New Kiosk for the IFNM

We had a terrific Volunteer Workday this past Wednesday, combining an old activity (trash pickup) with a true milestone. Trash pickup needs little explanation, especially if you’ve ever done it.  The milestone was erecting the first kiosk on the Monument. As a pristine desert, the Ironwood Forest National Monument (IFNM) has no amenities and almost no signage. The new kiosk, at the Agua Blanka Portal, West on Mile Wide Road, is the first of several kiosks to be installed at various IFNM portals. All of the volunteers enjoyed seeing this accomplished.

Representative O’Halleran Visits IFNM

Friends of Ironwood Forest recently had the opportunity to show off the Ironwood Forest National Monument to Representative Tom O’Halleran. Representative O’Halleran’s 1st Congressional District includes part of the Monument and he graciously allocated a few hours of his busy schedule to learn more about this natural wonder and see it up close. He was amazed at the pristine beauty and said it could be useful in congressional discussions related to conservation to be able say that he’s been there. We thank him for his visit and his strong support of the Monument’s permanent protection.

Meet the Monument 2019

Meet the Monument 2019 came together on Saturday, March 16th under a striking sky, and surrounded by a stunning display of wildflowers.   The attendance numbers by our guests was very impressive, and the offerings by our presenters exceeded expectations. It was a fantastic day!

The Friends of Ironwood Forest would like to thank the dozens of people that made this happen, from our speakers, info booth providers, walkabout staff, volunteers, FIF board members, and vendors – it takes a lot of hands to make this event work – bravo!

But, bottom line, we need to thank you those that made the drive out to enjoy this fabulous landscape, set aside as a National Monument. These lands are OUR lands. Only through the focused effort of constant education, and prudent stewardship, will they remain so. You are a part of this process as a Friends of Ironwood Forest supporter.




Visit IFNM

It is a perfect time to visit the Ironwood Forest National Monument.  An incredible landscape recognized for its rugged scenery, biological diversity and cultural legacy located 25 miles northwest of Tucson. These 129,000 acres contain several desert mountain ranges including the Silver Bell, Sawtooth, and Waterman ranges, and the iconic Ragged Top Mountain.

The Monument contains a significant system of cultural and historic sites covering a 5,000-year period. The Monument home to threatened and endangered species; including Nichols Turk’s head cactus, lesser long-nosed bat, and desert tortoise.

View the map and directions here.

Ironwood Tree Experience Visits IFNM

FIF hosted 14 students from the Ironwood Tree Experience on January 19th at the Ironwood Forest National Monument. The students are in the process of learning more about the plants, animals and natural history of the Tucson area. An important part of their program is first hand experience on the land. They were shown the restoration area near Waterman Mountain and were able to photograph and take notes on the plant variety. We also were able to discuss the role of the Friends group in protecting the national monument, our advocacy for its preservation and how we organize volunteers to supplement BLM resources for various on-site projects. The students were very observant and asked many great questions. FIF is looking forward to more educational outings of this type with Tucson area students. 



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


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

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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 …