A year of slow recovery from the COVID pandemic

The year 2022 saw the steep decline, but not complete disappearance, of the COVID pandemic, allowing many people to focus on getting back to “normal” life. The Page-Lake Powell region saw the beginnings of a revival in the tourism industry, as local boosters focused on fighting negative news about falling lake levels and endeavored to spread the word about the abundant land-based recreation opportunities in the area.    


The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started reducing flows out of Lake Powell in an effort to prevent the lake surface from approaching the minimum power pool elevation, informally known as the “dead pool” elevation where Glen Canyon Dam can no longer effectively generate electricity. The reason for the reduction was lower-than-expected mountain moisture in November 2021. The new flows started on Jan. 1 and continued until April. 

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission voted to approve a new nine-district congressional map for the state. Among the changes was redrawing the boundary of the district in which Page is located to include more Republican voters, as well as changing its designation from the 1st District to the 2nd District. According to FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on political and sports analysis, the new state map created “four solid Republican-leaning seats and two solid Democratic-leaning seats with three competitive districts, two of which are Republican-leaning and one that is more of a ‘toss-up.’” 

Mike Mangum was sworn in on Jan. 10 as a board member for the Page Unified School District. The swearing-in happened via Zoom call with Mangum in the district office on one end of the call and Cheryl Mango-Paget, Coconino County superintendent of schools, conducting the swearing-in on the other end of the Zoom call from her office in Flagstaff.

The Circle of Page, which operates the food bank and soup kitchen, was blessed by a donation of food from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Around a dozen LDS elders helped local volunteers unload and put away the food in about two hours. Crystal Phillips, director of the food bank, said that sometimes it “takes a village” to run the food bank, and on Jan. 11 an “army” showed up and made quick work of organizing and putting away the food.

Twenty-four students from Page High School traveled to Window Rock in late January after being invited to participate in the Navajo Nation Council’s Winter Session. The students were all Dinè students in the high school’s Navajo Government and Navajo Language classes, taught my Carlos Begay. The Navajo Delegation invited the students to sing two traditional Navajo songs as part of the Navajo Nation Council’s Winter Session. The students – dressed in traditional Navajo clothing – stood in front of the Navajo Nation Council Chamber building, where they sang the “Mountain Song” and the “Journey Song.” The performance they shared reverberated across the Navajo Reservation, as photos and videos of the students were shared widely on Facebook. 


A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Feb. 11 for the Retreat at Indigo Ridge, the second phase of the Indigo Ridge Subdivision on the northern end of Page. The Retreat, a 14.13-acre plot divided into 127 lots ranging in size from 1,464 to 6,885 square feet, is owned by Scottsdale-based Huntley LLC. The development is described on its website (www.livingontheridge.com) as “an exclusive gated community zones for vacation rentals created around the natural setting of Lake Powell with incredible views of Glen Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs and beyond.”

Page resident Christopher Kelly died while in custody at Coconino County detention facility in Flagstaff. On the evening of Feb. 14 at approximately 8 p.m., while conducting a security and welfare check, detention officers discovered an inmate hanging by a bed sheet, which was tied around the neck and tied to the assist handle near the toilet area in the cell. Officers immediately called for additional staff for assistance and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other lifesaving measures.

On Feb. 14 at approximately 2:20 p.m., the National Park Service (NPS) Glen Canyon Regional Communications Center received a 911 call of a fatal fall at Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area near Page, Arizona. Witnesses reported an adult male was outside the safety railing among a dispersed crowd and had fallen off the cliff’s edge and into the canyon below. The victim was identified as Seyedamirhossein Mirhosseininiri, age 29, of Bothell, Washington.   

Dee Jay Elijan greeted shoppers with smiling face, classic rock and other music on Feb. 17 after the former Dollar Tree was remodeled and expanded, reopening under the name Family Dollar/Dollar Tree. The double name for the remodeled store comes from the fact that Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar in 2015. 


The City of Page received a $150,000 Arizona State Parks and Trails Non-Motorized Recreational Trail Grant, to be used to build a new 5-mile loop trail on the mesa at the southeast corner of Coppermine Road and Highway 98. City of Page Recreation and Community Services Director Lynn Cormier, who procured the grant, said the new Red Mesa Rim Trail will be “similar use to the current 10-mile Rim View Trail, meaning hiking, running or bicycles.”

Glen Canyon Dam reopened the Carl B. Hayden Visitor Center doors on March 3, after being closed since March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the reopening, the public was able to access exhibits inside the visitor center and use facilities during normal hours. Guided tours of the dam and the theater remained closed. 

