Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Tourists hoping to see Arizona Falls forced out by flood

Tourists hoping to see the world-famous waterfalls on the Havasupai Tribe reservation in northern Arizona had to go through flood evacuations.

The official Havasupai Tribe Tourism Facebook page reported Friday that floods had swept away a bridge at the campground. An unknown number of campers were taken to Supai village, some of whom were rescued by helicopter.

The camp ground is in a lower area than Supai village. Some hikers had to camp in the village. Others who were unable to reach the village due to high water were forced to stay overnight on a footpath.

But according to the tribe’s Facebook post, the floodwaters had started receding since Saturday morning.

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Visitors with the proper permits will be allowed to hike into the village and campground. They will be met by Aboriginal guides who will help them navigate around the waters of the bay on the back footpath to the village.

Tourists will not be allowed to take photographs. The trail leads past sites considered sacred by the tribe.

Meanwhile, the tribe said in their statement that they have “all hands on deck” to build a new temporary bridge at the campground.

Abby Fink, a spokeswoman for the tribe, did not immediately respond to a message Saturday seeking comment.

From Supai to Sedona, several areas of northern Arizona have been struck by tornadoes this week. The resulting snow combined with melting snow at higher altitudes has wreaked havoc on highways, access roads and even city streets.

The Havasupai Campground is flooded for the first time since March 2020, when the tribe reopened its majestic blue-green Havasu Falls – the most famous of the Havasupai waterfalls. The tribe opted to close to protect its members from the coronavirus. , The authorities then decided to close through last year’s tourist season.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration initiated by the Havasupai tribe that frees up funding for damage caused by the October flood. At that time the flood destroyed many bridges and downed trees on the trails needed to transport tourists and goods.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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