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Beaver Falls access issues

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ram, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Ram


    This from Tom martin. Thought it interesting

    Hi all, last summer there was some discussion about where the Grand Canyon
    National Park boundary is at Beaver Falls. In May of last year, Park
    visitors hiking up Havasu Creek to the Falls were turned away below the
    Falls by Havasupai Rangers if they could not pay a $44 per person access
    fee. It turns out the collection of that fee is illegal, as all of Beaver
    Falls is within Grand Canyon National Park.

    Jeff Ingram worked very hard in the 1970's to enlarge Grand Canyon National
    Park. Ingram has been slowly working on a history of that time and of the
    legislation that would make Grand Canyon National Park the size it is today.
    In a blog released June 2, 2014,
    .html Ingram posted the following from the House Interior and Insular
    Affairs Committee's analysis and interpretation clarifying any ambiguity in
    the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement Act:


    10 provides that ~185,000 acres of Federally owned land is to be "held in
    trust for the use of the (Havasupai) subject to explicit restrictions on the
    uses permitted." The Havasupai are allowed to continue traditional uses on
    certain lands in the Park. All the lands transferred are outside the
    perimeters of the Canyon's main stem; the boundary crosses one major
    tributary at Beaver Falls. "It is the intention of the Committee that in
    establishing the precise boundary for the park at this point that the
    Secretary should cross upstream from the falls in order to assure their
    protection as a part of the park."

    According to this rather important but hard to find document, it would
    appear as though Grand Canyon National Park manages the Falls.

    Yours, tom

  2. Ram


    More from Tom. Interesting


    I did think of some other titles:

    Theft or Gift?

    Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law ; But Where is the First Part?

    Map Games: Who Gets to Draw the Line?

    Ignored and Forgotten

    The Buried & Lost Havasu Creek Crossing

    Anyway, on with the story...


    Beaver Falls is not so much a singular drop as a cascade of travertine
    terraces, extending along 100 yards of Havasu Creek. It is a landmark on the
    boundary between the Grand Canyon National Park and the Havasupai Indian

    That boundary jumps off Ukwalla Point above the Creek to the east, passes
    Beaver Falls, and climbs up to Yumtheska Point on the west. Here is the
    language describing it from the 1975 enlargement Act, P.L. 93-620:

    "Such map, which shall delineate a boundary line generally one-fourth of a
    mile from the rim of the outer gorge of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado
    River and shall traverse Havasu Creek from a point on the rim at Yumtheska
    Point to Beaver Falls to a point on the rim at Ukwalla Point." (my
    emphasis); the map having been named earlier in the Act as 113-20,021B,
    dated December, 1974. Here is the relevant piece of that official map:


    Not great on the detail, is it?

    BLM puts out a good map for the Arizona Strip and vicinity. Here is their
    1993 version of the Havasupai piece:


    I have put in the three blue bars just below the named landmarks: Ukwalla
    Point, Beaver Falls, Yumtheska Point -- although to me it looks like the
    cartographer took aim at the latter on the left, and then reeled off to the

    There was an even earlier map, one prepared by the BIA that might be
    considered definitive since it was the produced for the 1982 Secretarial
    Land Use Plan. Here it is, with two blue bars for the points, Beaver Falls
    being where the line between them bends.


    Got closer to Yumtheska's point, this time.

    One of the great boons of increased interest in the Canyon and its pleasures
    has been the increase in mapping. In 1988, USGS did an up-to-date version of
    the Havasu Falls quad. Here is how the USGS cartographer handled the
    boundary; it is that dash-dot line, but see my version below. Anyway, this
    time it did hit Yumtheska Point (sorry about the mismatch between the two


    Now here is that map, with the boundary line overdrawn in blue. And I
    emphasized in green, the map's placement of Beaver Falls:


    I must say, to draw a "contour-following" boundary and then call it
    "indefinite" is discretion gone mad. Maybe a straight line is hard to follow
    on the ground, but it is not indefinite. But what is really interesting here
    is the cartographer's decision to ignore Beaver Falls entirely, not even
    touch on it and go down Havasu Creek for a stretch. It would be nice to know
    if the Park Service was involved in making this line and just ignoring
    Beaver, or if the USGS was just following its instincts for what makes a
    sensible map.

    However, the topo quads are not all that USGS has to offer. There is the
    grandly named National Map, and on it are shown NPS boundaries, like Grand
    Canyon National Park (pink line), and Indian Reservations, in orange with an
    orange boundary. Here is a piece of that map:


    This does make it look as if that USGS line is somehow associated with the
    National Park, though it may well be that USGS in 1988 came first. The
    orange Havasupai Reservation, whoever settled on that line, on the other
    hand, does not push the Park so far downstream as USGS does, and keeps more
    with the idea of straight lines from the Points to Beaver Falls. Note that
    the map is clear on the boundary crossing Havasu.below the Falls.


    Although i have not been to Beaver in 40 years, there are now reported some
    emphatic Havasupai actions that indicate they believe the Falls are theirs,
    part of the Reservation granted them in 1975. Here are some comments sent to
    me: The Havasupai have placed a series of large ladders allowing people to
    climb and traverse parts of the Beaver Falls complex to various picnic table
    sites. Over the last 20 years this was the first time improvements like
    that have shown up. They certainly required a helicopter to deliver the
    building supplies. In May of last year, Park visitors hiking up Havasu Creek
    to the Falls were turned away below the Falls by Havasupai Rangers if they
    could not pay a $44 per person Havasupai access fee.