After months of delays, Grand Canyon Brewing and Distillery opened in Page, the third branch of a business that started in Williams in 2007 and later expanded to Flagstaff. Grand Canyon Brewing owner John Peasley said he picked Page for his business’s newest venue because of its logistic closeness to the Grand Canyon. “Page is just as much Grand Canyon as Williams and more Grand Canyon than Flagstaff,” he said. “The numbers are substantial for tourism that comes through this town, whether it’s Lake Powell, the Wave, Antelope Canyon tours, Horseshoe Bend. And that’s only the start. Then you’ve got North Rim, Lee’s Ferry drop-in, the dam. Everything is here. That’s exactly who we are and what we are.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ended its in-person lottery for Wave permits and implemented a new lottery system for recreationists seeking next-day hiking permits to the world-famous hiking destination. The change was a big added boost for Page tourism and its economy. Under the new system, hikers no longer had to apply in-person at the Kanab Field Office for the next-day permits. Since March 15, they have been able to apply for the next-day permits from their cell phone or tablet, as long as they are inside a certain geographic area the BLM is calling a “mobile geofence.” The geofence area includes Page, Greenhaven, Marble Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, Jacob Lake, White Sage, Fredonia, Mocassin, Big Water, Paria, Johnson Canyon, Kanab, Mt. Carmel, Orderville, Glendale and East Zion.

The Grand Circle Arts Alliance opened a gallery displaying and selling the work of local artists. The new venue, called The Gallery, is located next door to Canyon Crepes in the pedestrian alley between Ace Hardware and Pow Wow Trading Post.

The first CrossFit Native American Scholarship Program was held at Powell CrossFit in Page on March 12-13. The program was aimed at training members of the Indigenous community to become certified CrossFit coaches so they can start their own fitness programs on the Navajo Nation. The weekend training was attended by 12 students from the Navajo Nation and was run by three visiting CrossFit coaches: Michele Mootz, Gary Villegas and Nick Pappas. The intensive weekend session included hands-on training that pushed the students to hone their coaching skills while also working on improving their own exercise techniques. The visiting CrossFit coaches also gave talks on topics such as nutrition, including how to control inflammation and regulate the body’s production of insulin through better eating habits. 

Coconino Community College received a federal grant for $2.1 million over five years aimed at improving the success of Native American students attending the college. The grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, is for Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions (NASNTI), defined as institutions of higher education whose undergraduate enrollment is at least 10% Native American, and are not Tribal colleges or universities. Native American enrollment in CCC is currently around 20% overall, and around 90% at the Page Center campus.  


The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) created a new region for high school football that affected Page and other football programs in northern and eastern Arizona. The new conference combined some teams from the 3A North with some teams from the 3A East. The newly created region – known as the Northeast Conference – included Page, Monument Valley, Window Rock, Ganado, Round Valley, Winslow, Blue Ridge and Show Low. Being a member of the 3A Northeast Conference makes it considerably more difficult for the Sand Devils to make the playoffs, as they now compete with schools that traditionally have stronger football programs, such as Blue Ridge, Show Low and Round Valley.

The ZenniHome factory ramped up production at the site of the old Navajo Generating Station near Page and announced that it was seeking employees. ZenniHome produces manufactured housing made of steel. The units, which can be ordered online from the ZenniHome website, include in-unit washer and dryer, multimedia room, floor-to-ceiling glass, walk-out patio/balcony, and kitchen fully equipped with fridge, oven, range, microwave and dishwasher, among other amenities. 

The first Page Fine Art Festival took place April 7-10, and organizers had high hopes that it would blossom into a major annual event that will attract big crowds of artists, musicians and tourists to the area each spring. Artists displayed their work at booths in John C. Page Memorial Park on Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10, and live bands played in the park throughout the weekend to help keep visitors engaged with the festival. The festival included a fundraising event at Grand Canyon Brewery on April 8, with proceeds going to a local theater group. Another focal point of the event was the festival’s signature artist, Emily Scott, who creates 5-by-6-foot paintings of slot canyons. Scott premiered a new collection of work at a private showing in Page on the evening of April 7. 

In response to rumors on social media that the water supply in Page and nearby LeChee could soon be “cut off” because of falling water levels in Lake Powell, Page’s Office of the City Manager released a statement on April 20 assuring residents that Page’s water supply is “in no way compromised.” The City of Page “would like to let all residents know that they have been collectively working with the Bureau of Reclamation to ensure that our water supply is in no way compromised,” the statement said. “The Bureau has provided an extensive plan for the guarantee of continued water supply, in case the situation becomes critical.”

