Our Story

The Dine’ (Navajo) name for Bodaway-Gap is “Ndbaa’wheeyee’ “, which means “No water area” or “Tsinaabaas’Habitin” the Gap.

The Bodaway-Gap Chapter is located in northern Arizona and is part of the western boundary of the Navajo Nation. Prominent land features include Echo Cliffs, Shinumo Altar, Limestone Ridge, Bodaway Mesa, and Tooth Rock.

The Chapter consists of six main communities, which are as follows; Navajo Springs, Bitter Springs, Cedar Ridge, the Gap, Hidden Springs, and the Junction. The majority of communities consist of housing developments, houses of worship, airstrip, basketball courts, and abandoned buildings. The community of the Gap has the most Chapter public facilities and services. Public facilities include the Chapter House, which is also used as the Senior Center, the Gap Preschool and Head Start, the Chapter Administrative offices, a solid waste transfer station, the Gap Trading Post, a gas station and service center, and Tsinaabaas Hibitiin Grade School. A small cemetery is also located in the Gap.

 

Physical Setting

The Chapter terrain is composed of deep canyons, open desert, and towering red rock cliffs. Elevations in the Chapter vary between 3,000 feet at the Colorado River to 7,000 feet atop the Echo Cliffs. The Chapter is surrounded by several tourist attractions: Lake Powell, Grand Canyon National Park, and Wupatki-Sunset Crater National Monument. The area is characterized by high elevation desert scrub and juniper woodlands. Ephemeral washes cross the Chapter, the three largest being Tanner Wash, Moenkopi Wash, and Hamblin Wash.

The Chapter is located within Land Management District 3 and is part of the Western Navajo Agency. The Chapter is composed of approximately 561,586 acres, 466,725 acres of which were part of the former Bennett Freeze, which is almost 83 percent of the Chapter land base. The following communities within the Chapter were affected by the former Bennett Freeze: Cedar Ridge, the Gap, Hidden Springs, the Junction (U.S. Highway 89 and U.S. Highway 160), a section of the Little Colorado River Valley Gorge, and the residents along the Colorado River.

The Gap

The Gap is accessible via Highway 89 from the north and south, and BIA 20 provides access from the east. Hamblin Wash runs through the center of the community, parallel to Highway 89.

The Gap lies at the base of Echo Cliffs and adjacent to Hamblin Wash, and slopes are generally steep from both the east and west. The Chapter House, administrative office, and school occupy the flattest portions of the community. Terrain to the east of Echo Cliff is flatter and more suitable for development.

There are a number of soil units around the community. Echo Cliffs contain soil unit 122, the narrow strip between the base of the cliffs and Hamblin Wash is characterized by unit 552, and the strip between Hamblin Wash and Highway 89 is unit 155. The ridges on the west side of Highway 89 are unit 131, and soils further west are a mix of 221 and 228. These classifications have not been approved by NRCS.

All land between Highway 89 and the base of Echo Cliffs is designated Wildlife Area 1, which is intended to protect rare and endangered species and their habitat. Land east of Echo Cliffs is designated Wildlife Area 2, which has a high concentration of rare and endangered species. Biological Evaluations are required for development within these two areas. All land within the Gap that is west of Highway 89 is designated Area 3, where plants and wildlife have a low sensitivity to development.

There are no cultural resources within the Gap, although culturally significant sites are located within the general vicinity. The severe slopes and numerous washes in the Gap limit the development potential along State Highway 89.

The only area in which development is feasible is the current site of the Chapter House, administrative office, and the Gap preschool. There is sufficient acreage available for a significant amount of infill development. The vacant sandstone buildings located at the intersection of State Highway 89 and BIA 20 appear to provide excellent opportunities for adaptive reuse, although no structural and environmental assessments have been completed.

The flat terrain above Echo Cliffs offers suitable sites for future development. While utilities are presently limited, the infrastructure that will be developed to support Tsinaabaas Hibitiin Grade School will provide enormous development opportunity in this area.

Hidden Springs

Hidden Springs is accessible via Highway 89 from the north and south and BIA 23 from the east. Hamblin Wash runs parallel to Highway 89 on the east side of the road, and numerous small ephemeral drainages cross the ridges on the western side of the community to drain surface runoff into Hamblin Wash. The topography of the community is characterized by medium slopes from the western ridges to Highway 89, a flat plateau between the ridges and Hamblin Wash, and mild slopes into the flood plain.

All land from the base of the ridges and eastward is designated Wildlife Area 2, which has a high concentration of rare and endangered species. Biological evaluations are required for development within this area. The remaining western portion of Hidden Springs is designated Area 3, where plants and wildlife have a low sensitivity to development.
The Hidden Springs Baptist Church and the Hidden Springs Bible Church are the only cultural resources within the community, although culturally significant sites are located within the general vicinity.

