Public Comments sought for Grand Canyon park AZPDES Permit renewal.

PHOENIX – The National Park Service applied for a AZPDES permit renewal for the proposed discharge of up to 0.75 million gallons per day (mgd) of treated domestic wastewater from the South Rim WWTP to Bright Angel Wash in the Colorado-Grand Canyon River Basin in Township 31N, Range 2E, Section 26, in Coconino County, Arizona.

The facility is a federally owned treatment works that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources in the Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim Village, various visitor facilities, resident staff housing and lodging. Sludge is treated by aerobic digestion and drying beds, then transported by truck to off-site storage lagoons.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Water Quality Division welcomes comments on the AZPDES Permit renewal for Grand Canyon National Park- South Rim WWTP through December 30.

You can review public notices and related documents here.

SR 67 to North Rim of Grand Canyon will close for winter Tuesday

PHOENIX ‒ State Route 67 between Jacob Lake (US 89A) and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is scheduled to close for the winter season on Tuesday, December 5.

ADOT doesn’t clear snow from SR 67 during the winter since North Rim visitor accommodations are closed. The highway reopens each spring, usually around mid-May. US 89A remains open during the winter.

ADOT reminds motorists heading into snow country to drive with caution and follow this advice:

  • Don’t let GPS and navigation apps replace common sense. When a highway is closed, a suggested alternate route involving an unpaved, unplowed road can lead you into danger.
  • Pack an emergency kit, a fully charged cellphone, extra clothing, water and snacks.
  • Slow down. Drive defensively. Be patient and allow additional time for your trip.
  • Never pass a snowplow.
  • Leave sufficient space between your vehicle and those ahead of you. Give yourself plenty of room and time to stop or to avoid hazards.
  • Make sure your vehicle has plenty of fuel.
  • Check weather and road conditions before you travel. Let someone know your route.
  • Bring a small bag of sand (or cat litter) for wheel traction.

Additional information on winter driving is available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Before heading out on the roads, drivers can call 511 or visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at az511.gov tp get the latest highway conditions around the state. The website features camera images along state highways that give drivers a glimpse of weather conditions in various regions.

When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

U.S. Rep. Gosar leads U.S. House Committee passage of bi-partisan Grand Canyon Bison Management Act

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department applauds the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee for approving a bi-partisan bill that will allow the Department to better manage and conserve the bison population within Grand Canyon National Park.

Today the Committee passed the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, attaching it as an amendment to the larger Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. The Bison Management Act, introduced in June by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, requires the U.S. Department of Interior and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to coordinate on a plan that would allow sportsmen holding a valid state-issued hunting license to assist in management of the bison population within the park.

The amendment follows the release of a National Park Service plan that allows public volunteers to assist in culling an overpopulation of bison on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Wildlife surveys estimate that about 600 bison have migrated into the park, where hunting is prohibited and bison are impacting both natural and cultural resources.

Left unclear with the current National Park Service plan is whether a licensed, skilled volunteer would be allowed to harvest and keep the entire animal. The Service stated previously that it was legally prohibited from conveying the harvested animal to a private hunter. Approval of the Bison Management Act will provide clear legal direction that allows skilled volunteers to keep the entire animal when leaving the park.

“While the National Park Service plan has some components that move in the right direction, it will surely face endless litigation while a bison herd continues growing unabated on the Grand Canyon National Park,” Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Jim Ammons said. “This federal legislation will allow Arizona Game and Fish Department and Park Service to apply the best wildlife management practices to manage the bison herd effectively and immediately. Right now, Grand Canyon National Park simply cannot properly manage the unhealthy growth of the herd without this legislative fix.”

Rep. Gosar stated that the Bison Management Act provides a direct, cost-effective solution that strives to protect Grand Canyon resources.

“This is another important step in the legislative process to provide local wildlife managers the authority to utilize state licensed skilled volunteers to provide a timely solution, with no cost to taxpayers, to address the exploding bison population problem in Grand Canyon National Park,” Rep. Gosar said.

Biologists predict that the herd could grow to nearly 800 in the next three years and be as large as 1,200 to 1,500 animals within 10 years without further management actions to control the size of the herd. AZGFD continues to collaborate with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the InterTribal Buffalo Council on bison management guidelines for herd reduction.

“The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department thank Dr. Gosar for continuing to pursue this issue for the conservationists who appreciate the Park’s historic landmarks and want to protect them and prevent undue degradation to habitat and native species by managing the bison herd at sustainable levels,” Ammons said.

