Area of Grand Canyon to be closed for months

Flagstaff, Arizona (AP) 9-08

A tribal village and popular Grand Canyon tourist spot hit by flooding won’t reopen to visitors for at least six months, the tribe’s Tourism Office said.

The Havasupai tribe initially had planned to allow visitors back to the area during September, but said Aug. 26 that more time is needed to repair the miles-long trail that leads visitors through Supai village and to campgrounds and towering blue-green waterfalls.

“The trail is pretty damaged, so they are going to close it down for the remainder of the year,” said Taschina Watahomigie, an employee in the tribe’s Tourism Office.

The travertine pool below Havasu Falls that gives the water its blue-green color is dried out, and Watahomigie said the flood damaged other waterfalls that lure thousands of tourists to the area each year.

Most tourists who were in the canyon when flood waters swept through Aug. 16 made their way to Supai and were ferried by helicopter to the canyon rim. The village itself rests well above the Colorado River tributary of Havasu Creek and is accessible only by helicopter, mule or foot.

Residents who had evacuated the flood-prone canyon have returned.

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