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Kingman Daily Miner | Kingman, Arizona

home : latest news : regional April 29, 2016

6/21/2013 6:01:00 AM
Ranch owner: Burial discovery should halt new Skywalk road

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A Mohave County businessman is using the discovery of a burial site near the new Diamond Bar Road to push the federal government for a new environmental impact study of the area - a study that would delay the construction project and possibly push it into the next year, costing the Hualapai Tribe not only time, but money.

Road construction workers uncovered the burial site Tuesday morning. Scientists are studying the site to determine if the remains belong to a Native American.

The last environmental impact study on the project was completed in 2002.

"It is time to temporarily stop this destruction, as I have asked now for weeks," said Grand Canyon Ranch owner Nigel Turner, who has been feuding with the tribe over the road. "Are we going to destroy another 13,000 ancient Joshua trees, more burial sites and prehistoric cooking pits and more of this historic ranch rather than do it right?

"All this can be prevented by stopping construction through this complex area now, doing careful planning as per our 2007 agreement and conducting a new, comprehensive EIS."

Diamond Bar Road currently crosses part of Turner's property. The road is the shortest route to the Skywalk from Las Vegas. The Hualapai Tribe contracted with Fann Construction earlier this year to build a new section of road that will straighten out some of the dangerous curves in the current road and bypass Turner's property.

Turner has objected to the plans for the new road, saying they don't follow the requirements set down in a 2007 settlement agreement between him, the federal government and Mohave County. He asked the federal court in May to enforce 2007 agreement.

Turner said he is concerned that the new dirt road does not have sufficient drainage to handle the summer monsoon storms. He wants to halt all work on that section of road for at least 30 days so the area can be reassessed.

The U.S. government disagrees with Turner.

U.S. Attorney Peter Lantka told U.S. District Judge Neil Wake on June 14 that the road plans include culverts to divert floodwaters. All of the other requests Turner has made, including underpasses for animals and turn lanes for the ranch, are included as well, he said.

Peter Sorensen, Turner's attorney, told Wake the area surrounding Diamond Bar Road has changed in the last 11 years. He pointed out that the culverts appear to divert water directly onto a bank of electric generators and the ranch headquarters. Turner has added buildings and other amenities to Grand Canyon Ranch since the 2007 agreement was signed.

Halting the project now could prevent Fann Construction from finishing the road on time, which would increase the cost of the project, Lantka said.

ICT - Mohave Electric WI_Power Boy 233x388
Related Stories:
• Possible historic burial site found on new Skywalk road
• Turner closes Skywalk road, gets arrested for alleged threats

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013
Article comment by: Edward Outrider

1. The road does not cross his ranch anymore, a by pass was put in.

2. Turner asked the county to maintain the speed limit an issue citations as a public road across his land, it a private road when it benifits him and a public road when that benifits him.

3. The county could have stood there ground since they paid for road maintenance and speed enforcement as a public road. but they did not. May be the underlying racism so prevalent in Kingman had something to do with that.

4. As Grand Canyon West (surely the largest single employer of non natives in Mohave County) has grown so has Turners Ranch, he benifits from the tribes success. What is it that Turner wants? Is it a helicopter deal is it a tour program that he is angeling for?

5. Does this Austrailian really care about Native burial sites? Do any of you? The tribe does, drive out there and see who is protecting the site. Not the BLM.

6. The sites been bypassed also.

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Brother Justin

So is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act being overlooked because the project is being done by the Hualapai Tribe?

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

Well anonymous anonymous, odd that the County attorney said what he was doing was within his rights. Also odd that he wasn't arrested for the tolls or blocking the road, but for allegedly threatening an equipment operator. If it was really against the law, don't you think the County and State might have done something quite quickly?

The basic criminal definition of extortion is "The practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats.". No one forced the buses and cars to use his road, they could just turn around.

Remember, he started the tolls, then stopped, then started, then blocked the road, then opened it up during negotiations which were fruitless.

