Navajo Nation assesses safety and shoreline issues for Navajo region at Lake Powell
LECHEE, Ariz. — On July 7, the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee of the 24th Navajo Nation Council conducted a work session at the Navajo Antelope Point Marina to assess the ongoing safety and shoreline issues with the National Park Service surrounding the Navajo region of Lake Powell.
“Inviting the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee to the Navajo region of Lake Powell is the first step in protecting the sovereignty and economic interests of the Navajo Nation,” said Council Delegate Paul Begay (Coppermine, K’ai’bii’tó, LeChee, Tonalea/Red Lake, Bodaway/Gap). “We need to work together with the Department of Interior to provide a stable future for our Navajo people who are directly impacted by the receding water levels of Lake Powell.”
The tour began with a visual assessment of infrastructure issues such as launch ramps and walkways, as well as exposed water, sewer, gasoline and natural gas lines. Each of the issues need significant upgrades due to the depleting water levels at the marina caused by the severe drought in the southwest region.
“It has been almost 2 years since the Quadrilateral Agreement has expired. Currently, this large oversight in policy continues to prevent the Navajo Nation from developing along the shorelines of Lake Powell,” said Council Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. (Ts’ah Bii’ Kin, Navajo Mountain, Shonto, Oljato). “The region I represent is looking ahead at a long-awaited road development upstream on the San Juan River pathway, and for the sake of future economic development, we need to find a ground in agreement that is equitable to all those involved.”
The low water level is the root of several safety issues which prevents Navajo concessioners from capitalizing on potential revenue to the Nation. Requests for improvements to all infrastructure on the Navajo region of the lake were continually delayed which caused a loss of revenue due to missing another potentially profitable peak season.
“Lake Powell provides numerous business opportunities with millions of dollars in potential revenue for the Nation,” said Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown (Dennehotso, Kayenta, Chííłchinbii’tó). “The region is a hot spot for recreational services such as biking, hiking, and rafting. We demand the assistance of the National Park Service in order to target the economic goals of the Western Agency Chapters.”
The Tó Niłtoli Task Force also joined Naabik’íyáti’ Committee members to seek resolutions with the National Park Service regarding the Navajo shoreline boundary and Navajo sites along Lake Powell.“It is important my colleagues of the 24th Navajo Nation Council see first-hand how our Navajo people and seasonal visitors are negatively affected,” said Speaker Seth Damon (Bááhaalí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tséyatoh). “As a committee, we must address the lack of communication with the National Park Service in order to secure Navajo’s interest surrounding Lake Powell.”
Located east of Glen Canyon Dam, Antelope Point is of particular concern as the Navajo Nation has economic investments in the floating marina village. Antelope Point Marina spans over 600 acres and is the largest Navajo employer on Lake Powell.