Flagstaff, AZ -- At 2:30 PM, Dec 2, one day after a US District Court judge ruled against the Save The Peaks Coalition, more than a dozen people took action and "quarantined" a lodge at Arizona Snowbowl ski area.
The Arizona Snowbowl ski area, located on the Holy San Francisco Peaks, has been threatening expansion and snowmaking with treated sewage effluent since 2002.
Carrying banners that read "Danger: Snowbowl, Public Health Hazard" and dressed in hazmat suits, some of the protestors attempted to enter Snowbowl lodge where a job fair was being held. Snowbowl employees blocked the group and attempted to make them leave the public area. Becoming physically aggressive Snowbowl general manager JR Murray then pushed one of the protesters and wrestled a banner pole from their hands. After the altercation the demonstrators then moved to a lower parking lot and continued their protest while Snowbowl employees surveilled them.
The demonstrators drove down the mountain in two separate cars. Six law enforcement vehicles swarmed and prevented them from leaving. The occupants were detained, interrogated and threatened with arrest, all while pictures and video were taken by County sheriffs, Forest Service and other Federal agents whom refused to identify themselves. When asked what the allegations were, the cops said, "trespassing and littering." After being detained for more than 30 minutes, the demonstrators were released without being charged or cited.
"How can Snowbowl say that we're littering when they are attempting to dump 180 million gallons of contaminated sewage per year and expand their development by clear cutting over 100 acres of old growth trees?", said Ned del Callejo. "While Snowbowl is threatening public health they are calling law enforcement on those who are trying to protect it. The alleged 'litter' were two signs that were accidentally left, which I told the agents I was more than willing to go and retrieve. To which there was no response."
"To say that we are trespassing is to attempt to dislocate us from our sacred site, which is cultural genocide," stated Keemara Bahe, 16. "We were here long before these laws and will be here long after. We must continue our prayers and our action to defend that which is sacred. Our ways of life depend on it."
This protest continues the diverse and creative resistance to Snowbowl's proposed development following suit of previous actions taken at job fairs, opening day protests, prayer vigils and marches.
"As long as Snowbowl desecrates this holy site people will continue to resist", said A. Yazzie.