Visitors to a Native American reservation’s famous waterfalls deep in the Grand Canyon will now have to visit without professional guides.
An estimated 40,000 people visit the Havasupai reservation every year. They come to see a series of blue-green waterfalls which flow into swimming holes that stay warm year-round.
There are no roads to the falls. The only way to arrive is by horse, helicopter or by foot. The hike is long and at times dangerous.
Beginning in February, visitors will have to find their own way down, and carry their own food and belongings.
For years, professional guides have paid the tribe money to bring visitors to the falls. The tribe could not say how much money it has received from guides over the years.
Abbie Fink is a spokeswoman for the Havasupai Tribe. She told the Associated Press that tribe members want to lead the visitors themselves. She said, “It’s returning the enterprise to the control of the tribe.”
The tribe works on the campground and the trails during the months of December and January. It does not permit day visits. So, visitors wanting to see the falls must stay overnight at a camp site on the reservation or in the tribe’s only building.
Rooms in the tribe’s building are sold out for the rest of 2019. Permits for camping were available for sale starting February 1. About 300 camping permits a day are available.
Adam Henry is co-owner of Discovery Treks. The guide company usually brings between 100 and 200 visitors to the waterfalls each year. Now the company will have to offer trips to different places in the Grand Canyon.
He says the new rules do not bring good news for those who wish to visit the falls.
Visitors will have to walk 13 kilometers down a winding trail through desert before reaching the first waterfall, where 600 tribe members live year-round. To reach the campground with waterfalls on both ends, visitors must walk another 3 kilometers down the trail.
“The blue-green water is what people want to see,” Henry said. “It’s certainly a significant bummer for people who aren’t going to be able to get out there on their own.”
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Felicia Fonseca reported this story for the Associated Press. Hai Do adapted the story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
hike - n. an unusually long walk
enterprise - n. activity that involves many people
camp site - n. a place that is far away from cities that has tents, small houses, etc., that people can stay for a short time
significant - adj. large enough to be noticed or have an effect
bummer - n. (informal) something that is disappointing