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Arizona Indians unhappy with snowmaking

Allen Best

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Indians are unhappy with a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow snowmaking from reclaimed wastewater at a ski area on San Francisco Peaks. Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, said the decision “has placed a dagger in the Hopis’ spirituality.” Joe Shirley Jr., president of the Navajo, claimed that the Forest Service is breaking “our hearts by choosing to enrich the pockets of a few over enriching the souls of the indigenous people of this land.” The San Francisco Peaks are among the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo Nation.Indian News Today explains that while the Forest Service believes the reclaimed wastewater is safe, Indian medicine men say it would affect the herbs they gather for medicines and ceremonies. Also among the 14 Indian groups opposing the decision were the Apache, the Pueblo, the Havasupai and the Paiutes. Too little water for resort village? WINTER PARK – It’s nip-and-tuck whether there is enough water for the $70 million first phase of real estate construction that Intrawest plans at the base of the Winter Park ski area. While there would be enough water most of the time, drought years and peak-use months of March and July are another matter.Intrawest altogether plans 1,200 to 1,500 units in coming years, but this first phase is expected to include only 160 condominiums and 42,000 square feet of commercial space. But is there enough water for even this? Water district and Intrawest officials think yes, but the buck stops at town hall, and the Winter Park Manifest reports that officials there are dubious.Who’s to know for sure? That’s partly what a $60,000 study aims to find out, with Intrawest picking up most of the tab. Longer range, the community is also looking at various eat-your-cake-and-have-it-too schemes. One involves a reservoir, to trap spring runoff, but three other ideas now being explored involve pumping water back from below sewage treatment plants, to ensure water remains in the Fraser River as it flows through the town. Even at 9,000 feet, water gets recycled.Vail, Colorado


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