If I own a big empty lot and someone wants to park their RV on it, I can say no or I could charge a fee if I wanted to. If I owned land that someone want's to hunt, I can say no or I could charge a fee if I wanted to. Basic property rights.

Hang on to your own day legal advice isn't for you.

And you should hope that you are never on the opposite side of a Minority business that grosses $70-80M a year when they violate your property rights. I wonder if you'd be of the same opinion in that case?

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

V Stokes keep the day job, comedian will never be a good career for you, as to extortion, highway robbery is when one sets up a road block with no legal standing to do so, and extorts a toll, toll roads have to be approved by state government, private roads cannot create toll booths, road blocks for purpose of extorting fees for passage, proof of this is your hero is not longer able to do this and ended up in jail!

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Some Person

The Kingman Daily Miner is the Fox News of Mohave County.

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013
Article comment by: az2retire2 4ever

Well, Nigel ol boy...your going to cut your nose off to spite your face. just another ploy to slow down progress. I worked up there for 41/2 years. So Hualapai people, lets just build up Buck and Doe Rd and see how Mr. Nigel likes all the piece and quiet. Stand Tall people of the tall pines!

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Capt Nasty

“…. plus experts to walk in front of the ditch digger (huge) all the way from California to Texas,…”

An in depth (and I do mean IN-DEPTH) internet search turned up no evidence of any such thing happening.

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

Actually anonymous anonymous, I've never met Mr Turner, never even heard of him til the stories here. Never been out to the Skywalk either...I don't fall for tourist traps.

I do know that when 2 parties make an agreement and one of them defaults, the agreement is void.

Not sure where you are getting the "extort money" thing...sounds like he just wanted the agreement to be followed and when it wasn't he took another path to alleviate the issues caused by the traffic on his land.

There are still a few property rights in this country. I imagine one is that you can prohibit or charge a toll for someone to cross yours unless it's public access. Apparently not the case here.

Please address my proposal for your land...I really want to get started on my tourist trap.

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013
Article comment by: carma is wonderful

Well...I would have thought mr. nigel turner would be great with departing ways with the Hualapai Tribe, but it sounds like he is trying to keep the road in the same area. Maybe because the traffic would bypass his property?! How do we all know that there are not any ancient burials on his property? But because he is of a different color, who cares?! It is pretty evident that racial views and characters are alive and well in Mohave County. Have a good day though, whether you are brown, white, red, yellow whatever color you are enjoy because I will...bye

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

V Stokes, seems to me you either the ranchers pal or his on line alias, in either case, the ranchers road, property is being bypassed, what you upset about, you and your and your pal cannot extort anymore money out of the tribe! I fail to see how the rancher has a issue, the road is not going to be a issue its a moot issue!

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

How many construction jobs have been stopped because there was an arrow head found in the way?
Kind of looks like what comes around goes around and you would also think the tribe would be interested in the site but it sounds like money comes first even with the tribe who depends on tax payers dollars for everything.
A gas pipe line was built across the area I lived in California and they had to hire local Indians plus experts to walk in front of the ditch digger (huge) all the way from California to Texas, and the company had to pay their wages which were enormous. I do not feel sorry for these people on tiny bit.

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

Let's see here...

Nigel owns a "historic" ranch.

The Tribe builds (with Jin's expertise) the Skywalk.

Tourists must cross Nigel's land to get to the Skywalk.

Nigel sees opportunity?

Nigel, Tribe, Mohave County and the Feds enter into a road use agreement.

Nigel gets paid $750,000.00.

EIS performed to improve existing road.

Everyone happy.

Time goes on, road is not finished.

Nigel is upset...tourists using "his" part of the road are disrespectful and are litterbugs.

Nigel charges toll for "his" part of the road.

Nigel still not happy, claims road reverted back to him, has altercation with Tribe's construction people...gets arrested.

Nigel denies access through his ranch on "his" part of the road.

Tribe, with help, begin building road to bypass Nigel's'd think this would make Nigel happy since disrespectful tourist litterbugs would no longer be crossing his property, wouldn't you?

Bones found!