The Native American Success Center at Coconino Community College Page Center was officially opened on April 27 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that was attended by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, as well as college representatives and community members. The center was established using part of a $2.1 million, five-year U.S. Department of Education grant that CCC received in October 2021, aimed at improving the success of Native American students attending the college. The Native American Success Center is a dedicated space where Native American students can feel comfortable coming together to study, use computers or just hang out. It includes a display of Native American art and information about Indigenous cultures created by students at the college. 

Page Animal Hospital closed on April 29 as it continued seeking a full-time veterinarian to work at the facility in hopes of reopening as soon as possible, according to a message released by the hospital’s owner, Kevin D. Ballard. “It is with deep sorrow, we must inform you that, due to the inability to locate a veterinarian who is willing and able to relocate to Page, Arizona, we must close the Page Animal Hospital. Our last day open will be April 29, 2022,” the message said. The hospital continued offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who referred a full-time veterinarian to work at Page Animal Hospital. 


The Kyle Petty Charity ride passed through Page on May 4, bringing around 125 bikes to the city. During the 90-minute stopover at Big Lake Trading Post, retired NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty and his father Richard signed autographs, and Page Mayor Bill Diak presented them with the key to the city. The week-long ride – which covered around 1,500 miles in northern Arizona and southern Utah – raised funds for Victory Junction, a camp that Kyle opened in North Carolina in 2004 dedicated to providing life-changing camping experiences for kids with medical illnesses. 

Coconino Community College moved forward with plans to build student housing at CCC Page Center, after the college’s District Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the project. The aim of the project is to create affordable student housing for the college, and in turn attract students to the college who have a difficult time commuting. The housing could also potentially be used by seasonal workers who come to Page to work during the high tourist season. Colleen Smith, then-president of Coconino Community College, said the idea – which has been in the works for several years but was delayed by the COVID pandemic – stemmed from discussions with students and local employers about how the college could help fulfill community needs in Page.

At its May regular meeting, Page Unified School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to make Dr. Bryce Anderson PUSD’s permanent superintendent. The position became official on July 1, when the district began the 2022-23 school year. Anderson was hired in November 2021 to serve as PUSD’s interim superintendent, with the intention of having him remain in that position until the governing board hired a full-time superintendent.


The Page Police Department established a K-9 unit and acquired two drug-detection K-9s to aid in investigating and enforcing drug-related laws. 


The Circle K store at the corner of North Navajo Drive and Lake Powell Boulevard in Page reopened after months of construction. The original Circle K building, which had around 2,600 square feet of floor space, closed in September 2021. The original building stood for decades before it and other nearby buildings were demolished last fall. The original building was replaced with a “new state-of-the-art Circle K store,” according to Ray Feeler, region operations director for the Circle K Grand Canyon Division. The new store boasts 5,200 square feet, twice the size of the demolished version, and the original four fuel pumps were replaced with a total of 14 pumps dispensing gasoline and diesel fuel. 

The City of Page announced that it was taking over management of the Page, AZ Balloon Regatta from the Page Lake Powell Balloon Regatta Committee, which had run the event since its inception nearly 20 years ago. The regatta was scheduled to take place from Nov. 3-6. Wrangling over who would run the regatta had erupted into the public eye when the Page Lake Powell Balloon Regatta Committee posted on its Facebook page that they had been “denied an event permit by the City of Page.” 


After three months of closure, Page Animal Hospital reopened on Aug. 1, staffed by veterinarians Kevin Ballard and Jerry Roundtree, tech assistants TC Holman and Kylie Harris, and practice manager Roseann Hoerter. Phones at the hospital were reactivated on July 25, at which time they began accepting appointments. Page Animal Hospital was still seeking to recruit two additional full-time veterinarians and continued offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who successfully referred a full-time veterinarian to work at the hospital.

Bill Diak was elected to serve another two-year term as City of Page mayor after he won the Aug. 2 primary election with 58.73% of the vote over challenger Rick Yanke’s 41.27%. Three seats on Page City Council were also up for grabs in the primary. Incumbents David Auge (30.08%) and Theresa Lee (26.52%) kept their positions for another four years, while newcomer Michael Farrow (28.77%) won a seat on the council. The mayor and City Council face many challenges in the upcoming years, including mitigating Page’s “critical water situation” in the midst of the current drought, improving infrastructure and satisfying calls from residents for new facilities such as a public swimming pool and recreation center.  

