Canyon - Part 2
by David Belskis
Bulldozing in Long
Canyon is scheduled to begin within the next few months. Long
Canyon is Sedonas most cherished Wilderness area and most
sacred Indian land.
most sacred part of this most sacred land is the prime central
valley where the developers private land is. NZ, a large uranium
and land corporation, might begin bulldozing thousands of old
growth trees by as early as January, 2001, or shortly thereafter.
However, it can still be saved.
The land is still
for sale. Why would NZ bulldoze when the land is still for sale?
NZ is having difficulty selling it. Many potential buyers have
looked at it and passed over the last few years. They are applying
for grading permits now before their other permits expire in
June, 2001. The land is still for sale, but they think they
want to grade out the golf course to make it more saleable to
another developer. Also, doing some work before June, 2001 will
lock in their permits. If they wait until after that, their
permits expire, and they would have to reapply and go through
the public hearing process all over again.
Many people in Sedona
and around the world very much prefer to see Long Canyon saved.
Many people believe Long Canyon is a very special sacred place.
As such it is a key pivotal leverage point with more far reaching
impact on the world than most people realize.
Many people have
the intuition that the fate of Sedona and the entire world will
be strongly influenced by what happens in Long Canyon. If it
is respected, preserved and treated as a sacred sanctuary, that
will bode well for Sedona and the world. If Long Canyon is exploited,
degraded and sacrificed on the altar of greed, frivolity and
carelessness, that will not bode well for Sedona and the world.
is going on in Long Canyon is very symbolic for the whole Earth.
A global tidal wave of sprawling greed and ecological destruction
has washed around the planet for many decades. Now it wants
to invade Long Canyon, one of the most special and sacred places
on Earth. Long Canyon is where this tidal wave of greed dissipates
itself in one last frothing gasp. Here it is stopped, turned
around and transformed into something much more beautiful. This
is the cosmic story and grand historical drama that is being
played out in Long Canyon. A new vision for the the 21st century
of caring for the Earth and higher standards for development
is emerging from "Save Long Canyon."
Caring for the Earth
and higher standards for development is an idea whose time has
come. Why would NZ want to ruin their company financially by
going against this motion of history? If they build a project
there that does not respect Long Canyon as a sacred place and
that does not meet up to the newly emerging ecological standards
demanded by the market, then it will fail. We believe it will
be better for NZ and for everyone to move in another direction
- to give up their plan to develop Long Canyon and to work with
us on a better way.
Our Plan for
World Survival Foundation,
a Sedona based 501(c)(3) non-profit formed in 1988, representing
a large coalition, is raising the money now to buy and save
Long Canyon. Even if NZ begins bulldozing, "Save Long Canyon"
will continue in one form or another. We will work with the
land in whatever state we find it when we buy it, to restore
it as a wilderness preserve, public park and sacred sanctuary.
If the golf course
is graded and the entire valley cleared out, that is only a
prelude to it being an even larger and more open public park.
Even if they build the entire project, we will buy it and restore
it as a sacred sanctuary. "Save Long Canyon" will continue,
no matter what twists and turns the story may take, until sooner
or later, now or then, Long Canyon is saved. We believe it is
better for all to save Long Canyon now. We have a new proposal
for NZ, which we believe is a win-win situation for all.
Since January, 2000,
we have been sending proposals to foundations and going door
to door in Sedona to raise the money. The biggest problem has
been the $14M asking price. Virtually everybody perceives this
as being too much. It puts us in an awkward position, as though
we are acting as an agent for the developer to make them a nice
profit, while people dont want to give them a profit for
having ruined the land, and nobody likes being ripped-off.
Even Ted Turners
foundation said, "Wed like to help you, but we dont
like being ripped-off. We can save thousands of acres elsewhere
for the same price. You have to get the price lower."
We are moving toward
a lower price. The price has dropped from $15M quoted in November,
1999 to $14M quoted in October, 2000. If they are not able to
sell to another developer soon, it would seem there is room
for the price to go lower. We propose that the developer donate
all or part of the asking price. If they can only donate part
of it, we propose they consider creative financing over a 10
to 30 year period, which will allow us to have possession of
the land in the first year as a base from which to continue
A first draft, rough
budget estimate for a 10 year plan may include $9M to buy the
land, $5M for the ecological restoration project (for consultants,
contractors and labor), $2M for a temporary Youth Environmental
Service (YES) Work Camp to help with the ecological restoration
work, and $4M for overall administration, insurance and fees.
The total amount is $20M. With a $5M donation from the developer
off the asking price, the grand total is $25M. We are raising
this money in the form of pledges. If enough total pledges are
not made in time, single pledges are not called for payment,
and that money remains with the donors. When called, that money
is put in escrow until applied to the project.
