Apache County signs gravel lease agreement with Navajo Nation to help with road repairs

WINDOW ROCK – In a deal that was more than 10 years in the making, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren signed an agreement with Apache County to develop gravel pits.

“This is exciting to see this come to fruition,” Nygren said. "Sometimes it’s easier for Apache County to mobilize. You can really go out there and provide gravel roads to our constituents.”

District 1 Apache County Supervisor Joe Shirley, Jr., Navajo Nation Council Delegates Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Curtis Yanito, Apache County Engineer Ferrin Crosby and Elta Warner attended the signing.

Access to gravel pits has been a problem for the Navajo Nation because 77% of Navajo Nation roads are dirt roads. These become unusable during monsoon season and in winter months whenever it snows, Nygren’s office said.

“I just want to say thank you,” Crotty said. “It has been many years to get access to our own resources and to serve our most precious resource – our people. We need to ask our congressional leaders that we can just approve this on Navajo so we don’t have to use the Department of Interior.”

In May, U.S. Rep. Eli Crane asked Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to cut the red tape to improve the federal permitting process for Navajo self-sufficiency.

The Navajo Nation has the capability to produce gravel, but because of red tape, it is road materials must be imported to the reservation from border towns.

Today’s agreement will improve accessibility to resources for road building and maintenance, the office said.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ for the people who contributed to this,” said Alta Warne, an Apache County District 1 employee. "Several of them are not here. We say this is the people’s road. It will mean a lot medically and to the communities.”

Information provided by the Office of the President and Vice President.

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