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Former, Current Grand Canyon Workers Allege Abuses

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This March 25, 2011 photo shows rafts piloted by guides from Far Flung Outdoor Center of Terlingua, Texas, as they emerge from Heath Canyon, carved by the Rio Grande through Big Bend National Park, Texas. The river outfitter and San Antonio Chef, Francois Maeder, conduct unique gourmet trips on the river offering white-linen table service in the wilderness area, hours from civilization. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)Michael Graczyk / AP

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Federal investigators are looking into allegations of discrimination, retaliation and a sexually hostile work environment in the Grand Canyon’s river corridor. A group of 13 former and current Grand Canyon employees sent a letter to the Department of Interior in September, alleging at least 15 years of abuses and prompting an investigation by the agency’s Office of Inspector General. The agency formally requested the investigation after receiving the letter that also was sent to members of Congress in Arizona, National Park Service spokeswoman April Slayton said.

The agency takes “allegations of this nature and all personnel-related matters seriously,” she said. Grand Canyon National Park manages 280 miles of the Colorado River; commercial and private river trips are run through different systems. The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, requests that the river-outfitting duties of staff in the river corridor be separated from emergency services to create a balance of power and make it easier for park-service employees to do their jobs. The women wrote in the letter that they have reported abuses in the past to management at the park only to be retaliated against with threats, damage to their reputations, sabotage of their work and termination. “These horrendous working conditions and the retaliatory actions against the women must be stopped,” the letter states.

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— The Associated Press

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