End Impunity for Arizona Snowbowl
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Help us hold Arizona Snowbowl accountable for harmful development impacting Indigenous communities, local residents, and the environment. The Snowbowl ski resort has been operating within the San Francisco Peaks Traditional Cultural Property near Flagstaff, AZ, since 1938. This mountain is sacred to at least thirteen Indigenous Nations, including Diné, Acoma, Fort McDowell, Mohave Apache, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, San Carlos Apache, San Juan Southern Paiute, Tonto Apache, White Mountain Apache, Yavapai-Apache, Yavapai-Prescott, and Zuni. A delicate ecosystem that supports rare and isolated flora and fauna, the mountain is also integral to the Indigenous cultures of the region.
Indigenous peoples have actively opposed Snowbowl for many generations over the last 80+ years, as a violation of our cultural identities and religious freedom. Snowbowl’s use of reclaimed wastewater to manufacture artificial snow has emboldened the resort to even more egregious environmental and human rights abuses. Today, Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff (ICF), an intertribal, grassroots organization, is standing together with our allies in protection of the mountain. Will you join us?
The United States Forest Service (USFS) last analyzed the entirety of Snowbowl’s operations in 2005. Since then, Snowbowl has made numerous modifications to its operations, some without any environmental review, public involvement, or Tribal consultation. Aerial photographs reveal Snowbowl's construction of a new parking lot in an area known as Hart Prairie, which will rapidly expand its business to a year-round model. In 2005, the Coconino National Forest refused to even discuss allowing an increase in daily visitation above 2,825 skiers per day, insisting that they would keep parking capacity static to prevent an increase in visitors.
Now, a new lot is being constructed for skier use, which, along with operation of a free shuttle system, the USFS admits “decouples the previous tie between parking and visitation.” It is is also causing severe environmental degradation and erosion of a formerly intact meadow ecosystem. The lot is being constructed without required public notice, comment and review procedures, and without Indigenous consultation. According to research by Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter, this is just one example of several ways that the United States Forest Service is allowing violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act. Snowbowl’s desire for profit is threatening biodiversity, groundwater safety, and human communities that have been developing here for millennia.
Most of the Indigenous Nations who revere this mountain are in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. These Indigenous votes contributed to Congressman Tom O’Halleran’s and Senator Mark Kelly’s elections in 2020. ICF is calling for an investigation and field hearing led by Representative O’Halleran, to publicly disclose how the USFS is enabling Arizona Snowbowl’s violations. We are calling on Rep. O’Halleran to direct the Forest Service to end Snowbowl’s impunity. The Forest Service must conduct a thorough review of cultural and environmental impacts, including required public involvement, of all modifications made at the resort since 2005, and Snowbowl must be held responsible for remediation of all environmental impacts before further business continues. We call for public notice and a process of public review, comment, and legitimate Indigenous consultation before Arizona Snowbowl’s forthcoming Master Development Plan is reviewed by the Coconino National Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West. All future modifications to Snowbowl operations must be halted until that review is complete.
Thank you for helping us protect a beautiful, sacred place for all species in the generations to come!
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