Nigel is again upset and demands that EIS's be performed. Joshua trees, cooking pits and burial sites are going to be affected!

Question...did Nigel perform EIS's when he built the new buildings and other amenities on his ranch?

Nigel is concerned about the monsoons and the effect that they may have on his property due to the road building...did he not take this into consideration when the original plans were presented, and does the bypass road really have a greater impact than the original???

Nigel evokes provisions from the 2007 agreement to support his cause, but also claims the agreement is void and the road has reverted back to his ownership...what the???

Now, I know some of the "Powers to Be" within the Tribe are not without blame regarding this takes two to tango, but...

What will it take to make Nigel happy?

What will it take to make the Tribe happy?

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013
Article comment by: Louie Meadview

Ruben Sanchez, field manager of the BLM Kingman Field Office, said.

“It’s the remains of a small child, maybe 1 to 3 years of age."

The child is confirmed as a Hualapai Tribe member.

Do we have anymore information on how old the grave-site is or is this a possible burial site?

When I personally drove up to take a look my observation was that there were several sites not just one. This is about 6 miles from my AZ home.

I did a little research and the Hualapai did not bury there dead until recent times, I was told this was a very old grave-site. So now I'm confused, did the Hualapai just claim the bodies so they could move them quickly 6 miles up the road to there reservation in order to keep the road construction project moving forward??

SWCA Environmental Consultants is the company that was called in to do any site dating or determine if it has any archeological significance do we have any data from them??

Did we find something special here, or do we just talk about the politics and shenanigans from our local rancher dude or is it dude rancher?
In the meantime Fann Construction is back to work on the road.


Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

Hey anonymous anonymous...
I think you said you owned property out there somewhere? You wouldn't mind if I built some sort of attraction and then drove 50-80 buses a day across your land to get to it would you? You would? Oh...well, let me just give you some money for a temporary easement and I promise I'll upgrade the road within a few years, so we both benefit. I mean...if I don't get around to it for a lot longer than I won't mind will you? And if I decide to change what we agreed on or not take in to consideration any changes in the area that affect the plan, that will be ok, won't it? Yer such a great guy...thanks!

Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Article comment by: Desert Girl

Turner says he has added buildings and other amenities to Grand Canyon Ranch since the 2007 agreement was signed and now the culverts are in the wrong place and may cause flooding. Well duh, why did he build in an area prone to flooding. Seems to be the same crap, different day for Turner. Whine a lot and say the same old thing. Give us all a break Nigel and stop whining. The road now goes around your property so what now will you complain about?

Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody sr

I wonder why "special treatment" is being given to this construction project!
I've NEVER seen anything rushed thru like this, with the environmental impact study and other requirements obviously ignored! are there $$$$ at stake? so what?

Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Article comment by: BN Russo

Unless I misunderstand it, the cost to walk the skywalk is almost $90/person. That goes to the tribe. The old road was suppose to be improved (paved) and kept clean but it sounds like that probably will not happen. Why can't the rancher try to re-coup funds or get attention by means of a toll when he probably won't get what he thought he was promised?

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013
Article comment by: Highly Amused

I really think at this point that it's not about preserving nature or historic sites for him. It's about all that money he's been earning charging people for crossing his land.

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013
Article comment by: concerned citizen

Does Mr Turner call the Miner every day so that they can publish his side of this story? This seems to be going on and on and on....

It seems like no one wants the courts to decide who's right. Everyone wants to get their side of the story in every chance they get.

Mr Turner seems to be awful concerned about the Indian artifacts, while inferring the Hualapai tribe does not. Perhaps Mr Turner has a nother agenda at work here that he doesn't want exposed or talked about.

Can anyone say $$$$?

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

This rancher aka extortionist highway robber is amusing, crying about a road across his property he received $700,000 plus for and spent that money likely and wants more, angry at the tribe bypassing his feeble attempt at highway robbery! I think a curve around any burial site is easy to plot and will not take much work to figure out, and might even ad to the road being planned by BLM, making it a historical site for tourists to visit and see! I think the skin tone issue folks are laughing prematurely on this one!

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