Navajo Nation President Nygren signs tourism legislation that includes I-40 study

Exit for Two Guns, Arizona off of I-40. (Adobe Stock)

Exit for Two Guns, Arizona off of I-40. (Adobe Stock)

WINDOW ROCK — To stimulate tourism, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren signed a $1.5 million legislation allowing revenue in the Hotel Occupancy Tax and Tourism Fund to be used by all Navajo Nation programs for tourism-related purposes.

Tourism, President Nygren said, is an “untapped market.”

“So, anytime there's a legislation related to tourism, I think that's a great investment into our nation into our communities,” President Nygren said of the legislation sponsored by Navajo Nation Council Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton. “I also want to thank the sponsor for sponsoring legislation to make $1.5 million available.”

The funding pays for a study along Interstate 40, which is expected to cost $400,000. The interstate runs across the southern borders of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico.

The legislation also funds the Chuska Mountains Recreation Corridor and the Shiprock Pinnacle Project, as well as provides money for a Dinosaur Tracks Project. Some funding would go toward the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City.

“I've always said I supported tourism. It's one of those avenues to expand on the needs of the Navajo people truly,” said President Nygren.

The President anticipates that the injection of funds into the Navajo Nation tourism industry, that’s been underfunded for the last three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will create a thriving Navajo tourism business.

“I am energized by the opportunities presented with this funding,” he said. “We've got so many people that own trails, walking companies, and into the different aspects of bed and breakfast across the Navajo Nation.”

Despite the negative financial impacts, the Navajo Tourism Department state they continue to work with chapters that request their assistance on projects by promoting their destination through collaboration with Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico State Tourism Offices.

Arval T. McCabe, Department Manager. Navajo Nation Tourism Department, who attended the signing ceremony, said one of the projects the department is working on is creating a park at the Shiprock pinnacle.

“We will be working on the Shiprock Pinnacle to make it into a Navajo Nation park,” said McCabe.

McCabe said the Cudei, Shiprock, and Red Valley Chapters had given their support.

McCabe added the boundary around the future park around the world-famous pinnacle was mine miles. In addition, he said a visitor center would be constructed in Shiprock.

The funding would also help improve an eight-acre area around the dinosaur tracks in Coal Mine Chapter, east of Tuba City, Arizona, along State Highway 264.

McCabe thanked the President for approving Charles-Newton’s legislation.

President Nygren signed several legislations last week. He invited several council delegates to the Navajo Nation Office of the President and participated in signing ceremonies.

Delegate Charles-Newton could not participate in the signing ceremony due to prior commitments.

Information provided by the Office of the Navajo Nation President.

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