The bipartisan House bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Tom O’Halleran, David Schweikert and Trent Franks.

Operational details of herd reduction under the National Park Service plan are still being worked out and more information, including potential volunteer opportunities, will be announced at a later date by the National Park Service.

CAVIAT Board Vacancy at Grand Canyon Unified School District

FLAGSTAFF – Coconino County Superintendent of Schools Risha VanderWey is seeking applicants for appointment to the Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology (CAVIAT) Governing Board. One vacant seat is eligible to residents of the Grand Canyon Unified School District.

Per CAVIAT Bylaws, the appointment will be a four-year term ending Dec. 31, 2020.

Applicants must be Arizona registered voters and residents of the school district for at least one year prior to the date of appointment. Applicants or their spouses can’t be an employee of the district.

Application information:
· Download the application here http://www.coconino.az.gov/schoolboardapplication
· Deadline to submit is Monday, March 13 by 5 p.m.
· Submit by email kgraves@coconino.az.gov (Live signature original required)
· Submit by fax 928-526-1469 (Live signature original required)
· Mail/drop off Coconino County School Superintendent, 2384 N Steves Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

An advisory committee, consisting of district residents and a current board member will be assembled to conduct interviews and advise Superintendent VanderWey on the appointment.

For more information, please call Kim Graves at the Office of the Coconino County School Superintendent at 928-679-8070 or e-mail: kgraves@coconino.az.gov.

Grand Canyon hosts Native American celebration and waives fees on Veterans Day

640-grand-canyon-veterans-1GRAND CANYON — On Wednesday, November 9, Grand Canyon National Park will host a Native American Indian Heritage Celebration with special presentations and demonstrations. Grand Canyon visitors and residents are invited to participate in this special day to recognize and celebrate the many accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices made by First Americans.

From 10 am to 3 pm at Shrine of the Ages, visitors can see cultural demonstrations and buy direct from artists. The celebration continues at 7:30 pm at Shrine of the Ages with presentation of colors by the Cameron Veterans Color Guard, a traditional Hopi prayer, the Dupkia Hopi Dancers, the Dishchii’bikoh Apache Crown Dancers, and the Havasupai Guardians of the Grand Canyon Ram Dancers. To end the evening, enjoy Dine Nation’s Milton Tso playing traditional flute music. All Native American Indian Heritage celebration events are free and open to the public.

Later in the week, and in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States military, Grand Canyon National Park will offer everyone free entrance on Veterans Day Friday, November 11.

Fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours, or use of concessions. Park entrance stations will have the Interagency Senior and Annual passes available for those who wish to purchase them. Visitors who plan to spend time in the park beyond November 11 will need to pay the regular entrance fee the remainder of their stay.

This is the last fee-free day of 2016. Fee-free days for 2017 have not been announced yet. Once those dates are announced, they will be posted here: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

Rock Fire on Tusayan Ranger District growing due to dry conditions

Overview of fire looking southeast. Photo taken Aug. 7, 2015, by Brandon Oberhardt. U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest.

Overview of fire looking southeast. Photo taken Aug. 7, 2015, by Brandon Oberhardt. U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest.

TUSAYAN — Dry conditions over the last few days have led to increasing activity on a lightning-caused wildfire on the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest. The 1,581-acre Rock Fire is growing within boundaries established for it and is being managed for multiple objectives including allowing natural fire to play its role as a disturbance factor in the ecosystem, enhancing wildlife habitat, improving forest health, and reducing the potential for future high-intensity wildfires. There are no closures associated with the Rock Fire.

The Rock Fire, which was started by lightning July 31, is located south of the Coconino Rim about 15 miles southeast of the Town of Tusayan and is burning at a low-to-moderate level of intensity through an area dominated by ponderosa pine trees.

Fire managers plan to allow the wildfire to take its natural course within predefined boundaries in order to help restore ecological balance across the landscape. Over the last few days, firefighters completed burn out operations along Forest Road 316 in anticipation of the wildfire’s growth in that direction. FR 316 serves as the eastern boundary of the planning area within which the Rock Fire will be held.

Today firefighters conducted burn out operations along FR 2762, which serves as the western boundary of the planning area, in advance of the fire’s natural spread. This will ensure fire managers are able to keep the Rock Fire within pre-determined perimeters over the next several days as dry conditions in the forecast indicate that the wildfire will be active. Firefighters also continue to prepare for the fire’s likely spread by lining archaeological sites, range fences, trick tanks, and any other potentially fire-sensitive resources near the fire area. This important work ensures that as the Rock Fire grows, it won’t negatively impact other values in the area.

