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Located in the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley Tribal Park is an iconic symbol of the Southwest

Located in the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley Tribal Park is an iconic symbol of the Southwest ( Located in the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley Tribal Park is an iconic symbol of the Southwest, its images reproduced in travel brochures and publications around the world. While the towering landforms of Monument Valley appear timeless, human impact is radically altering their environment.

Over 300,000 people spend millions of dollars each year to visit Monument Valley, yet Navajo residents live far below the poverty line without electricity, drinking water, indoor plumbing, and decent roads. The Monument Valley Tourism Association, Inc. (MVTA), a nonprofit volunteer organization, has formed the Friends of Monument Valley to restore the human and natural landscapes of one of the most amazing places in the world.

A central part of this effort is controlling vehicle access to the Tribal Park’s fragile interior. Over 40,000 vehicles drive through the park each year, degrading natural resources and creating dust that kills plants and causes health problems for residents. MVTA is working with the Navajo Park officials to design a system that will allow visitors to experience Monument Valley while reducing the number of vehicles per day. Friends of Monument Valley, local tour operators, and in-bound tour companies are joining forces to raise funds for protecting the Park’s natural resources and improving conditions for the Navajo residents.

Tour companies bring in visitors who take away beautiful photos, memories of sunsets, and souvenirs, but leave little to benefit the residents. Friends of Monument Valley’s new marketing campaign will focus on visitor education while promoting eco-tourism to lighten the impact on the land.

The Navajo Division of Economic Development estimates that only seven cents of every tourism dollar spent in the area is captured by Navajo Nation businesses and residents. Increasing Navajo participation in tourism will improve the local economy and generate more tax revenue for the Navajo Nation.

Friends of Monument Valley seeks to address these issues through working with the Tribal Park, residents, local communities, Tribal Government, the local tour operators, and in-bound tour companies. Careful planning for restricted access, land remediation, and public education can ensure that this system will accommodate the needs and interests of all of the stakeholders.

Industry participants in Friends of Monument Valley can be instrumental in preserving this important tourism destination by mobilizing technical assistance and resources, including:
• Organizational development for local nonprofits;
• Resource assessment with surveys and a remediation plan to conserve Monument Valley’s natural, cultural, and human resources;
• Economic development training to build capacity with Navajo entrepreneurs and Monument Valley residents;
• Community-based tourism planning to help Navajo entrepreneurs capture more of the tourism dollar;
• Public education about environmental restoration and community development;
• Advocacy supporting the Tribal Park and the remediation project with the community, governments, and the world at large; and
• Marketing and promotion to educate visitors about Navajo people, land, and culture.

For more information, please e-mail href="">, visit, or call Harold Simpson, MVTOA President, at 435-727-3362.

Come visit us at Int Pow Wow booth # 2225 - State of Arizona

Harold Simpson, President, 435-727-3362 Monument Valley Tourism Association, Inc., a tribally-chartered nonprofit organization

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