|Issue 3, Summer 2003|
In August, AWC staff will introduce the concept of wilderness protection to the employees at AT&T and Microchip facilities. The companies are hosting AWC during their 2003 Employee Health Fairs taking place at a variety of Phoenix-area locations.
The fairs are a way for company employees to get ideas about improving and maintaining their health while learning about area nonprofit groups. AWC plans to educate fair attendees on the importance of wilderness, opportunities to volunteer, and the Coalition's Adopt-a-Wilderness program.
"Wilderness stewardship offers a challenging alternative for extracurricular activities in and around Phoenix," says Don Hoffman, Coalition Executive Director. "Many dedicated wilderness advocates have been born out of creative corporate initiatives like this one."
AWC will be collaborating its exhibit and informational handouts with the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter Wilderness Committee. Fair organizer Diana Gruenig expects approximately 1,300 employees at each fair--with the first beginning on August 5th.
This past June, AWC staff participated in Prescott's 2nd annual Tsunami on the Square, a two-day performing arts festival that drew citizens from around the state into downtown Prescott's Courthouse Square. AWC presented a skit to festival attendees that clarified the meaning of wilderness and its importance to Arizona's quality of life, to which there was resounding applause from the crowd. AWC also provided a staffed informational booth on our current wilderness campaigns and ways for citizens to get more involved with our work.
"Events like this come few and far between," says Jay Krienitz, Western Deserts Regional Coordinator for AWC, who is based in Prescott. "We were fortunate to be able to reach such a diverse crowd from all over the state using a positive artistic message that says, "We need wilderness."
The Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club--covering the whole state of Arizona--has overseen a Wilderness Committee for many years. The Committee was an important partner in the Arizona Wilderness Coalition's work and outreach efforts. Committee members have their plates full supporting work for future wilderness and protecting existing wilderness in Arizona. Service trips in wilderness and roadless areas, hikes, and outings allow Committee members to stay connected to the lands and waters they work to protect.
Recently members enjoyed hikes to Lime Creek in the Tonto National Forest and to the Arrastra Wilderness. The Committee organized an enlightening presentation by five seasoned Arizona wilderness activists in early April at the Phoenix Zoo.
Anyone is welcome to join the Committee--either by attending committee meetings or becoming a Wilderness Steward, which involves adopting either an existing wilderness area or a roadless area. Wilderness adoption means committing to visit the area 3-4 times a year and documenting what you observe while there. For example, is the area in fact being managed as wilderness? What is the reality there on the ground? What threats or positive events happening to the land do you find?
The documentation can occur through annotated sketches, note-writing, photographs, or combinations of methods. Wilderness adoption affords the area a close human ally for the long-term. More than one person can adopt an area--in fact, teamwork often proves more effective in monitoring a large wilderness area.
Please e-mail Michelle Pulich at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about joining the Committee.
By taking part in the Arizona Wilderness Coalition’s First Annual Wilderness Activist Survey, you can help us better communicate with you about wilderness activism in Arizona.
Our short survey will gather feedback from our members and regular website visitors about how we can improve our communication to better serve you with information about wilderness efforts in Arizona. Please take a few moments to answer our survey! Your answers are much needed and greatly appreciated. Click here to find the survey on our website.
In June, Coalition members and many wild river supporters attended another round of debate sponsored by the National Park Service to gather public and stakeholder feedback on how to manage the Colorado River as it flows through Grand Canyon National Park.
At the meetings, the Arizona Wilderness Coalition presented a
multi-point resolution to the 20-year conflict, proposing an extended
boating season, smaller trips, and an equal split between commerical
and do-it-youself boaters, who now must wait 20 or more years to run
the river. The resolution would protect wilderness character and still
preserve the commercial boaters current allocation for user days on
the river. AWC advocates that the current status-quo system is not protecting
the wilderness experience many people seek at the river.
"Nobody loses under our proposed resolution," says Kim Crumbo, AWC's Grand Canyon Regional Coordinator, former river guide and river ranger. "The commercial outfitters would get to keep their existing business capacity on the river, and those who are waiting--often dying while waiting--are now able to gain greater access to one of the greatest whitewater wilderness experiences in the world." For more information about AWC's proposal, click here.
NPS is expected to compile the comments and configure the different river scenarios to produce the Colorado River Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement for review late this fall.