New Dawn for Navajo Nation Zoo – (Most Recent Press Release)



June 24, 2015

New Dawn for Navajo Nation Zoo

Saving the lives of eagles.

That’s one goal of a new Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary here at the Navajo Nation Zoo.

Navajo Nation Zoo Department Manager David Mikesic, said “Thanks to a host of partners, we will now be able to build a new eagle aviary to help save the lives of eagles that have been injured in the wild.”

An 80 feet by 30 feet observation type of facility will be constructed to house approximately 20 golden eagles. It will also include an adjoining office, food prep room and a medical center for eagles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided initial funding of $200,000, which was used for planning and design. The Navajo Nation Council also approved an appropriation of $401,000 from the Navajo Nation Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance in May. The Navajo Tourism Department under the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development also contributed $200,000 to help construct a new eagle aviary.

“I want to thank all of our partners for their support and funding that we received,” Mikesic stated. “This is a very exciting and important project for the Navajo people.”

The four main goals of the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary are to save the lives of injured eagles; It will allow the Navajo people to legally obtain eagle feathers; The facility will be used to educate the public about eagle conservation and it will allow the Navajo people to view and maintain a spiritual connection with eagles.

The Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary will primarily house injured golden eagles; however, it will also include injured bald eagles.

“Although there are legal ways to obtain an eagle feather, there are still individuals out there who are shooting eagles and selling their feathers illegally in the black market,” Mikesic noted. “In addition to education, the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary will also be used to help the public establish a spiritual connection to the eagles.”

Mikesic said it is hoped the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary Project will begin construction in July.

The Navajo Nation will also soon be home to a black-footed ferret, which was once considered the most endangered mammal in the U.S.

“The black-footed ferret was once part of the natural environment on the Navajo Nation,” Mikesic explained.  “It went extinct from the Navajo Nation in the 1930’s due to canine diseases, reductions in prarie dog towns and other grassland issues.

After the ferret was rediscovered in Wyoming in the 1980s, a number of zoos began captive breeding programs to increase the number of ferrets in the U.S.  The young produced from breeding programs are then trained to be put back into the wild. After the ferret was rediscovered in Wyoming in the 1980s, a number of zoos began captive breeding programs to increase the number of ferrets in the U.S.  The young produced from breeding programs are then trained to be put back into the wild.

When visiting Navajo Parks & Recreation feel free to visit loc8nearme.com for information regarding accommodation, food, and shopping.


New Land Withdrawal Designation Regulations Approved

New Land Withdrawal Designation Regulations Approved

            WINDOW ROCK, AZ. – The Resources and Development Committee of the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, June 16th approving the Land Withdrawal Designation Regulation to designate land for future development.

            The Navajo Land Department has been working diligently to amend regulations to clarify and expedite the land withdrawal designation process, which was causing a little confusion among the chapters and making project time lines longer.  These regulations will enhance the chapter Land Use Plans.

            Navajo Nation Land Department Director Mike Halona, stated, “We’re trying to clarify the difference between a land withdrawal designation process and land conveyance process.  We hope the passage of these new regulations will help clarify and streamline the land withdrawal process for the Navajo chapters to develop their community land use plans. Without recording chapter land use plan (CLUP) land designation, we could be adversely developing within an area planned for other use.”

            A land withdrawal designation does not authorize development or disturbance on Navajo Nation land. Moreover, it does not apply to how to get a lease. Prior to any development on the land, a lease must be obtained in addition to the withdrawal. 

           The purpose of a land withdrawal designation is to designate an area of land for future development by ensuring that the rights of grazing permittees, who are in compliance with their grazing permits are properly addressed as applicable and as required under 16 N.N.C. SS 1401 et seq. and to prevent any subsequent claims to the land and ensuring that the affected chapter supports the land withdrawal designation and use of the land.

           Halona added, “With the approval of the Navajo Nation General Leasing Regulations of 2013, which gave the Navajo Nation authority to approve leases; this Land Withdrawal Designation Regulation is step one in the Land Use Planning process.  The Navajo Land Department is in the process of establishing a Navajo General Leasing Office, where all leases and permits will be administered by the Navajo Nation.   Land Withdrawal Designation Regulations was just one among other regulations that are being developed.”

The Resources Development Committee within approval of this legislation also included that “the Navajo Nation government may develop on land designated by the Land Withdrawal Designation without a lease for government purposes only.”

            The Resources and Development Committee authorized the Navajo Land Department director the power and authority to give final approval of all land withdrawal designations on the Navajo Nation.

            For more information about how to acquire a land withdrawal, contact the Navajo Nation Land Department at (928) 871-6401.


Navajo Nation: Year-Round Haven for Outdoors

Picture of Monument Valley

MONUMENT VALLEY – Winter time paradise.
When Mother Nature segues from summer to winter, it is a time for unparalleled extravaganza for people who enjoy life on the mild side.
And for serious outdoor winter enthusiasts, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is definitely the place to be.
No matter what kind of blanket Mother Nature covers the valley of fiery red rock formations here in December, Monument Navajo Tribal Park will ablaze with excitement.
Yawning canyon walls will awaken as runners from throughout the world will gather for the very first time to participate in a marathon, half marathon and relay here on the northern outskirts of the Navajo Nation on Saturday, December 12th beginning at 10 a.m. Runners will be able to see one of the world’s finest natural master pieces as they immerse themselves in the tranquil and rustic charm of Navajoland.
Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department Manager Martin L. Begaye, explained, “We are very excited to bring a new event to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in December. We are very fortunate to attract many worldwide visitors to our parks between the spring and fall months; however, it has always been a challenge to attract tourists to our parks during the winter months.”
After months of planning with various different entities, Begaye said the Department is pleased to announce running as a new venue for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
“Many of our visitors enjoy taking photos of our tribal parks, but there are more and more visitors who want to experience our parks by venturing in some sort of outdoor activity,” Begaye stated. “We want to enrich their memories of the Navajo Nation and let them know that we are a year-round tourism destination.”
The inaugural event will include a marathon, half marathon and relay. According to Tom Riggenbach who is the CEO of Navajoyes.org and marathon organizer, the marathon and half marathon will be competitive while the relay will be non-competitive and have few strict guidelines. The course will be dirt road, which includes a 400-foot climb in the final couple of miles of the race.
Riggenbach stated, “I know of many runners from afar who are willing to participate in this place of timeless beauty. There is truly a sense of peace and calm when you run on the Navajo Nation. There are many runners who are looking forward to this much anticipated event.”
The marathon event was the brainchild of Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez who is an avid runner and a strong advocate of living healthy.
“Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and I want our people to live long healthy lives and one way of achieving that goal is through physical exercise such as running. Not only do we want more visitors to embrace our unique Navajo culture and our land of enchantment, but we also want our own Navajo people to visit our tribal parks. The marathons provide a great opportunity for the Navajo people and our visitors to see our beautiful parks.”
Avid runners Nez and Riggenbach both echoed that many runners serve as an inspiration to others and every runner is a winner.
The coveted event is a collaborated effort between the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department, the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, the Navajo Nation Division of Health, and Navajoyes.org, which is an entity that promotes healthy living for the youth.
The Annual Monument Valley December event will also include hot air balloons that will grace the crisp blue skies on December 11-13th. The balloon launches will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. with evening glows at the Monument Valley Welcome Center on December 11th and in Kayenta on December 12th.

For more information about how to register for the marathon, contact Riggenbach at www.navajoyes.org or chuskaman@yahoo.com. He can also be reached at (928) 429-0345.
Individuals who want to obtain information about the hot air balloon event can contact the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department at (928) 871-6647 or via their website at www.navajonationparks.org