Issue 2, Spring 2003

Short Takes

Seedy Nightclub? Hardly.

The Arizona Strip sounds like a popular watering hole for Phoenix’s morally corrupt crowd. It’s anything but, and has citizens all around the state rallying for wilderness. AWC is launching an ambitious initiative to set aside approximately 950,000 acres of additional wilderness along the Arizona Strip north of Grand Canyon National Park, including Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monuments. A kickoff concert will celebrate the citizens' proposal for the Strip (see below).

As a result of citizen volunteer inventory efforts, the Arizona Wilderness Coalition (AWC) is presenting this wilderness proposal to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of the agency’s public process for how to manage the Arizona Strip and its distinct units. AWC’s Citizen’s Wilderness Proposal provides thorough documentation on the Strip’s requisite wilderness characteristics, including species diversity, remoteness, access issues, watershed features, and geological characteristics. Public meetings on the BLM’s alternatives for the Strip begin in June.

Come out and support the Citizens’ Proposal!

Grand Cliffs. Photo by Kim Crumbo.
Grand Cliffs, Arizona Strip. Photo by Kim Crumbo.

All meetings will be from 4-6 pm, Mountain Standard time, except where noted.

Mesquite, Nevada: Monday, June 2, 2003, Pacific Daylight Time, Mesquite Town Hall, Training  Room, 10 East Mesquite Boulevard.

St. George, Utah: Tuesday, June 3, 2003, Mountain Daylight Time, Dixie Convention Center, Entrada Rooms (2), 1835 Convention Center Drive.

Fredonia, Arizona: Wednesday, June 4, 2003, Fredonia Town Hall, City Council Chamber, 25 North Main.

Kingman, Arizona: Thursday, June 5, 2003, Mohave Community College, Student Union, Room 106, 1971 Jagerson Avenue.

Flagstaff, Arizona: Friday, June 6, 2003, DuBois Center, Building 64, Fremont Room, Pine Knoll Drive, Northern Arizona University Campus.


Walkin' Into Town

Walkin' Jim.

To mark the first comprehensive Citizen’s Wilderness Proposal for one of Arizona’s last wild places, Walkin’ Jim Stoltz , a unique folksinger and backcountry traveler, will bring his multimedia show, Forever Wild , to Flagstaff’s Orpheum Theater on Tuesday, April 15, at 7pm . The event will celebrate the initiative to set aside approximately 950,000 acres of additional wilderness along the Arizona Strip north of Grand Canyon National Park, including Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monuments.

Walkin’ Jim takes his name from the more than 25,000 miles he has walked through the wildlands of North America. Many of the songs he performs were written on his travels and express a great love and respect for the Earth and wilderness. Walkin’ Jim has toured extensively throughout the United States for more than 18 years and was presented the Environmental Protection Agency’s Outstanding Achievement Award for helping to bring nature and wilderness to people all over the country. Edward Abbey, the well-know writer and conservationist, described Stoltz as “a music man of exuberance and passion, with more to say in one song than Frank Sinatra ever managed in a whole bloody concert.”

“Walkin’ Jim Stoltz is not only an amazing folksinger, but a true friend of wilderness,” notes Don Hoffman, executive director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. “His show highlights the remarkable power of wilderness and makes clear the need secure lasting protection for wildlands in Arizona.” The concert is co-sponsored by AWC, the Flagstaff Activist Network, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, and the Southwest Forest Alliance.

Tickets will be available at the Flagstaff Activists Network office before the concert or at the Orpheum Theater the day of the show. Tickets are $7 or $10 for guests wishing to contribute $3 to wilderness organizations. All proceeds will benefit local conservation organizations. A pre-concert reception will get started at 5:30 pm in the Orpheum Theater’s lounge, including free munchies and a cash bar.

AWC Gets a Facelift!

The Arizona Wilderness Coalition is pleased to announce a complete redesign and expansion of its website, . The site includes new features and links, expanded information on wilderness advocacy in Arizona, and a wealth of spectacular new photography from Phoenix-area photographer Mark Miller.

Some new features on our homepage:

•  Legislative links and contact information to keep you in touch with your Arizona senators and representatives in Congress. Letter writing and phone calls are highly encouraged to keep wilderness protection on their Capitol Hill agendas.

•  Interactive maps to guide you around the state to your favorite wilderness areas.

•  The latest information on Arizona’s new monuments and current work being done by our regional coordinators to inventory the magnificent features in each monument.

•  A list of ideas to keep you involved with wilderness protection—from volunteering in the field to contributing to our newsletter.

•  A new section featuring some of Arizona’s most notable Wilderness Champions, who have dedicated their lives and energy to wilderness protection and public education.

•  Access to our new quarterly newsletter, The Arizona Wilderness Watcher .

If you like what you see, please tell us! Or if you have suggestions for a website feature or story, let us know. Contact AWC’s Communications and Media Coordinator Kate Mackay at .

Howling at Home

In these bleak days, we have a victory to celebrate. In mid-March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced their final plan to reclassify the gray wolf.  In their draft, they included Colorado, Utah, and the northern portions of New Mexico and Arizona in a large Western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) slated for delisting in the near future.

Mexican gray wolf with ear tags and collar. Photo by George Andrejko.
Mexican gray wolf with ear tags and collar. Photo by George Andrejko.

In their final plan, FWS included the southern portions of Colorado and Utah in the Southwestern DPS, which is the only place in the country where wolves will remain on the endangered species list.  Conservation groups now have an opportunity to affect the FWS Recovery Plan to include Colorado and Utah. It may not be long before we see wolves again roaming the vast expanses of western public lands that were once their home.

You Make a Mess? You Clean it Up.

Mining giant Asarco, conservation groups, and the Bureau of Land Management may have come to terms with a dispute over an illegal road, pipeline, and power line in the 3-year-old Ironwood Forest National Monument—one of the five established by former President Clinton and an outstanding ecological example of ironwood tree habitat in the southwest. The monument also offers shelter to one of the last viable populations of desert bighorn sheep in the Tucson region.

Saguaro stands, Ironwood Forest National Monument. Photo by Mark Miller.
Saguaro stands, Ironwood Forest National Monument. Photo by Mark Miller.

According to Asarco, the mining fixtures were installed on nearby BLM lands using claims held by the Silver Bell mine in 1997, but without proper legal permits from BLM. In June of 2000, Clinton’s proclamation bestowed monument status on 189,000 acres in the area, which also includes 60,000 acres of private and state land inside its boundaries. AWC has provided the BLM with a wilderness proposal for portions of Ironwood Forest National Monument, which would preclude any further mining operations within wilderness boundaries and allow for road and other fixture removal.

After discussions over the last 18 months, the BLM has announced a plan in which Asarco will remove its equipment and revegetate the area within the monument west of Marana. The work could begin as soon as May.