An environmental group opposing plans to build a new hotel on the Grand Canyon's north rim has filed suit accusing the government of wrongly refusing to release at no cost documents about the project's approval.

The suit against the National Park Service was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington by the Sierra Club's legal defense fund on behalf of the club.Mark Hughes, a Denver lawyer for the fund, said Tuesday the National Park Service refused to release the documents unless the group paid hundreds of dollars for them.

Jack Davis, Grand Canyon National Park superintendent, said the Park Service is not hiding anything.

"We didn't deny them the information," Davis said. "They requested a great deal of information and correspondence that goes back to 1983, and it would have cost us about $900 to search our files and produce the information."

The Park Service approved the hotel complex in late 1988 and the fund requested the information in February.

Bruce Wadlington, the Park Service's chief of concessions for the Grand Canyon, said a contractor to build the hotel will be selected by this summer and that the hotel should open by May 1991.

The complex will be located near Bright Angel Point and be operated by TW Services, which provides concessions at the 200-room North Rim Lodge, Zion National Park in Utah and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.