Our goal is to "Save
Long Canyon" by or before Christmas, 2001. We are accepting
800 pledges in units of $25,000 each, for a $20M, 10 year plan.
We only need 300 pledges from private sources. The remainder
consists of labor pledges, trades, and youth camp sponsorships.
As of November 11, 2000, we already have 22 units pledged; 778
units are available. We are offering a 5% fee to anyone who
helps bring cash units in.
Until very recently,
our funding proposal was nowhere near as good as it is now.
In the past we were asking foundations and individuals for the
full $20M, and we were presenting this as a "save the land"
proposal. We have learned that very few philanthropists get
as excited about saving the land as they do about helping people.
We were also emphasizing an Ecological Architecture Design Competition
idea, for a small incremental cost, in an attempt to add value
to make it worth the extra money (for the rest of the world).
The idea was to allow
Long Canyon to be a "projector screen" to generate and showcase
ecological development ideas and share them with the whole world,
while not building anything in Long Canyon. If humanity knew
how to build in harmony with nature, then environmental battles
would never occur.
Our new proposal
deemphasizes the Ecological Architecture Design Competition
idea. People seemed to not understand what this could be, and
it seemed to complicate the matter and confuse people. Our new
proposal focuses more on moving toward a lower price, and has
added a Youth Environmental Service (YES) Work Camp idea to
work on repairing the land. This adds a new "human benefit"
component, which is modeled on other successful programs around
the country that help "at risk" kids by giving them a creative
outlet for their energies by engaging them in positive, constructive,
ecological restoration work.
Our new proposal
only asks for pledges of $25,000 from any particular source,
instead of asking for the full $20M. Few funding sources ever
give $20M. Most never give more than $5,000 to $100,000 at a
time to any particular cause.
We have sent letters
of inquiry to 392 foundations and other potential sources of
funding, and our previous full proposal to 40 of these. We have
since received one pledge from a foundation, 363 "No, for now"
responses (many wanted to see more money coming from Sedona,
and a lower price, before they would be willing to give) and
we are still waiting to hear back from 28. Provided that we
have adequate funding for our annual operational budget soon,
we intend to reapply to most all of these potential funding
sources, and several hundred new ones, with our new, improved
YES proposal in the coming year.
The Trust for Public
Lands, Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, and Federal and
State government were all approached for funding at an earlier
stage of our project. They all declined for two reasons: 1)
the land is not in pristine condition (there are ruins from
current and previous development attempts), and 2) the asking
price ($14M) is higher than appraised value as a Wilderness
(approximately estimated at $3-7M). Even if the land was in
pristine condition, these agencies cannot pay or trade for more
than appraised value as a Wilderness. We believe that our current
proposal, if resubmitted, could attract partial funding from
public sources over time because of the new Youth Environmental
Service (YES) Work Camp idea.
Even before buying
Long Canyon to save it, our work has been effective in lessening
the impact of this proposed development (12 stipulations were
added), in raising awareness in the community to environmental
issues, and influencing developers and government to have more
environmentally sensitive standards (the County added new golf
course restrictions in 2000).
In November, 1999,
Meridian West (NZs minority partner, which had exclusive
control of the property for a six-month period) offered 11 ecological
changes including: using solar energy and more "green" building
materials, a more environmentally friendly Audubon International
golf course, banning the use of pesticides and herbicides to
avoid polluting and ruining the ecology of the surrounding Wilderness,
an increased buffer zone between the Wilderness and the development,
greater conservation of water to reduce potential impacts on
neighbors water supply, a solar-hydrogen shuttle to reduce traffic
and pollution, a three-acre environmental education center contained
within the development, and more. Meridian recognized that all
of these changes would make their project more marketable. NZ
is not offering these changes and a new developer buyer may
For more information,
please read part I of this article from last months Red
Rock Review, (available at redrockreview.com), or visit our
website (www.savelongcanyon.org), and the Gold Award winning
video "Save Long Canyon" available at stores throughout Sedona
and from World Survival Foundation.
Since December, 1996
we have raised $64,555 cash ($16,100 per year average), and
$387,430 estimated in-kind, time and services, for a total of
$451,985. We have been operating on much less cash than is needed
to do the job right. A $100,000+ cash minimal operational budget
per year would be more ideal for our ongoing public relations
and fundraising activity needs; $200,000+ would allow us to
hire more people and do more work.
Your donation of
any amount toward our ongoing annual operational expenses is
most vital, appreciated and very important to help us meet our
goals. If you can pledge for one of the $25,0000 units to help
buy the land that would also be great. Donations are tax deductible.
assume that somebody else has got this covered. If you care
about this issue and have the ability to help, please make your
contribution now. Thank you. World Survival Foundation, P.O.
Box 3711, Sedona, AZ 86340, (520) 204-1281 voice mail, (520)
451-1281 cell phone direct.