News

Land and Water Conservation Fund

There is another Administration threat to funding for the environment and public parks, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. While this isn’t a direct threat to the Ironwood Forest National Monument, it is more of the continuing attack on DOI funding for the public’s benefit and how their funds are allocated internally away from open spaces. Read the fact sheet provided by The Wilderness Society by clicking here.

Opposition to the Proposed Interstate I-11

The Arizona Department of Transportation is studying alternative routes for a new Interstate 11 highway. Their apparently favored route through Avra Valley would cut between the IFNM and Saguaro NP, Tucson Mountain Park and Tribal Lands. Such a route would seriously interrupt wildlife migration and add several kinds of pollution to these public lands. If the added traffic capacity is indeed warranted, we favor ADOT expanding the exiting I-10 corridor.

Pros and Cons of the Proposed Interstate, September 2018
Press Release Update, August 2018
Friends of the Ironwood Forest Letter of Opposition to I-11
I-11 Public Information Meetings
I-11 Coalition for Sonoran Desert ProtectionLetter to ADOT, June 2017
I-11 Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection Letter to ADOT, July 2016
I-11 Meeting Flyer
A Letter from the Avra Valley Coalition
ADOT Submission Statement on the Proposed I-11 Routes

MEMBER ALERT

Friends,
Yesterday, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona proposed a last minute amendment, to the Department of Interior appropriations bill, that would cut off funding for the IFNM. His simple-minded amendment can be viewed by clicking here.
 
Last year, as you all know, the DOI “reviewed” 27 national monuments, including the Ironwood Forest. The IFNM, due in no small part to your comments and actions, was left untouched and unchanged. 
 
This last-ditch effort by a congressional representative to assuage a couple of his supporters is inappropriate, damaging and unfounded. 
 
We need you to let your representative in congress know how much you are against this Gosar amendment. It may come up for a vote tomorrow, so time is of the essence.
 
In particular, calls to these two Arizona representatives may be most effective:
Martha McSally at 202-225-2542
Kyrsten Senima at 202-225-9888

Stay Up To Date

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Desert Bighorn Sheep Update

Arizona desert bighorn sheep thrive with help of conservationists – and hunters

Gabriel Sandler | Cronkite News
Thursday, March 22, 2018
 
MARANA – After a two-hour hike through rocky, cactus-studded terrain west of Marana – with a left knee that no longer bends – 70-year-old Joe Sheehey arrived at Silverbell Peak and spotted an Arizona desert bighorn sheep.

The ram stood at the edge of the summit, read more …

National Public Lands Day, December 8

Join the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Friends of Ironwood Forest and other organizations for our National Public Lands Day (NPLD) project in the Ironwood Forest on December 8, 2018.  National Public Lands Day is celebrated nationally on the last Saturday of September. In Southern Arizona we opt for the cooler temperatures of December.

Our Projects are all at the Manville Road entrance (portal) to the Monument.  There are three projects identified: restoration adjacent to the parking area at the portal; installation of a kiosk at the portal; and vegetation clean up along Manville Road a little ways past the the portal toward El Cerrito de Represso (the slash from the clean up will also help with the restoration). 

Schedule for the day:
7:30am – carpool from Dove Mountain Park  
8:15am – meet with BLM and other volunteers at the Manville Road entrance to the Monument.
11:30am – wrap up at work site(s) NLT 1130am
12 noon – Lunch at the work site

With all the work planned for the Manville area we will not meet at the Marana Airport. Take Manville road west off Sandario to the IFNM entrance. Let me know if you would like to meet somewhere and follow me to the site (email and phone are below).

We will be clearing vegetation on this project, spreading vegetation and mulching adjacent to the parking area and installing the kiosk for the Manville portal. The work site is level and we will be working close to our vehicles. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the weather and the project. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen and water. Water will be available on site to refill your containers.

BLM will supply tools and gloves (bring your own favorite gloves and hand tools if you like).

The Friends will provide snacks and lunch for everyone at the work site.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, sign up by contacting Jim at [email protected] or leave a message at 628-2092. 

All volunteers need to complete and have a BLM approved Volunteer Service Agreement form on file.  If you would like to participate, please send your completed Volunteer Service Agreement to both Robert Walter [email protected] before noon on Dec 7th, and state that you want to participate in the NPLD work party. Volunteer Service Agreement is available HERE

Hope to see you on December 8th!!

For more information on the national NPLD event see: https://www.neefusa.org/public-lands-day

Harris Hawk Release

A Harris Hawk was released after last week’s press conference which Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) hosted with local environmental advocates highlighting the threat to Ironwood Forest National Monument and other national monuments across the country.

Left to right: Representative from Liberty Wildlife, Maria Klucarova from Supervisor Bronson’s office, Verlon Jose who is the Vice Chair Tohono O’odham Nation.

You can also view a video of the press conference by clicking here.

Fact v. Fiction

Bill Thornton separates fact from fiction in a letter published July 25 in the Arizona Daily Star. Bill addresses statements made by the Congressional Western Caucus, which includes three Arizona Congressman. Read Bill’s article here. Covered in the article are highlights from the letter the Caucus sent to Interior Secretary Zinke. Bill debunks statements such as the false implication that ranchers with grazing leases have concerns over access, that off highway vehicles are prohibited and that the monument has resulted in a loss of revenue for K-12 education.

Arizona Conservationists: Save our National Monuments

The Arizona Daily Star ran an article on Sunday, June 4 called Arizona Conservationists: Save our National Monuments. The article was by William Thornton, the Friends of Ironwood Forest (FIF) Vice President and Tom Hannagan, FIF President.  The article covers the history of how the Ironwood Forest National Monument achieved its designation, how the monument land has benefited from thousands of hours of hands-on work by hundreds of volunteers and information on how to make your voice heard in protest to the threat to our national monuments. Read the article here.

Action Items to Protect Our Public Lands

The executive order of April 26, 2017 to review designations under the Antiquities Act is nothing less than a frontal assault on our national parks and monuments. This executive order is a direct threat, if not a promise, to undo over a century of progress in conservation. The Friends of Ironwood Forest will use every resource to 1) educate the public on what is at stake, 2) advocate with lawmakers to stop any attempt to weaken the Antiquities Act, 3) take the position that an attempt to reduce or eliminate any existing park or monument is unacceptable.

Please refer to the documents in the Mission & Advocacy page of our website for actions we’ve already taken. Since April 26, we have been busy developing our position statement on the executive order, working with partners to send a letter opposing the order to the Secretary of the Interior, and combining with three other Friends groups in Arizona to issue a press release on our reaction to the order.

Here are Action Items each of us can take to counter this threat:

1) Continue to check the FIF website. It will have the latest news related to the executive order, what others are doing and where we stand.
 
2) Tell everyone you know that is concerned about the conservation of our natural treasures to bookmark the FIF website and connect with FIF by sharing their email address. Any donation to help is welcome, but not required.
 
3) Contact your elected federal officials by phone or email and let them clearly know where you stand on the executive order and the threat to the Antiquities Act of 1906. The undoing of monuments or changes to the Antiquities Act will likely end up in Congress directly or after going through the court system. 
 
4) Feel free to use our materials and add your own thoughts to comment to media in your area and groups you may belong to, regarding this threat to the direction of conservation. 
 
Thank you for your support, your concern and your outrage at this horrible executive order. We will do all we can to ensure the Ironwood Forest, and all our national treasures, survive this blatant attack.