In 2015, the National Park Service (NPS) assumed control of the Watchtower at Desert View. This 1932-vintage architectural marvel, designed by Mary Jane Colter, anchors a modest tourist infrastructure at the east entrance of the developed South Rim. Since acquiring possessory interest in the Watchtower, the NPS has been working with the park’s eleven Traditionally Associated Tribes, the Grand Canyon Conservancy (formerly the Grand Canyon Association), and other park partners to transform the area into what’s being called the Desert View Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site.
Per the NPS planning documents, some elements of the larger project include “some modifications to existing infrastructure (such as restriping parking lots), some demolition (and potential reuse) of underutilized facilities (such as the existing visitor center, shade structures and some walkways), as well as some new construction (such as expansion of existing amphitheater and construction of new restrooms) within the existing developed footprint at Desert View.” Once completed, it will serve as a hub that economically supports indigenous peoples and provides a venue to share their many stories with park visitors.
Driving the development of the site is Grand Canyon National Park’s Inter-tribal Advisory Council comprised of tribal representatives, the NPS, and other stakeholders. The successful collaboration has received national attention. As the next step in the planning process, the NPS recently rolled out the Desert View Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site Plan/Environmental Assessment for public comment.
Follow this link for full details, and instructions on how to weigh in on this transformative project: