BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. — The Bullhead City Council has voted to sink the Bullhead City River Regatta after pleas from the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and other members of the public.
The decision came after a 4-3 vote in front of an overflow crowd, with both the council and the public split about the annual event, The Mohave Valley Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2d4eUlR).
Tribal authorities asked the council to end the regatta, citing human waste that ends up in the river’s water after drunken revelers attend the event.
“The river is telling us something. The river is telling us that this is too much. We have a duty … to protect our river,” which holds a spiritual meaning for the tribe, said tribe Chairman Tim Williams. “The time is now to stop. The regatta people don’t respect the river.”
Charles Wood, chairman of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, said his tribe’s members have noticed pollution from the regatta as far as 75 miles downstream. “Don’t just look at the economics, but (look at) the health of the river,” he said.
Supporters of the event often cite the economic impact of the estimated 183,000 people that have come to town over the past 10 years because of the regatta.
Kari Hoffman of the Rotary Club said the money her organization makes from serving lunches to participants goes back to the city in the form of park improvements.
As a point of compromise, some people asked that alcohol be banned from the regatta.
District 2 Mohave County Sup. Hildy Angius said that without alcohol fewer people would participate. “Take away the alcohol and the cap will be there,” and it will attract “a better group of people,” she said.
Mayor Tom Brady said both the Bullhead City Police Department and Bullhead City Fire Department would like to see the regatta end. “Their resources are stretched to the limit,” he said.
After the council vote, Williams described it as “a historic moment, dealing with government to government.”
He also announced that the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe will contribute $100,000 to the city’s special event fund to show that they are good neighbors and partners in the Mohave Valley.
Information from: Mohave Valley Daily News, http://www.mohavedailynews.com