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema visited Page on Aug. 8, touring Lake Powell to see firsthand the impacts of drought and meeting with officials from the National Park Service and City of Page to discuss issues affecting the region. Sinema’s visit occurred the day after the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $4 billion for drought mitigation. This followed passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law in November 2021, which earmarked $8.3 billion to build and strengthen water infrastructure throughout the American West, including for aging infrastructure, water storage and conveyance, water recycling and reuse, desalinization, drought contingency plans and dam safety. Sinema told the Chronicle that she thought Page could access federal funds from these sources.

Two people were killed and five others were injured when a single-engine Cessna 207 crashed into Lake Powell on Aug. 13, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.  

The FAA said the plane, carrying a pilot and six passengers, crashed into the lake northeast of Page around 5:30 p.m. The pilot reported a problem with the engine shortly before the accident. Two passengers died, three suffered serious injuries and two others had minor injuries, according to authorities. 

William (Billy) Shott left his position as superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in mid-August after accepted a promotion to deputy regional director for Interior Region 8, 9, 10, 12. Shott, a 27-year career employee of the National Park Service (NPS), served as the superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument starting in 2015. Following Shott’s departure, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Deputy Superintendent Michelle Kerns was appointed acting superintendent.


John C. Page Memorial Park went to the dogs on Sept. 10 during the Dog Days of Summer festival, organized by the City of Page. The event featured several contests, including smallest dog, biggest dog and best trick. Demonstrations by the Page Police Department allowed Police dog Cooper to show off his drug-detecting skills by locating a stash of narcotics hidden in a cinder block. Overall, the festival provided a great opportunity for dog lovers to meet some of Page’s canine residents. The city plans to make it an annual event. 

The inaugural Grand Circle Storytelling Festival was held in Page on Sept. 17, treating the audience to a wide variety of gripping stories and poetry. Four storytellers took the stage during the event, held at the Cultural Arts Building: Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Steven Law, Laura Tohe and Bil Lepp. Festival founder and producer Steven Law said he plans to make it an annual event. “I think it’s going to be big,” he said. “It has the potential to be bigger than the Balloon Regatta. Now, that’s not going to happen this year, and it won’t be next year, but if we do it right, we can grow it every year. I hope to make the Grand Circle Storytelling Festival a fall tradition in Page.”

The City of Page was selected to receive the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association’s Hotelier of the Year Award. The award “honors an individual hotelier or, in the case of Page, an entire community that has worked together to ensure the success of its lodging partners,” according to the association. “Page demonstrated the resilience of our industry and set the standard statewide for how to safely and responsibly continue to deliver outstanding experiences for guests from around the state and around the world,” the association said. The award was given to representatives from the City of Page at the ATLAS Awards Gala in Phoenix on Sept. 30.

Page Justice of the Peace Donald G. Roberts passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Sept. 30. Roberts was elected to the bench as the justice of the peace for the Page Precinct in 1987, serving two terms from 1987 through 1994. In 2003, he was elected again to serve as the justice of the peace for the Page Precinct and served in that role until his passing. Roberts dedicated more than 27 years of service to the judicial branch and his community.

Members of the Page Indigenous Comet Club enjoyed a fry bread social at Coconino Community College Page Center on Sept. 30. The group is the first student club to ever be formed at CCC’s Page campus. According to club ambassador Charmayne Yazzie, the club is not just for the Native American students but is also for everybody who is part of CCC. 


Page Unified School District (PUSD) Governing Board President Desiree Fowler, PUSD Indian Education Director Carlos Begay and five Dinè students from Page High School traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for the district at the annual National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) conference. Federally impacted school districts are those located on or near non-taxable federal property – including military installations; Indian Trust, Treaty and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act lands; federal low-income housing facilities; and national parks, national laboratories and other federal buildings and property. Due to the large number of its students who live on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations, PUSD receives a large portion of its annual budget from these Impact Aid monies.

The undefeated Page Middle School Panthers (9-0) hosted the undefeated Ganado Hornets (5-0) on Oct. 8 in what promised to be an exciting game in the Battle of the Unbeaten. The Panthers easily defeated the Hornets 32-0 and were crowned NAIC champions for the second year in a row.

The Coconino Community College District Governing Board announced during its Oct. 19 meeting that Dr. Eric Heiser would be the next president of the college. “I’m incredibly humbled and honored to be selected as the sixth president of Coconino Community College,” Heiser said. “I’m excited about the bright future ahead for CCC and look forward to working with the wonderful faculty and staff to meet the needs of students in Coconino County.” Heiser officially began his tenure on Jan. 1.

The Old Spanish Trail Association National Conference was held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Page from Oct. 20-23. The conference featured around 20 speakers who delivered talks on topics ranging from the history of the Old Spanish Trail and how technology is changing the way people use the trail, to recreation and economic development on the Navajo Nation. 


