Programs and Priorities

Programs and Priorities

Our programs focus on accomplishing targeted conservation service projects, educating the public and Monument visitors about the natural and cultural resources, seeking out partnerships with other organizations, and serving as a strong advocate for protecting the Monument.

  • Enforcement of recreational shooting ban within the Monument.
  • Removal of buffelgrass from priority areas.
  • Meet The Monument, monument tours, and other public events that provide on-site interpretation.
  • Frequent on-the-ground restoration projects – removing trash and invasive species.
  • Promote the protection and sustainable use of Monument resources.
  • Coordinate scientific, cultural and historic research of the Monument and surrounding area.
  • Engagement with the Resource Management Plan (RMP) process for the Monument.
  • Develop and distribute education materials and presentations.
  • Advocate for our federal and state public lands.
  • Assist the BLM with implementation of management plans and mandates aimed toward protection of Monument resources.
  • Partner with over two dozen other conservation and government organizations to advance protection of the Sonoran Desert, including an annual National Public Lands Day event.
A baby Desert Tortoise at Ironwood Forest National Monument. Some of the best habitat for Desert Tortoises to survive is found within the 129,000 acre Monument. Photo Drew Milsom.
A baby Desert Tortoise at Ironwood Forest National Monument. Some of the best habitat for Desert Tortoises to survive is found within the 129,000 acre Monument. Photo Drew Milsom.

Ironwood Forest National Monument Resource Management Plan

A resource management plan (RMP) has been developed for the IFNM for two reasons: to specifically address management of lands within the IFNM in reference to the monument designation, and to implement BLM’s policy to prepare a stand-alone RMP for all National Conservation Lands units, including the IFNM. Presently, the land within the IFNM is managed under the 1989 Phoenix Resource Area RMP (Phoenix RMP) as amended by the Arizona Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Grazing Administration (USDI, BLM 1997), the Arizona Statewide Land Use Plan Amendment for Fire, Fuels, and Air Quality Management (USDI, BLM 2003a), and the 1987 Eastern Arizona Grazing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), when decisions in these documents are consistent with the Proclamation.

Non-native, invasive buffelgrass greens up and grows quickly during our two rainy seasons – monsoon and winter. It then dries out very quickly, creating a huge fire potential in a landscape that did not evolve with frequent fire.

Wildlife habitat plans, such as the Silver Bell Habitat Management Plan, and allotment management plans provide specific management direction and actions for wildlife and range programs on lands within and immediately adjacent to the IFNM. In addition, BLM has been following an interim guidance document for managing public land within the IFNM until the new RMP is completed and approved (USDI, BLM 2001a).

The BLM Tucson Field office released the Proposed Final Resource Management Plan (PFRMP) and Record of Decision for the Ironwood Forest National Monument on February 25, 2013. This extensive process spanned nearly 7 years and the Friends of Ironwood Forest have been very involved in offering input and participating in the development of the plan.

You may review the plan, including a site specific analysis of the impacts of recreational target shooting by clicking here.

What’s next?
The management plan closed all lands within the IFNM to recreational target shooting. We are working with the BLM to assist, in whatever way we can, with enforcement, implementation, and clean up of damaged sites on the Monument.

The management plan directs the BLM to develop a subsequent Travel Management Plan for the Monument. This plan should be completed within the next year. It will detail road uses, locations, maintenance levels, user expectations, and closures. If you would like to be kept informed of the TMP planning process please contact Friends of Ironwood Forest at