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Forest Service Halts Development Near Grand Canyon

grand canyon tusayan stilo
(Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau)
The Kaibab National Forest rejected a road easement request that would have opened the door to a large-scale development in the small town near the Grand Canyon.

Plans to massively develop a tiny town near the Grand Canyon are on hold after a decision Friday by the U.S. Forest Service. A company is attempting to build hundreds of homes, shops and lodgings in Tusayan.

But first, Stilo Development Group USA needs the Kaibab National Forest to approve an application for a road easement. That has been denied, for now, after huge public outcry. Jackie Banks, with the Forest Service, said her agency received more than 200,000 comments and signatures opposing the development.   

"We heard from local, regional, national and even international groups and individuals," she said. "Really, a lot of different issues were raised, but many of them related to impacts to tribal lands, impacts to Grand Canyon National Park."

Other concerns included worries about increased traffic and decreased water supplies, as well as impacts to the nearby Arizona Trail.

"Based on the comments we received from the public and from interested and affected organizations and agencies, and the issues that were raised as part of that process, we truly came to the conclusion that the proposal is not in the public interest," Banks said.

A spokesman for Stilo said the company is disappointed, but that concerns raised by the public are "not insurmountable." Stilo already owns hundreds of acres of land just outside of Tusayan.

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Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.