For Arizona Snowbowl, The United States Forest Service, The City of Flagstaff, and Coconino County this has always been about one thing: MONEY.
For the last decade defenders of the peaks have used every legitimate way they could think of to try to stop the US Forest Service from allowing treated sewage effluent to be sprayed on the Peaks to make snow. More than 20,000 people took part in the Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement process with letters and appeals asking them not to spray treated sewage effluent on the peaks to make snow. Thousands of us went to Flagstaff City Council meetings to voice our opposition to the sale of treated sewer water for the project. Yet still they approved it – before even an environmental impact statement was done. They were the most clueless of all.
Currently the Hopi tribe is seeking lawsuit against the city because of this treated sewage effluent sale. A group of tribes and environmental and social justice organizations took a lawsuit all the way to the steps of the supreme court. The lawsuits have only called into question the legitimacy of what is loosely termed the “justice” system. For it seems there is no justice in this system. It is just us, IN this system.
There is also yet another lawsuit in play which I have termed “Save the Peaks Coalition vs The Snowbowel Movement” which may have the possibility of stopping this project in the long term. But if we wait for a verdict, all the trees will be cut and the pipeline installed. This has not stopped the politically connected ski area from going ahead with their project right now and they have already clear-cut 100,000 trees (or more) and have already buried a few miles of pipeline along Snowbowl road. If they lose in court they would be expected to repair the damages. How do you get back 400 year old trees? Greed and hatred seems to be Snowbowl’s only motivation.
It is very clear that the only thing the 9 (Flagstaff City Council and two US Forest Service employees) people responsible for the approval of this project ever listened to is MONEY talking. The health of children eating sewer snow was dismissed on a “technicality” in court and never even addressed. Would you like your child to become sick or die because of a technicality?
The cultural health of thirteen tribes was dismissed as “subjective” and the attitude from our government has been a systemic racism passed down through the courts who are controlled by monied interests.It does not even matter that Congress has tried twice to pass laws to protect Native Rights, the courts find a way of using the law against the people it was supposed to protect.
According to the Supreme Court Native Americans do not have first amendment rights, even though it is largely accepted that groups like the “Navajo Codetalkers” helped us win World War II and even now our government is happy to have Natives go die for oil. But something as simple as the “freedoms” our military has brought us are not one of the perks of the job. The constitution only applies if your skin is the right color. It does not matter that we bleed the same color or that we are willing to die to “protect and spread American democracy.”
But isn’t there some way to stop it?
Well we could hit them where it hurts! In the pocketbook. If you live in the Fort Valley area of Flagstaff you must see by now how little Arizona Snowbowl really cares about the “economic benefits” it brings our fair town. I know some of us had a good deal of trouble even going to work when the snow was good and Snowbowl was busy. The traffic jam was incredible. Stretching more than 15 miles. They took our livelihood away and hope to make that a daily occurrence by having a “predictable” ski season using sewer water to make snow.
This jam up gave us an idea! Why don’t we do the same thing? Arizona Snowbowl does not own the mountain, and it is perfectly legal to drive up to the area for any permitted public lands use. This means hiking, camping, praying, skiing, sitting, loving, mushroom hunting, etc.
So what do I do?
It is time to stop waiting for a government entity, an environmental group, or any of the people you have come to expect to save the peaks for us. The time has come to show them how much power the people have! And believe me, you are the most powerful people in all of the world! You! yep you! You can do it!
All summer the Arizona Snowbowl is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for scenic skyrides, food, and alcohol. They do get a pretty good business up there and it would have an impact if the mountain was just “too busy” with people doing all the other things our Public Forests are for. There is nothing illegal about it and it would send a clear message to the forest service that we don’t need Snowbowl to “recreate on the mountain.” Heck, we don’t even need a ski area up there to ski! In essence, take a vacation. Just do it up on the peaks and don’t use Snowbowl.
Yeah, but how long do we keep it up for?
Every Saturday at 10 AM all summer will take 1/3 of his business away and then we know a little secret:
Arizona Snowbowl takes a short term loan at the beginning of every season to cover opening costs. Things gets very difficult for them if they should have a bad Christmas break. The rest of the season becomes a catch-up, instead of all profit. I think I might go up there that week and say a few prayers… this Christmas rush around and buy gifts is getting so old anyways.
And for sweet irony’s sake Martin Luther King day weekend is the busiest time of the year at Snowbowl. There is nothing to stop all of the people who do not want to “recreate” the way Snowbowl does from recreating in other ways in the area on these days in large numbers. And if enough of you show up it might even help a few more of us get equal rights. Martin Luther King did have a dream… and those words seem to echo through a lot of your heads right now. Want to make it real?
THE “BIG” PLAN
Every Saturday at 10AM for the rest of the summer (and during Christmas, MLK holiday, and any big snow day) we are going to have a sacred circle next to the Snowbowl parking lot. We will pray, sing, laugh, love, recreate and share stories about the mountain. Please come! Or even better organize your own friends and allies into your own “recreation” groups. hike, camp, pick mushrooms, etc. There are currently 17 basecamps set up at Snowbowl, and even a public cook shack and medic team. You can go up and visit or even camp if you want to support the mountain jam more long-term. We have lots of food and gear. Come help out. However for those who would like a “day of recreation”, just set the time for Saturdays at 10 AM. Let’s build this to a critical mass that stretches all the way to Milton Rd. (Snowbowl makes that happen every winter already and they don’t care if it makes it impossible to get to work if you live here). With enough people this will not only effect Snowbowl’s ability to make money, it will also effect tourism to the Grand Canyon. Then they have to stop and listen.
No laws need to be broken and no violence against man or machine need happen. Our government officials are forgetting what “all power to the people” really means. You cannot wait any longer for someone else to save the peaks for you. It will take of all us together to do this. So what are you waiting for? Pack a lunch this Saturday morning and Converge on the Peaks!
Please be sure to have a look at the devastation in the link to photos below if you have not already.
Please share this far and wide
NEW (July 27) – Comment to the USDA on their draft report on sacred sites. Very important letter writing time!