The greatest limiting factors to development in Hidden Springs are the environmental impacts from uranium mining. Because it is identified as an area that has “some risk” to human health, any development should include intensive testing for radiation and other hazardous conditions.

The most suitable area for development is at the intersection of Highway 89 and BIA 23. This site has immediate access to the highway and flat topography and is not identified as an area with higher than normal radiation.

Cedar Ridge

Cedar Ridge is accessible via Highway 89 from the north and south. BIA 6110 provides access from the west. Tanner Wash and Hamblin Washes run through the middle of the community, parallel to Highway 89. Small ephemeral drainages cross the eastern side of the community and drain surface runoff from Echo Cliffs into Tanner and Hamblin Washes.
Slopes within the community are mild and angle downwards gently from Echo Cliffs. The terrain between the two washes and the Colorado River is primarily flat and interspersed with small mesas and ephemeral drainages.

There are a number of soil units, described in Appendix 5.4, within the vicinity of Cedar Ridge. Units 251, 249, 253, 552, and 155 are found between Echo Cliffs and the two washes, on the east side of Highway 89. In the southern portion of the community, unit 222 lies between Highway 89 and Hambl in Wash. On the west side of Highway 89, units 222, 224, 221, and 228 are interspersed with one another. These classifications have not been approved by NRCS.

With the exception of a small buffer along Highway 89, all land east of the road is designated Wildlife Area 1, which is intended to protect rare and endangered species and their habitat. The northern portion of the community on the west side of Highway 89 is designated Wildlife Area 2, which has a high concentration of rare and endangered species. Biological Evaluations are required for development within these two areas. The remaining portion of Cedar Ridge is designated Area 3, where plants and wildlife have a low sensitivity to development.

The Cedar Ridge Bible Church and Cedar Ridge Baptist Church are the only cultural resources within the community, although culturally significant sites are located within the general vicinity.

The central location of Cedar Ridge within the Bodaway-Gap Chapter makes it an ideal location for development that serves the Chapter as a whole. In particular, the area around the intersection of Highway 89 and BIA 6110 is highly suitable because it has immediate access to good roads, flat topography, a low potential for drainage problems, and limited utilities. Sites along Highway 89 are also highly suitable for these same reasons. The greatest limiting factors to development in Cedar Ridge are political issues surrounding the former Bennett Freeze.

Navajo Springs

Navajp Springs Community stretches from the east or west.

Small ephemeral drainages cross the community and drain surface runoff from Echo Cliffs in the east into the Colorado River to the west. Slopes are mild and slope downwards gently from east to west. Soil units, described in Appendix 5.4, include 113 on the east side of Highway 89A and 115 on the west side of the road. These soil classifications have been approved by NRCS.

Echo Cliffs are designated Wildlife Area 1, which is intended to protect rare and endangered species and their habitat. The area between the base of Echo Cliffs and the Colorado River is designated Area 2, which has a high concentration of rare and endangered species. Biological Evaluations are required for any development within these two areas. A buffer zone of Area 5 is designated along the Colorado River, which is intended to create a biological preserve.
There are no cultural resources within the community of Navajo Springs, although culturally significant sites are located within the general vicinity.

Navajo Spring is identified as having “some risk” to human health due to heavy metals and radiation. Site-specific research will be necessary to determine the extent of the risks to which individual development projects will be exposed.

There are several sites in Navajo Springs with development potential. In particular, areas adjacent to Highway 89A are the most suitable because they have immediate access to the highway, mild slopes, and a minimal potential to disrupt natural drainage patterns.

The Chapter is considering developing a destination resort in Navajo Springs because of the area’s natural beauty and its proximity to area tourist destinations; however, the Chapter can expect competition from existing and future tourism facilities in the area. In particular, the Navajo Nation is in the process of developing the Antelope Marina resort near Page. In-depth research will be necessary to determine the market and financial feasibility of a resort in Navajo Springs.
Perhaps the greatest limiting factor to any development in Navajo Springs is the lack of water resources. The depth to groundwater prohibits well development, while access to the Colorado River remains unlikely due to the political and legal environment surrounding Navajo water rights and border disputes.

Chapter Officials

Raymond Don Yellowman, Chapter President

Leonard Sloan, Chapter Vice-President

Bessie Zahne, Chapter Secretary/Treasurer

Lee Yazzie, Jr., Grazing Committee Member

Herbert Zahne, Farm Board Member

Paul Begay, 24th Navajo Nation Council Delegate

Chapter Staff

VACANT, Chapter Manager

Sydney Tsinigine, Administrative Assistance

Nora Nez, Office Assistant

Lenford Yellowman, Maintenance

Allen Tsinigine, Maintenance

VACANT, Transferstation

Jadi Habitiin Enterprise

Darrell Acothley, President

Bonita Tsosie, Vice President

Eva Tsosie, Secretary

Roxanna Yazzie, Treasurer