Press Release: Tubac Chamber Gives Resounding 'Yes' to Wilderness for the Tumacacori Highlands
March 18, 2005
Contact: Carol Cullen, Executive Director, Tubac Chamber of Commerce:
Tubac—In a unanimous vote on March 16th, the members of the Tubac Chamber of Commerce voted to support federal legislation that would permanently protect approximately 85,000 acres in the Tumacacori Highlands as wilderness. The group is the first chamber in the area to support wilderness designation for the Tumacacori Highlands in Southern Arizona.
Before a vote was taken, Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands (FOTH), the local group driving the wilderness proposal, presented the Chamber with data supporting the benefits of wilderness to local economies, wildlife and hunting opportunities, and clean air and water. FOTH has been building a coalition of wilderness allies for more than two years using grassroots outreach to local communities, businesses, recreational groups, ranchers, and politicians.
“Given the outstanding benefits of wilderness along with the population growth we see projected for Southern Arizona, we felt that protecting the Highlands for residents and visitors alike was the best long-term decision we could make for the future of Tubac and our quality of life,” the Chamber executive committee said in a prepared statement. “It is extremely important to note that we hope it will show people our natural landscape is viewed as an asset to living here—not an obstacle to economic growth. The Chamber has and will continue to support both sound economic development along with sound preservation efforts.” Tubac is situated north of the proposed wilderness area off of Interstate 19.
Located on the Coronado National Forest south of Tucson, the Tumacacori Highlands is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the United States, providing exceptional intact habitat for 74 federal- or state-listed species. It is also home to such rare and elusive creatures as black bear, peregrine falcons, elegant trogons, Chiricahua leopard frogs, and the American jaguar. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has ranked the Highlands as one of the top white-tailed deer hunting grounds in the state.
“Tubac’s artist community will only stand to gain from protecting the magnificent wild qualities that make it such an amazing area to live,” says Roberta Stabel, a representative of FOTH and a former real estate agent. “This is a victory for businesses, for residents, and for wilderness. We’ve worked hard to educate business leaders that nearby wilderness draws many people looking to relocate who also want access to protected public lands in their free time.”
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-District 7), who has been working with FOTH on the proposal, is expected to introduce a bill for the Highlands later this year.
For a listing of businesses, organizations, and individuals supporting Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands, please visit www.tumacacoriwild.org.