No one was injured or killed in the flooding in the Grand Canyon earlier this week. But there’s little doubt the damage caused will hurt tourism in the small canyon floor village of Supai, Ariz.
Reports the Arizona Republic:
The trails leading to the village are not passable.
The bridges crossing Havasu Creek are washed out, and the waterfalls they lead to are unrecognizable.
“It’s devastating,” said Drusilla Clarke, speaking for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “My grandparents lived down there. It’s going to be really hard for the people.” […]
The beauty of that part of the Grand Canyon is an important part of the tribe’s identity, and tourists coming to visit it are an important part of its economy.
Billy Jack, with the Havasupai tourism office, said camping revenue alone generates $2 million for the tribe annually, and that, at best, it will be six months to a year before the area gets anywhere close to normal.
“I’m afraid it looks pretty grave,” Jack said. “The whole area’s unstable, especially toward the falls. “The tourist dollars are really critical.”
The BIA, Coconino County sheriff’s officials and tribal leaders were hesitant to guess when the village will become viable again as a tourist destination. Most of their knowledge of the damage comes from aerial tours and photographs.
I’m not sure what Supai can do, except hope that Mother Nature will bring eventually bring the area back to its natural beauty.
If investigators find some sort of design flaw in the dam that failed, the village of Supai could use some sort of financial settlement until its tourism trade recovers.
Then again, up to eight inches of rain during a single weekend in desert country is catastrophic enough. Perhaps there’s no one to blame.
UPDATE: Here are some videos of the flooding:
The view from Havasu Canyon as the flooding started:
Another video from the AP:
The Havasu Falls looking mighty dirty with floodwater: