxury gondola, would carry thousands of people each day from the North Rim to the pristine confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers—a sacred site to natives. The Navajo ­Nation Council is divided on the proposal but is expected to decide this spring.

The Issue: Mega-Resort
Stilo Development Group in Scottsdale, Arizona, is attempting to build more than 2,100 homes, hotels, restaurants, and retailers in Tusayan (current population: 600), near the South Rim. Though the city council already approved the project, the Forest Service rejected a proposal to improve roads in the area. ­Developers are expected to revise their project plans and resubmit them.

From Outside Magazine, May 2016 Lead Photo: Sarun Laowong/iStock

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