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June 27, 2013


Rep. Grijalva Honored During Great Outdoors America Week in Washington, D.C.

Award given for work to protect America's great outdoors and public lands

Contacts:       Kate Mackay, Arizona Wilderness Coalition/ / 520-326-4300

                       Dave Richins, Sonoran Institute/ /602-625-5162

                       Mike Quigley, The Wilderness Society/ / 520-334-8741


WASHINGTON – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-Tucson) was honored this week as one of America’s Great Outdoors Congressional Champions during Great Outdoors America Week  (GO America Week), June 24-June 27, 2013 in Washington D.C.

The Arizona Wilderness Coalition (AWC), the Sonoran Institute (SI), The Wilderness Society(TWS), and other participating groups honored Rep. Grijalva for working to protect America’s wild places and green spaces that are critical in reconnecting people to the great outdoors.

This spring, Rep. Grijalva introduced the Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage Act of 2013. It would protect roughly 954,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat and recreation areas west of Phoenix. The legislation would preserve important wildlife and recreation areas, safeguard the viability of Luke Air Force Base and the Barry M. Goldwater Range, and protect environmental amenities to boost economic opportunities for West Valley cities and towns. [B-roll video clips available for download here.]

The Congressman also played an integral role in creating a permanent National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), the most innovative American land system created in the last 40 years, within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Last Congress, Rep. Grijalva championed the efforts to protect the Grand Canyon from the threat of expanded uranium mining. He also has stood up against H.R. 1505, a bill that would put at risk 49 million acres of public lands within 100 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders. Further, he is a proponent of expanding Saguaro National Park and retaining the ecological integrity of the Santa Rita Mountains outside Tucson.

"Protecting our country’s public lands, waters and air quality has to be one of Washington’s top priorities, and I’ve made it mine throughout my career,” Rep. Grijalva says. “It’s not just a question of appreciation for the outdoors, it’s a question of what kind of country we want to live in. I believe, like millions of other Americans, that protecting our sensitive and beautiful public spaces creates a better future for our children and their children. We can’t pit the needs of our environment against other political interests. They have to go hand in hand. I’m proud to share those values with the Wilderness Society, I’m greatly appreciative of the work they do, and I’m very humbled by this award.”


In the heart of Great Outdoors Month, GO America Week brought outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life to celebrate America’s great outdoors, and let Congress and President Obama and his administration know that protecting America’s great outdoors is our priority. The advocates included high school students and adults, active members of the military and veterans, conservationists and business leaders, hunters and anglers, and bikers and boaters.

Several Arizonans traveled to the nation’s capital to participate: AWC, SI and TWS staff met with congressional delegation offices regarding the Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage effort and responsible renewable energy development in Arizona.

“The Arizona Wilderness Coalition, the Sonoran Institute, The Wilderness Society, and the many Arizonans we represent are thankful for Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s continued commitment to Arizona’s people, land, and wildlife,” says Mike Quigley, with The Wilderness Society in Tucson. “Rep. Grijalva has been and remains a tireless champion of America’s great outdoors—working to make sure that all our lands and waters are protected for future generations to enjoy.”


Great Outdoors America Week offered an opportunity for advocates to take direct action on a number of conservation issues, ranging from wilderness and national monument protection to reconnecting inner-city kids to the great outdoors. Great Outdoors America Week serves as another example of the long-standing, bipartisan tradition of conservation in the United States.



Photo: The award--with the feature photograph from the Sonoran Desert by AZ-based photographer Elias Butler--was given to Rep. Raul Grijalva at a reception in D.C. honoring congressional champions from around the country. Left to right, Mike Quigley (TWS-Tucson), Rep. Grijavla, Phil Hanceford and Nada Culver (TWS BLM Action Center-Denver). Courtesy Ian Dowdy.


Arizona Wilderness Coalition:

Sonoran Institute:

The Wilderness Society:



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