News

Meet the Monument 2018

The Friends of Ironwood Forest have set Saturday, March 17 for our annual “Meet the Monument” event. This gathering, free and open to the public, will be held again on the north side of iconic Ragged Top, approximately 20 miles west of Marana. The goal of this event is to be a learning experience featuring informational presentations (click here to learn more about the presenters) and walkabouts by local naturalists specializing in the various facets of this land. Send an email to [email protected] with questions.

View the event flyer

View the map to the event.

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Trump Takes Action to Dismantle Two National Monuments

Our national monuments are for all Americans. But today President Trump took executive action to dismantle two national treasures: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in southern Utah. Not only will this destroy these gifts to future generations, but it could decimate local economies dependent on tourism, result in destruction of important archaeological sites and scientific resources, and put access to our public lands at risk. Attacks on our national monuments are attacks on all public lands and oceans.

Your voice is needed again to fight the largest attack on protected areas in U.S. history. Take action at monumentsforall.org/action.

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. 

KVOA Interviews FIF President, Tom Hannagan

On Friday, May 5 KVOA interviewed the Friends of Ironwood Forest President, Tom Hannagan, in regard to President Trump’s Executive Order to review as many as 40 national monuments. Ironwood Forest, which was given national monument status in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, is one of the national monuments under review.

To see the news story and Tom’s interview click here.

Proposed Interstate Highway 11

The proposed Interstate Highway 11, which would significantly alter the Avra Valley. The interstate would run between Ironwood Forest National Monument and Saguaro National Park (West/Red Hills). View the map here.

More information about the proposed Interstate Highway 11 including a public meeting schedule and letters of advocacy can be found here.

A similar proposal was opposed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors in 2007. The same concerns would be valid – “negatively impacting Tucson Mountain Park, Saguaro National Park, Ironwood Forest National Monument, Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Arizona Project Canal mitigation area, and important elements of the County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan by slicing through sensitive areas, severing linkages between important habitat areas, and disturbing an unknown number of archeological sites”.

In a July 2, 2013 letter to the Pima Association of Governments, County Administrator, Chuck Huckelberry, discusses the impacts of this proposed route. But he only mentions the direct impacts to parcels of land on which the interstate would be built. This letter minimizes the impacts to adjacent properties, including areas conserved for wildlife and cultural and historic interests. It significantly downplays the impacts to the City of Tucson’s proposed Avra Valley Habitat Conservation Plan permit area, which includes 22,000 acres of former agricultural lands in the Avra Valley purchased by the City in the 1970s and 1980s for water rights.

Marana Founder’s Day 2017

Friends of the Ironwood Forest participated in the 2017 Marana Founder’s Day. Board members helped during the day by staffing a booth, answering questions and participating in a raffle. Raffle winners had their choice of a Friends of the Ironwood Forest t-shirt or a book. Note cards and photographs were a big hit as a giveaway too.  

The annual Marana Founder’s Day is a good opportunity to share the Friends mission of protecting the biological, geological, archaeological, and historical resources of the Ironwood Forest National Monument with area residents. People that stopped by the booth requested maps and more information about ironwoods.

Marana Founder’s Day also includes a parade, youth awards, car show and vendors of all types. Watch for 2018 dates, come enjoy and learn more about the Ironwood Forest National Monument.