The Page, AZ Balloon Regatta was held from Nov. 3-6. The city’s biggest annual event attracted nearly 70 balloons, and although poor weather conditions prevented flights on the first two days, Saturday and Sunday morning saw the sky filled with the colorful spectacle of mass balloon ascensions. The street fair on Elm Street was also a big attraction on Friday and Saturday, featuring merchandise vendors, food, live music and more. 

Mike Farrow, the newest member of the Page City Council, took the oath of office during the council’s Nov. 16 meeting. It is his first time holding elected office, a “dramatic change of lifestyle” that he sees as a welcome challenge and the next logical step in a life of service to others. “When you get too old to do some things, then you go on to other things,” he told the Lake Powell Chronicle. “This is my new call for service. It’s going to be new for me, it will be a challenge for me, but I like challenges. I don’t mind working.”

Vaping was banned in most public places and places of employment within the City of Page, by an ordinance passed by Page City Council at its Nov. 16 meeting. The ordinance took effect on Dec. 16. Before the ban, Page relied on Arizona state law for smoking-related regulations. State law prohibits smoking in most public places and places of employment but does not cover vaping.

The Navajo Generating Station was memorialized with ceremonies at Page City Hall and Coconino Community College Page Center on Nov. 14. At City Hall, Mayor Bill Diak officially dedicated the Boiler Tube Slot Canyon sculpture, which had been installed in February 2022 along the walkway between the City Hall parking lot and Memorial Plaza. The CCC ceremony saw the dedication of the college’s NGS Memorial Wing, which includes the NGS Technology Center and a Page Attacks Trash display.

National Park Service (NPS) Acting Regional Director Kate Hammond announced the selection of Michelle Kerns as superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. She had been acting superintendent of Glen Canyon since August of 2022 and permanently transitioned to the position in December 2022. Kerns is responsible for managing the daily operations and staff in the park. She has been with the National Park Service for over 25 years, including serving as the deputy superintendent for operations at Glen Canyon since 2017.

Page Public Library Manager Debbie Winlock won the 2021 Outreach Award from the Arizona Library Association. The award is given out yearly to an Arizona librarian who provides exemplary library outreach services to unserved, underserved or minority populations. 


Glen Canyon NRA sought Public Scoping Comments on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) aimed at analyzing whether bicycles should be allowed on the Studhorse Trail network located north of Page and west of Greenehaven. As part of the public comment period, Glen Canyon NRA (GCNRA) hosted an open house on Dec. 7 to introduce the public to the plan and urge the public to comment on the draft EA. 

The Page Middle School Panthers soccer team were crowned NAIC champions after defeating St. Michael’s Indian School in the championship game on Dec. 10. This was the first year that northern Arizona middle schools have had soccer programs. Because of that, not every school in the region was prepared to field a team. This year the Panthers played against St. Michael’s Indian School, Sanders Middle School and Navajo Mountain Middle School. More schools are expected to join next year, said Page Unified School District Athletic Director Megan Moore.

After a year-long drafting process, the final versions of the Page 2040 General Plan, Future Land Use Map (FLUM), and Economic Development Recovery and Resiliency Plan were approved by Page City Council on Dec. 14. The updated general plan was created over the course of 12 months. The resulting Page 2040 General Plan is a 106-page document that includes sections on land use, economic development, housing, public facilities and services, circulation, water resources, open space and recreation, and implementation. The city had also received a Rural Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the creation of an Economic Development Recovery and Resiliency Plan (EDRRP) in conjunction with the general plan.

At the final Coconino County Board of Supervisors board meeting of 2022, the board completed the weeks-long process of appointing a candidate to fill the vacant office of justice of the peace for the Page Precinct, selecting Maia Rodriguez to serve through 2024. It was necessary for the board to appoint a candidate to fill the vacancy after deceased Justice of the Peace Donald G. Roberts passed away during his campaign for re-election. Rodriguez began her term as justice of the peace on Jan. 3.

After more than 30 years of broadcasting, KXAZ and the Bandit went dark on Dec. 31, leaving northern Arizona and southern Utah without a Page-based radio station. Lake Powell Communications owner Janet Brown, who retired at the end of 2022, said she was actively searching for someone from the community to buy the radio stations and get them operating again. Lake Powell Communications encompasses KXAZ radio (93.3 FM and translator 100.1 FM), the Bandit radio (1340 AM and translator 98.3 FM), the Lake Powell USA Visitor Guide, the lakepowelllife.com website and several information kiosks around town.

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