Havasupai Tribal Council declares state of emergency
SUPAI – Flooding at Havasupai Falls on July 11 has led the Havasupai Tribal Council to pass a Declaration of Disaster, a state of emergency for the Havasupai Indian Reservation trails leading to Supai Village.
HMA Public Relations reports that according to the declaration, the main trail leading into Supai Village has been declared dangerous due to flood levels and rock slides, and is in need of major repairs. The Hualapai Hilltop Trail that goes into the village is currently closed to hikers and mule trains.
Two waves of flooding, one of about 7 feet, hit Supai before dark July 11, and another that hit at around 3:30 a.m. July 12, caused the closure.
“The unstable and dangerous conditions of the affected areas and our Tribe’s limited resources necessitate the need for federal assistance,” said Chairwoman Muriel Coochwytewa in a press release sent by HMA Public Relations. “The Tribal Council, in consultation with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (AZ DEMA) and Coconino County Emergency Management, have determined that the cost of emergency repairs is expected to exceed $250,000.”
The Havasupai Tribal Emergency Response Team spent approximately $25,000 in its efforts to relocate, house, clothe, feed and evacuate visitors in the area at the time of the flood.
Coochwytewa said in the release that tourism is the Tribe’s main source of revenue, and the closures of the campgrounds and lodge through August are expected to have devastating economic effects.
“The immediate and extended closure of Havasu Canyon will cause severe financial harm to the Havasupai Reservation and our tribal members,” Coochwytewa said. “The trail from Hualapai Hilltop is unsafe and due to these conditions, will remain closed allowing the tribe to ensure that the area is safe. The campgrounds and the lodge will reopen on Sept. 1.”
Those with campground or lodge reservations can contact the Tourist Office at 928-448-2141 to reschedule. The tribe is accepting monetary donations which can be made to the Havasupai 2018 Flood Relief Fund at www.HavasupaiReservations.com/donate. The tribe is also taking donations of supplies, and a list of what is needed can be found by going to https://bit.ly/2JKaRZZ. Supplies can be taken to Hualapai Hilltop, or the tribe’s Flagstaff office at 5200 E. Cortland Blvd, Suite D-5.
Information provided by HMA Public Relations