FLAGSTAFF - U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick asked federal officials Friday to help an Arizona American Indian tribe with plans to build a "bypass" road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk amid an ongoing dispute with a rancher and a recent closure of a private road.
In a letter to U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Kirkpatrick asked the agency to expedite a permit application for the planned bypass to Hualapai lands. The tribe owns the Skywalk.
The letter comes as rancher Nigel Turner, who owns a tourist ranch along Diamond Bar Road, and authorities remain at odds over paving the road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Turner wants to review plans and have them include fencing, cattle guards, and entrances to his property.
In the meantime, Turner closed off his road this week after his arrest for allegedly threatening construction workers.
Turner recently installed a roadblock and a toll on tour buses and cars that traveled the dirt road crossing his land. Diamond Bar Road crosses about a mile of his land before ending at Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai tribal land and the tribe's Skywalk overlooking the canyon.
Turner is charging tourists an entry fee to his Western ranch that includes an hourly rodeo show, gun range, museum and other activities. It costs $20 per adult and $10 per child. Turner told The Associated Press that he instituted a toll because his "land has been abused for 13 years."
The tribe wants to create a temporary dirt roadway that bypasses a checkpoint on Turner's road.
The Kingman Daily News reported this week that Turner was arrested for allegedly threatening construction workers.
The section of Diamond Bar Road that goes across his property was closed Wednesday to all traffic. The tribe is working with the federal government to seek an injunction against the closure, tribe spokesman Dave Cieslak said.