Category Archives: Coconino County

Flagstaff’s Snowbowl wins latest court fight vs. Navajos

[Source: Michael Kiefer, Arizona Republic] — A federal appellate court on Friday sided with a Flagstaff ski resort, ruling that its plan for using reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow does not violate the religious freedom of Native Americans. The ruling sets up a potential showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Arizona tribal leaders, environmental groups and their attorneys pledge to appeal their case. Regardless, there will be no snowmaking at the Snowbowl this winter.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Howard A. Sheldon.]

Pecos Conference in Flagstaff August 7-10

The purpose of the Pecos Conference, as Alfred Vincent Kidder put it in summing up the first such gathering, is to “…bring about contact between workers in the Southwest field to discuss fundamental problems of Southwestern prehistory; and to formulate problems of Southwest prehistory; to pool knowledge of facts and techniques, and to lay a foundation for a unified system of nomenclature.” Deliberately informal, the Pecos Conference affords Southwestern archaeologists a superlative opportunity to talk with one another, both by presenting field reports and by casual discussions. It is a chance to see old friends, meet new ones, pick up fresh information, organize future conferences, and have a great time. In recent years, Native Americans, avocational archaeologists, the general public and media organizations have come to play an increasingly important role, serving as participants and as audience, to celebrate archaeological research and to mark cultural continuity. For more information on the Pecos Conference, click here.

Flagstaff debutes new Landmarks Design Review Overlay District

[Source: Karl Eberhard, Flagstaff Historic Preservation Officer] — A new ordinance has recently gone into effect, creating a new historic district in Flagstaff, known as the Landmarks Design Review Overlay District. This district is a floating overlay zone for individual structures and sites that could be located anywhere within the City limits. Applying the Landmarks Design Review Overlay District zoning designation to specific parcels would have the effect of making the design standards and guidelines applicable to such properties. The district is constructed for the preservation of a wide range of heritage resources including objects, structures, natural features, sites, places, or areas.

The design standards and guidelines introduce to Flagstaff “Thresholds of Significance”, for both heritage resources and impacts, and “Mitigation Measures”. The thresholds in the guidelines encompass a wide range of significance indicators. Though “generic” to serve many resources, the guidelines accomplish two basic but significant preservation and design goals. First, like many historic districts, they reference Federal standards for archeological and architectural resources. Second, they introduce “basic design compatibility” to the development review culture of the City.

As a tool, this action by the Council significantly simplifies the process for preservation efforts in Flagstaff by providing a “ready and waiting” zoning district and guidelines, eliminating six Council actions from the process. One landmark, the Ashurst House, located directly behind the more well know Pelota Court, has already been designated to this new district. The home was constructed in 1888 as the home of William Henry Ashurst, an Arizona Territorial Legislator and Flagstaff civic leader, and was the childhood home of Henry F. Ashurst. It is a good example of an early Vernacular Style house and an excellent example of the initial development of the Brannen Addition subdivision. It is independently eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing structure within the pending Southside Historic District. The City owns several historic properties and expects to apply the Landmarks Design Review Overlay District zoning designation to these properties this year. Several private property owners are expressing interest in designation as well.

Sedona visitors enjoy archaeology along the Colorado River exhibit

[Source: Gateway to Sedona] — A new exhibit by Flagstaff adventure photographer Dawn Kish, Grand Archaeology: New Excavations along the Colorado River, will be featured during Archaeology Awareness Month, at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. The exhibit, which will run through July 13, documents recent archaeological excavation and research in Grand Canyon National Park, conducted by MNA in partnership with GCNP. The exhibit is made possible through the generous support of the Grand Canyon Association. “The Grand Canyon archaeological project between the Grand Canyon National Park and MNA is the first major archaeological project within Grand Canyon National Park in a generation and provides a unique opportunity to study sites along the Colorado River corridor. It is hoped that this project will provide new information about the lifeways of the people who lived in the Grand Canyon in the past,” said MNA Director Robert Breunig.

The exhibit’s featured excavation is part of a project focused on nine archaeological sites. The project began in 2005 and will continue through 2011, with excavations being led by MNA Archaeologist and Principal Investigator Ted Neff and Grand Canyon National Park River Corridor Archaeologist Lisa Leap. In the mid-1980s, Grand Canyon National Park archaeologists noted an increase of erosion at a number of sites along the Colorado River due to natural deterioration, visitor impact, and overall sediment depletion caused by the operation of Glen Canyon Dam. These excavation and research efforts will, therefore, collect valuable information about past life ways in Grand Canyon before it is lost forever.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Dawn Kish.]

Park won’t try to replace historic Grand Canyon gift shop

[Source: Associated Press] — The National Park Service says it won’t try to find another company to run the historic Verkamp’s Curios gift shop on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, ending a 100-year run for the family owned store. The Verkamp family decided not to bid to run the shop when the Park Service asked for proposals last year. The Park Service has decided not to seek other bidders and will find other uses for the building once they buy out the family’s interest in the building. The family began selling trinkets out of a tent and built the shop in 1906, living there until the mid-1980s. Millions of visitors have bought curios, Indian blankets, baskets, pottery and other souvenirs at the site. It is set to close in September.

Basque Pelota Ball Court & Associated Structures

Basque Pelota is a handball-like game played on the borders of Spain and France. When Basques immigrated to America in the 1800s, they brought their sport with them. Approximately two dozen Pelota ball courts exist in the United States. Of that, a dozen or so remain west of the Mississippi and only one remains in Arizona. Currently, there are issues over how the site can be and should be developed. Though the owners would like to preserve the property, their efforts at reuse on the site have been fraught with problems outside of their control. (Photo source: Patty Rubick Luttrell.)

August 2007 Update: The City of Flagstaff and property owner are working together to find solutions to protect and preserve this site.