The Friends of the Sonoran Desert National Monument, the Sierra Club and the Bureau of Land Management celebrated Earth Day 2013 by closing and initiating restoration of 2-miles of illegal roads in the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The Sonoran Desert National Monument southwest of Phoenix has undergone several years of illegal smuggling activity. Smugglers walk, ride horses and drive off highway vehicles, cars and trucks from Mexico across the Tohono O’odham Nation, Bureau of Land Management and Department of Defense land to deliver their contraband, i.e. marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine. In doing so they use existing roads and trails and when necessary they create their own roads.
Roads legitimate and illegitimate are a form of habitat destruction that negatively affects wildlife, plants, encourages water and wind erosion. Properly engineered and constructed roads minimize these effects. As you can imagine smugglers care little about environmental impact and I guess I can say the same about the Americans who spend billions of dollars each year on illegal drugs. Unintended consequences!
The Bureau of Land Management is working hard trying to protect the Sonoran Desert National Monument but they cannot do it alone. This is why the Friends of the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the Sierra Club spent Earth Day 2013 standing up for our public land and showing the Bureau of Land Management and others that we mean what we say when we cry out our love for our public land.