News

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.

National Public Lands Day, December 9

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 9, 2017.  National Public Lands Day is celebrated nationally on the last Saturday of September, September 30 this year, however, many organizations chose project dates to accommodate local circumstances.  In Southern Arizona we opt for the cooler temperatures of December.  The volunteer project identified for this year is expansion of the Silverbell group camp site.

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. 

We will meet at the Marana Regional Airport at 11700 W Avra Valley Road at 8am and head to the work site from there. The Marana Airport is located 5 miles west of the I-10 and Avra Valley Road, exit 242.

We will be clearing vegetation on this project. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear (long sleeves and pants are recommended). Bring a hat, sunscreen and water. We will have water available on site to refill your containers.

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] and Claire Crow [email protected] before noon on Dec 8th, and state that you want to participate in the NPLD work party. They will get your form signed and let you know that you are good to go. Claire will also be on site Dec 9 and can approve forms the day of the event.
Volunteer Service Agreement is available HERE

Hope to see you on December 9th!!

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. 

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.

 

Titan II Missile Interpretive Site

Titan II Missile Interpretive Site
Ironwood Forest National Monument, Marana AZ

DEDICATION

On November 17, 2016 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U. S. Air Force dedicated a new destination for visitors to the Ironwood Forest National Monument!  You will find the new Titan II Missile Interpretive Site just off Johnston Mine Road.  The dedication was an inspiring event to showcase the new addition to the Monument and many dignitaries attended.  Speakers included: Pamela Mathis, BLM Gila Associate District Manager; Ray Suazo, BLM Arizona State Director; Colonel Laurie Richter, 355th Mission Support Group, Davis-Monthan AFB; and Yvonne Morris, Titan II Missile Museum Director and former Titan II site Missile Combat Crew Commander.  Also, former crew members once assigned to the 390th Strategic Missile Wing were in attendance.  The Friends of Ironwood Forest provided refreshments for the ceremony.

THE SITE

The U.S. Air Force and the BLM partnered in the conversion of Titan Missile Site 570-3 into a historical interpretive site, this site is one of 18 across our state.    The Titan II Missile sites were located in three places in the U.S. as a deterrent to nuclear war during the cold war period–Arkansas, Kansas and Arizona and they were manned 24/7 for 24 years, from 1963 to 1987.  Each site was capable of launching a Titan II Missile in 58 seconds in case of attack on the United States.  Green Valley is home to the Titan Missile Museum, a silo preserved in its originality for visitors to enjoy and learn more about this period in history.  Now we have another site on the Ironwood Forest National Monument for visitors to experience this history in another way. 

In order to establish the interpretive site the BLM led multiple work projects enlisting the help of many volunteers affiliated with the Friends of Ironwood Forest, Arizona Native Plant Society and others.  The volunteers provided many hours clearing and preparing the site as well as installing signage at the site.

DIRECTIONS

Visiting the Titan II Missile Interpretative Site on the Ironwood Forest National Monument is easy.  Use Exit 242 from I-10 (Avra Valley Road) and travel west approximately 19.5 miles to Johnston Mine Road.  Turn left onto Johnston Mine Road.  You will find the road to the site in about .2 miles to the right.  There is plenty of parking and easily accessible flat walking areas.  The views of the Waterman Mountains are great and, if you are lucky, perhaps a Desert Big Horn Sheep or two will also be in view!  Enjoy the experience!