    So can the Havasupai do as they please if they have title to Beaver Falls?
    For what it is worth, their activities there should be carried out under the
    1982 Land Use Plan, which makes no mention of the Beaver Falls area. So,
    going by the strict letter, section 10.b.7. of the 1975 Act would apply,
    where it says "except for the uses permitted in paragraphs 1 through 6 of
    this section, the lands hereby transferred to the tribe shall remain forever
    wild and no uses shall be permitted under the plan which detract from the
    existing scenic and natural values of such lands" (my emphasis). The
    compromise was that the Havasupia should acquire title in trust, but could
    not treat the added lands any way they felt like, and had to be guided by a
    publicly arrived-at "Secretary of the Interior Land Use Plan". It was a
    bargain that the Havasupai at the time accepted willingly, since they said
    that was the way they treated the land anyway. Are the improvements at
    Beaver Falls a violation of their promises and the Act's language? The
    question is left as an exercise for the reader.

    The Act's application does not end there, however, for it retained title in
    the U.S. to lands between the new Reservation and the Colorado, at the same
    time laying on the Park Service the need to "permit the tribe to use lands
    within the Grand Canyon National Park which are designated as Havasupai Use
    Lands . for grazing and other traditional purposes" (the official map above
    shows this Use Area). However, use was "subject to such reasonable
    regulations as (the Secretary) may prescribe to protect the scenic, natural,
    and wildlife values". The Park Service and the Havasupai supposedly have
    entered into some kind of agreement as to the specifics.

    So one conclusion, for the contentious minded, would be that no matter where
    the boundary at Beaver Falls is, Havasupai activity at Beaver is controlled
    by public process and strictures to keep the area undeveloped; they are not
    free to do as they wish there, unsupervised by the Secretary and unmonitored
    by the public and NPS. Development, even a little bit, is contrary to the
    law. One reply to that, of course, is that ladders & picnic tables are just
    what the Park Service would do if it was in control.


    So based on the various maps and on Havasupai assertiveness in the Beaver
    Falls area, title to the Falls over the past 40 years has been assumed to be
    with the Havasupai. Moreover, that assertiveness has taken forms that are,
    arguably, at odds with the 1975 Act governing the land repatriated to them,
    consonant instead with an attitude that they are not bound by the letter or
    intent of the Act. And if they have asserted a nine-tenths ownership, who
    might have, should have, held them to the Act's provisions? Clearly, the
    Secretary of the Interior was designated as a monitoring entity, but that
    oversight, too, the Havasupai, the BIA, and NPS seem all to have erased from
    their collective memories. The Act has become moribund. And no harm has been
    done -- except, once again arguably, to non-Havasupai wishing to visit their
    National Park, and to Beaver Falls, an area that was to have been open to
    the public and have had its wild values protected from development.

    It is worse than that.

    In the congressional process that produced the 1975 Act, the ambiguity of
    the Havasupai boundary description (".to Beaver Falls.") was in fact
    recognized. The northern boundary had been the subject of push and pull
    between the Havasupai forces and Representative Morris Udall, who crafted
    the compromise giving them title-with-restrictions. The end result was the
    current boundary and the creation of the Use Area in the Park. After the
    compromise was enshrined in the legislation by vote of the House Committee
    on Interior and Insular Affairs in July 1974, it was recognized in the
    September 25, 1974, Report the Committee produced --a normal part of the
    process-- to explain at length what it had done.

    In its Section-by-Section Analysis, the Report on page 11 reads:

    "All of the lands to be transferred by section 10 are outside the perimeters
    of the main stem of the Grand Canyon; however, the boundary crosses one
    major tributary canyon at Beaver Falls. It is the intention of the Committee
    that in establishing the precise boundary for the park at this point that
    the Secretary should cross UPSTREAM from the falls in order to assure their
    protection as a part of the park."

    As the legislation wended its way to Presidential signature on January 3,
    1975, this provision, specification, intention, explication,., whatever, was
    never challenged, further discussed or changed. Unfortunately, when the
    official map was drawn by the Park Service, the specification to cross
    upstream was not noted on it -- not the only slip I and other Canyon
    advocates made during that two-year legislative history. So the crucial
    congressional determination of the title to Beaver Falls was made, but then,
    as the years passed, ignored.

    But. Perhaps it was not just ignorance of the official documents from the
    Act's legislative history that afflicted the map drawers and the writers of
    the Land Use Plan. Maybe it just seemed "natural" somehow that all the falls
    of Havasu should go to the Havasupai. Maybe nobody ever raised the question,
    should it cross upstream or downstream? And one assumption of downstream
    followed "naturally" on another until the weight of the accumulated
    assumptions has seemingly crushed the life out of the intention of Congress
    to keep Beaver Falls for all of us, "to assure their protection as a part of
    the park".

    Yeah, maybe.

    And maybe the Act is not moribund; it was assassinated, and Beaver Falls
    stolen away from our National Park.

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