The proposed development; illustration by American Rivers

Damn The Tram! Outrageous Grand Canyon Project On Track

The Escalade Project, which proposes to build a tram to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, took a big step toward becoming reality this week.

The proposed development; illustration by American Rivers
The proposed development; illustration by American Rivers

The controversial project hit a major milestone when the proposed legislation was sponsored and submitted to the Navajo Nation Council on August 29.

This filing sets the proposal in motion. The Navajo Nation Council must approve or reject it.

There is a five-day window, ending September 3rd, for the public to submit comments directly to the Navajo Nation Council. This might be the most important and direct way for the public to voice concerns about the Escalade Project.

Voice your opinion by sending an email to Within the message, include your name, position/title, address, and a valid email. (Anonymous comments will be ignored.)

Strong Opposition

The petition will remain an important way for the public to show support for protecting the Grand Canyon. But the open comments window, in which the public can call and email directly to the Council, is a short-lived opportunity to effectively fight development in the Grand Canyon.

The Escalade Project is an estimated $65 million construction project that would build a gondola tramway from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River.

According to the proposal submitted Monday evening, the project would also include a riverwalk, an amphitheater, and a food pavilion at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

grand canyon

The main concerns of the development, as expressed by Save the Confluence (and noted in the proposal), are as follows:

  • The developers, Confluence Partners, LLC, have not addressed where the water for the site will come from or how sewage will be handled.
  • The Navajo Nation will only receive between 8% – 18% of the revenue. The vast majority of the money will go to outside developers.
  • There is a non-compete clause in the proposal, which forbids even the Navajo Nation from conducting business within 15 miles of the Escalade Project AND within 2.5 miles along either side of the road to the site.
  • The project violates the Diné Fundamental Laws and intrudes upon the sacredness of the Grand Canyon.

For more information and ways to help protect the Grand Canyon, visit and