Given dry conditions in the forecast for the next few days, the Rock Fire is expected to burn actively and produce smoke that is visible from Cameron, Tuba City, Valle and Highway 64.

Kaibab Lodge hosts annual Star Party

supermoonGRAND CANYON, NORTH RIM — The Kaibab Lodge will host the 7th Annual Star Party June 13-20 located at the lodge, just five miles from the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park North Rim.

Astronomers from the Saguaro Astronomy Club (SAC) will be on hand with telescope to help visitors navigate the night sky. SAC is one of the larger amateur astronomy clubs in the Phoenix area.

“The sky here at the Grand Canyon is ideal for observing other planets, stars, nebulas, globular clusters, and many, many other objects in the night sky,” said Ellen Winchester, Kaibab Lodge owner and event host.

The Star Party will begin each evening with a lecture from 7 to 8 p.m. at the DeMotte Campground amphitheater followed by the viewing at 9 p.m.

Opening night will commence with a Star Party cookie party featuring regular and gluten free triple-chocolate “Deep Dark Secrets on a Starry Night” homemade cookies. Each night a pair of “El Winchester” earrings, designed especially for the Star Party, will be given away as a door prize.

“The Star Party is a wonderful educational event for the community. We especially welcome any children interested in astronomy. This is a fun and interesting science field trip, and a great opportunity to spend some quality family time together,” said Winchester.

Additional upcoming outdoor events on the Kaibab Plateau include:

Grand Canyon Ultra Marathon, 100 Mile Race, May 16-17
For more information: www.grandcircletrails.com

Rainbow Rim Trail Extension Volunteer Work Weekend, May 23-25
For more information: www.tinyurl.com/RainbowRim2015

7th Annual Star Party, June 13-20
For more information: www.kaibablodge.com

Grand Canyon Fat Tire Festival, 56 and 100 Mile Mountain Bike Races, June 19-20
For more information: www.gcfattirefestival.com/

SR 64 east of the Grand Canyon National Park reduced to one lane

Grand_CanyonGRAND CANYON — Motorists traveling on State Route 64 just east of the Grand Canyon National Park can expect delays up to 30 minutes while the Arizona Department of Transportation crews apply a pavement preservation treatment on the roadway this Wednesday and Thursday, May 6-7 between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.

During the work, one lane of travel will be closed with a pilot car providing for alternating travel through the work zone. ADOT advises motorists to allow for extra travel time and observe posted restrictions while crews work in the area.

Kiwanis Club Arts & Craft fair at Rodeo Barn

Tuesday Events 2015-04-21 002WILLIAMS — The Kiwanis Club of WIlliams Gateway to the Grand Canyon Arts & Craft Fairis coming to the Rodeo Barn across the street from Old Trails Hardware store on Rodeo Road. The fair will be Saturday May 16 10 to 7 p.m. and Sunday May 17 10 to 3 p.m. You should be able to find a handicrafted gift for any occassion.

The proceeds from this event benefit the Children’s scholarship and activities such as the annual holiday dinner. Vendors can contact Cookie at 928-699-9036.

Kaibab National Forest seeks comments on adding camping corridors

WILLIAMS — The Kaibab National Forest is seeking public comments on an Environmental Assessment released today that analyzes the potential effects of adding camping corridors and making other changes to the transportation system of the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts.

The document and background information are available on the Kaibab National Forest website at http://go.usa.gov/kpQV. The 30-day comment period begins today and runs through May 11.

Specifically, the Kaibab National Forest is proposing to:

  • Designate approximately 291 miles of camping corridors along all or portions of several system roads on both districts. The corridors would extend 200 feet from either side of the centerline of the road, except where limited by topographical factors, resource concerns or private land.
  • Add 15 spur roads to the open road system on the Tusayan district. These spurs total 1.3 miles and would provide access to areas historically used for motorized camping.
  • Close approximately 9 miles of currently open roads across the two districts.
  • Add approximately 16 miles of roads to the open road system across the two districts. This includes 12 miles of formerly closed roads and 4 miles of user-created routes.
  • Develop an adaptive management strategy for making future changes to the transportation system for the two districts based on changing needs and/or new information.

Besides the proposed action, the Environmental Assessment also analyzes the potential effects of other alternatives such as varying corridor widths.

The proposed action and alternatives were all developed based on several years of monitoring following implementation of the Travel Management Rule on the two districts, which included documenting public concerns about recreational access and other issues.

Additional information and methods to submit comments are available at http://go.usa.gov/kpQV