The Arizona Republic recently featured the Sonoran Desert Heritage Act and highlighted the plight of archaeological treasures in Red Rock Canyon.
The Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage Act of 2013 is good news for all Americans and we should all be thankful for Congressman Grijalva’s leadership in introducing this bill. Congressman Grijalva is not the only person we should thank. The Sonoran Desert Heritage Campaign led by the Arizona Wilderness Coalition and the Sonoran Institute deserves our collective thanks for doing all the research, partnership building and community outreach leading up to the act’s introduction. In my opinion they did their work the right way and that all conservation and community activists should use their methods as a model for how citizens can get things done.
There is no doubt, western Maricopa County will continue to grow and as it does grow with residential, commercial, energy and transportation development there will be more pressure on the land, the plants and animals and the cultural history that makes this region so special. Thoughtful community and natural resource planning is the only tool we have to make sure we do not destroy what we value so dearly, our public land.
The campaign partnership demonstrated with this plan that national defense, agriculture, recreation and thoughtful community planning are compatible with conservation. Good job!
Of special interest to the Sonoran Desert National Monument are the recommendations in the act to increase the number and acreage of wilderness areas within the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the 23,365-acre Rainbow Valley Wildlife Linkage Special Management Area that will provide a permanent public land link (wildlife corridor desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife) between the Sierra Estrella Mountains and the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
Proposed New Wilderness Areas
Butterfield Stage Memorial Proposed Wilderness Area: 8,325-acres
Margie’s Peak Proposed Wilderness Area: 14,566-acres
Sand tank Mountains Proposed Wilderness Area: 105,365-acres
For more information go to the Sonoran Heritage Campaign web site.