Archive of Prominent Section 106 Cases:
Arizona: Demolition of North Rim Inn Cabins (Grand Canyon National Park)
As proposed in its 1995 General Management Plan (GMP), the National Park Service (NPS) wishes to demolish 25 of the 29 exposed-frame cabins included in the North Rim Inn Historic District at Grand Canyon National Park. The "rustic" style cabins were built circa 1926 to serve as inexpensive tourist facilities. Used most recently as housing for park employees, the cabins have remained empty since 1990.
The Arizona State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) objected to demolition of the North Rim cabins when NPS first proposed this action in the 1992 draft GMP. Despite this objection, demolition of the bulk of the cabins was incorporated into the final GMP, which calls for the area to be replanted with native vegetation. The remaining four cabins would be rehabilitated and used for interpretive purposes. NPS forwarded a draft Memorandum of Agreement to the SHPO in July 1998. The SHPO again objected to the proposed undertaking and invited the Council to participate in the consultation process.
NPS does not contend that rehabilitation of the cabins for visitor accommodations or employee housing would be cost prohibitive. Rather, NPS indicated that it prefers to focus its limited resources on other historic buildings in the park. The SHPO, however, feels this position contradicts the intent of Sections 110 and 111 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which direct Federal agencies to use, to the maximum extent feasible, available historic properties and to develop alternative uses for historic properties not needed for current or projected agency purposes. This case highlights a stewardship issue that many national parks are struggling to resolve.
Both NPS and the SHPO have provided the Council with extensive background documentation regarding the condition and significance of the cabins. However, NPS also has notified the Council that it would like to postpone further consultation while it gathers additional data and refines its proposal of which and how many cabins should be retained. NPS anticipates re-opening consultation on the matter with the Council and SHPO in approximately April 1999.
Staff contact: Jane Crisler
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