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Press Release: Senator McCain Honors Visionaries of Wilderness Conservation


Statement calls on Administration to Acknowledge "Moral Obligation to the Future"

October 5, 2004  

Contact: Don Hoffman, Arizona Wilderness Coalition, 928-339-4525

                Matt Skroch, Sky Island Alliance, 520-624-7080, ext. 202

Phoenix---At the end of a month-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called on the Bush Administration to remember the vision of past leaders to protect America's remaining wilderness, in spite of the environmental challenges that face our country and the world today. 

In a formal statement included in the Congressional Record, Senator McCain pointed out that in his home state of Arizona-the second fastest growing in the nation-citizens are fortunate to benefit from more than 4,500,000 acres that have been preserved in 90 wilderness areas, including the Cabeza Prieta Wilderness, Baboquivari Peak, and Kachina Peaks Wilderness. McCain’s statement emphasizes that it was thanks to the foresight of Theodore Roosevelt and Bob Marshall--two of the nation's greatest conservation advocates--that all Americans have the privilege to enjoy wilderness, in which Marshall once said, "vast forests germinate and flourish and die and rot and grow again without any relationship to the ambitions and interferences of man."

"Senator McCain has worked with the great conservation leaders of our day--Arizona Congressman Mo Udall and his brother, former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall--to protect some of the Southwest's most beautiful landscapes," says Don Hoffman, Executive Director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. "He's taken the high road time and again by stressing the importance of wilderness, despite shortsighted schemes in Washington that would rob our future generations of wilderness benefits, like clean air and water, outdoor recreation, and opportunities for solitude."

Matt Skroch, Programs Director for the Sky Island Alliance says, “Senator McCain again proves his dedication and commitment to the continuing American legacy of wilderness.  He honors our tradition and responsibility to provide for future generations those places that we cherish today, in all their grandeur.” 

The Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands, a coalition of advocates including the Sky Island Alliance, the Arizona Wilderness Coalition, and local citizens and businesses, is currently working to save the largest remaining roadless tract on U.S. Forest Service lands in Arizona-approximately 85,000 acres in the Tumacacori Highlands south of Tucson. The area is home to the elusive jaguar and offers sanctuary for a rich tapestry of subtropical species found nowhere else in the United States.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-District 7) introduced the proposal in January and could present legislation for the Highlands by next spring. Earlier this year, Congressman Grijalva signed onto a joint resolution in the House (H. Res. 746) to commemorate the visionary leadership of America's wilderness advocates in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.


Release compiled by: Arizona Wilderness Coalition • Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands • Sky Island Alliance




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