Antelope Canyon slated to be Navajo Nation 'gateway'

Another view of Antelope Canyon.

Another view of Antelope Canyon.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - About three miles west of Page, just off of scenic Route 98, something special is in the works. Navajo Parks and Recreation is teaming with ETD, Inc. and architects from the LAM Corporation in the development of a visitor's center in Antelope Canyon that will serve as a gateway to the Navajo Nation.

The center will be advanced in technology and will contain several features that will introduce travelers to Navajo culture. The center will include an information center, a demonstrative exhibit, a gift shop, an audio/visual area that will play informational movies and an administrative area.

"We're hoping the visitor's center will result in more people coming to the reservation and other park areas such as Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly because people will be exposed to Navajo culture," stated Parks and Recreations' Senior Program and Project Specialist, Martin Begaye.

While the center will be advanced in its technology, it will be natural in design. The building will imitate its sandstone surroundings and feature all-natural décor. It is intended to be unique in blending updated design with a traditional atmosphere.

The center will also be unique in that it will be one of the first to utilize green technology. Solar panels will line the roof of the center to supplement power to the building, rather than utilizing electricity that could be obtained from a power plant only 50 yards away.

Going green has been a goal of the Navajo Nation after the Navajo Nation Council passed the Navajo Green Commission Act on July 21, 2009. The legislation was passed to promote green jobs on the reservation.

Parks and Recreation is currently finalizing plans with ETD, Inc. and LAM Corporation in regards to final design and requests for contractor proposals. The requests will be sent out soon and construction for the visitor's center could begin by as early as October.

For more information, contact the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department at (928) 871-6647 or visit www.navajonationparks.org.

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