Right now Arizona Snowbowl is expanding development on the San Francisco Peaks by clearcutting 74 acres of rare alpine habitat, with an estimate of approx. 30,000 trees, that is home to threatened species, making new runs and lifts, more parking lots and building a 14.8 mile buried pipeline to transport up to 180 million gallons (per season) of wastewater to make artificial snow on 205 acres.
Snowbowl would be pumping 1.5 million gallons per day, that’s approximately 300,000 flushes from your toilet, storing and spraying this wastewater on a mountain that is held holy by more than 13 Native American tribes.
In 2005, the Southwestern Regional Forester permitted the development after a Coconino Forest Supervisor allowed the plan to go forward despite widespread Tribal and public opposition.
Lawsuits addressing religious freedom and environmental issues were previously filed by Tribes and environmental groups but failed to stop the plan.
The Peaks are a Holy mountain that has significant spiritual and cultural values; it is the home of deities, the origin of human beings—the place of creation and emergence, a place where special offerings are made, and rare medicinal herbs are gathered.
For more than 30 years Indigenous Peoples, Environmentalists, & concerned citizens have struggled to Protect the Peaks!
Snowbowl VIOLATES Human Rights!
Snowbowl DESTROYS the Environment!
Snowbowl Would Put Human Health at RISK!
Snowbowl is UNSUSTAINABLE!
Snowbowl Desecrating the Peaks
Although Environmental organizations and area Indigenous Nations have fought in and out of courts for decades to stop ecological destruction and desecration of the San Francisco Peaks, the US Forest Service and other government agencies have permitted their expansion plans.
Snowbowl wants to be the first in the world to use 100% reclaimed sewage water. No other ski resort on the entire planet has ever proposed such a plan.
SNOWBOWL’S EXPANSION PLANS INCLUDE:
• Clear cutting more than 30,000 trees, including old growth, in a rare alpine habitat.
• New Runs, Lifts, Parking lots in an area that is also home to threatened species.
• Digging and blasting trenches for a 14.8 mile pipeline
• 180,000,000 gallons of treated sewage effluent for snowmaking on 205 acres.
• 10,000,000 gallon treated sewage storage pond.
STOP SNOWBOWL’S GREED!
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Mr. Dion Killsback
Counselor to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
1849 C Street, NW MS 4141-MIB
Washington DC 20240
Dear Mr. Killsback,
We, the undersigned, are parents, activists, and citizens of Flagstaff, Arizona who are extremely concerned about the situation on the San Francisco Peaks that is being forced onto our community by the Arizona Snowbowl. The expansion of the ski resort is a loss for future generations of the Peaks’ beautiful and rare alpine habitat.
By expanding, Snowbowl is showing severe cultural insensitivity and disregard to over thirteen Indigenous Nations in our state with their continual desecration of an area that they hold sacred. Snowbowl continues to disregard this despite numerous protests, lawsuits, and public hearings. People of these Nations are friends and neighbors in this very community.
We are also extremely worried about the threat to the health of our children, our water, and the local environment from the run-off of reclaimed wastewater snow, especially in such large, focused quantities, which Snowbowl plans to do by creating artificial snow from reclaimed wastewater by this November.
The San Francisco Peaks are a sky island, home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, like the endangered San Francisco Peaks Ragwort which is endemic to the mountain. We are especially concerned about the cutting of old growth trees, which will never return in our lifetimes. The newly cut “ski runs” are huge swaths of un-vegetated land which have the potential to become devastating mudslides during our monsoon season. We worry that the fragmentation and disturbance of wildlife that is occurring especially during the construction and the destruction of the forest will lead to a decline in animal populations and biodiversity in the area. This fragile high desert ecosystem is also visited throughout the year for a variety of reasons aside from skiing; such as camping, hiking, biking, and school science field trips, amongst other practices in lieu of the second paragraph. These other recreational activities help to keep the local economy going all year long and are so appealing because these lands are not developed.
The reclaimed water that Snowbowl intends to use to create their “snow” has been shown to contain endocrine disruptors and other contaminants not even fully understood by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). This has been shown in a study called the ”Endocrine Disruptor Screening Project” by Dr. Cathy Propper, a biologist at the Northern Arizona University. An even more recent study by Dr. Robyn Silver on the same reclaimed water currently being used on our city parks and school athletic fields has found antibiotic resistant bacterial genes and shows that they actually rebound, or are much more prominent, at the site of usage. This leaves us very concerned for children, the ill, and the elderly, and other compromised immune systems, who may play in or possibly consume this toxic concoction. The reclaimed wastewater also will further taint the aquifer and continually diminish the quality and safety of our drinking water supply. There are claims that this water is safe, but why are there signs around the city stating not to consume the water? And if it is so safe, why would use it to make snow when it’s expected that Flagstaff will experience water shortages in close to a decade? It becomes more apparent that these motifs are strictly economic, prioritizing the tourism and sport over the healthy and socially balanced communities. Although NAU’s Chemistry Department publicly endorses the reclaimed wastewater, John Wettaw, a chemistry professor and previous Arizona Senator, has outside relationships with one of the owners of Snowbowl, which leads us to think their opinion is skewed.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we are extremely concerned about how Snowbowl is disrespecting the religious and cultural beliefs of those who hold the San Francisco Peaks sacred. It is sickening how they have been allowed to put their business interests over the cultural, religious, and historical significance of this mountain. It is disgusting how certain religions are regarded as more valid than another; allowing reclaimed waste water on the San Francisco
Peaks is like defiling the holy water at the Vatican. This issue has divided our community and has been extremely painful to members of Indigenous Nations who live here and who define most of Northern Arizona.
We urge that you do something to change this situation immediately by giving the San Francisco Peaks permanent Traditional Cultural Property designation. We not only ask you to take our argument into consideration, but that you stop Snowbowl from desecrating our environment, health, and community all for the sake of greed and a small, privileged group, and uphold the human rights of all peoples.