News

Meet the Monument, March 18, 2017

Saturday, March 18th will be the 6th Meet the Monument event. (View the flyer.) Meet the Monument will be held from 8 am to 2 pm, at the base of Ragged Top peak. (View the map here.)

This year former and current faculty members from the University of Arizona and other local experts will cover the botany/fauna/and geography of the Monument. Learn about bighorn sheep and the last indigenous herd in the Tucson Basin; the magnificent Saguaro; National Conservation Lands; and gain insight into the historic Titan Missile program and its interaction within the Monument. During short walkabouts into the desert you will see and learn about the plants and geography of the Monument and learn photographic techniques and how to photograph the desert or join the 6k hike and see Elephant Trees at the base of Waterman Peak (number of hikers is limited on this hike). View the schedule.

The nature and photo walks will be held on gentle, flat terrain – suitable for almost every adventurer (number of hikers is not limited on the nature walks). Preregistration is not required for the walkabouts and there is no limit to the number of hikers.

The longer 6K hike will be for those with hiking experience moderate to rough desert terrain. Note for the 6K hike: Hike departs from the Marana Airport NOT the MTM site at Ragged Top. Advanced registration is required and number of hikers is limited. Be sure to sign up with Jim Avramis at [email protected]

All activities take place outside – please wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the day’s weather and activities, and bring drinking water and a lunch. (View the full event description here.)

For more information about Meet the Monument contact Jim Avramis at [email protected]

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! 

 

 

 

 

Wild At Heart

On Sat April 30 Lindy Sheehy, Tom Hannagan, and Bill Thornton, participated in a “Wild at Heart” sponsored workday relocating Burrowing Owls to a location near Marana. The owls are rescued from sites slated for development, mostly in the west Phoenix valley, and relocated to suitable habitat out of harm’s way. Captured owls are held at held for at least 60 days at the “Wild at Heart” rehab center before being transported to the relocation site.

Volunteers will provide food and water for 30 days after which the tent will be removed and the owls will be on their own. Wild at Heart has done many successful relocations so prospects are favorable for these owls to survive and thrive in their new neighborhood.

Owls are banded before release. Interesting side note: An owl released in southern Arizona was found in Alberta, Canada.

Photos courtesy of Lindy Sheehy
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Big news about bighorns. Read all about it.

Click below to read the article:

Two bighorns spotted in Saguaro Park

Hike the Monument – 2016

HIKE THE MONUMENT – Saturday, March 12, 2016

Join us on one of three hikes on Saturday, March 12th, to get out and explore this national treasure in our back yard.

1. Walcott Saddle Adventure Hike – moderate to difficult.

2. Waterman Mountains Elephant Trees botanical hike – moderate/steep.

3. Nature hike at base of Ragged Top – easy terrain / family oriented.

Please read through the hike descriptions below to see which hike best fits your ability. Then sign up using the link below. The number of participants of each hike is limited, sign up early!
Please specify which hike you would like to sign up for, the number of people you are bringing, and whether or not you have a high-clearance vehicle and are willing to drive to the hike starting point.
Please remember to dress in layers, appropriate for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, hat, and sunscreen, bring water, snacks, lunch, and your camera. There are no restrooms or other facilities. Roads are not maintained.

All hikes will meet up at the Marana Airport on Avra Valley Road at 8:00 am on Saturday, March 12th. We expect to be done hiking no later than 2 pm and to return to the airport by 3 pm. The Marana Airport is located 5 miles West of I-10 and the Avra Valley Road exit.

1. Hike to Walcott Saddle and circumnavigate Walcott Peak (by Ragged Top) Adventure Hike – moderate to difficult – cross country/no trail with loose and uneven footing – 3+ miles with a 600′ accumulated elevation gain. High clearance vehicles recommended. Hike leaders are Gary Borax and Jim Phillips.
When you look at Ragged Top from the east, the Peak immediately south of Ragged Top is Walcott Peak and it’s connected to Ragged Top via Walcott Saddle. The BLM requests that hikers refrain from hiking above Walcott Saddle and summiting Ragged Top from January 1 through April 30 during the Bighorn Sheep lambing season.
On this hike we will hike up to Walcott Saddle from the base of Ragged Top. We will continue on down from the Saddle as we circle Walcott Peak. On this trek you will see that Walcott Peak is surrounded via a series of smaller lower peaks. Last year on this hike we had several Big Horn sheep and lambs make an appearance!

2. Waterman Mountains Elephant Trees – This hike covers about 3.5 miles round trip, walking on loose rocks in steep terrain. Accumulated elevation gain is about 650 ft. High-clearance vehicles are required.
Drew Milsom (U of A) is leading this hike accompanied by Jim Avramis (Friends of Ironwood Forest). Moderate to slightly difficult hike following old steep mining road in the Waterman Mountains to find E.T. (Elephant Trees) and other botanical fun.
There are lots of great plants to discuss along the way, as well as opportunities to view the unique geology of the mountains.

3. Nature Hike at base of Ragged Top – with Ries Lindley – Easy paced 3 mile (or so) hike along the norther bajada of Ragged Top.
Join Ries, a fabulous naturalist and botanist for this easy paced hike while exploring the wonders of the Ironwood Forest. Botanical discussions will be featured as part of this family-oriented nature hike.
To sign up for any of these hikes – simply send an email message to [email protected] or call and leave a message at 520-628-2092.

Worth repeating:
Please specify which hike you would like to sign up for, the number of people you are bringing, and whether or not you have a high-clearance vehicle and are willing to drive to the hike starting point.
All hikes will meet up at the Marana Airport on Avra Valley Road at 8:00 am on Saturday, March 12th. We expect to be done hiking no later than 2 pm and to return to the airport by 3 pm. The Marana Airport is located 5 miles West of I-10 and Avra Valley Road exit.
Please remember to dress in layers, appropriate for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, hat, and sunscreen, bring water, snacks, lunch, and your camera. There are no restrooms or other facilities. Roads are not maintained.

CHANGE COMES TO THE DESERT AND THE FRIENDS

 

Spring brings many changes in many areas of our lives and The Friends of Ironwood Forest is no exception.  The desert is full with blooms and renewal is all around us.  As most of you are aware, the Friends is experiencing a renewal of its own and now is an all-volunteer organization.  In order to align ourselves with a reduced funding profile we reluctantly eliminated our Executive director position and Lahsha Brown is now with Friends of Sabino Canyon and doing well.  The Board is taking on many new responsibilities, and our processes are changing as we accommodate our new organization.  One of these changes is our practice of sending out membership renewal notices on a monthly basis.  The amount of time involved makes this impossible for an all-volunteer Board as small as ours, and we are moving to a yearly membership renewal policy starting this June.  In June you will be receive a letter asking you to renew your membership.  Future renewal notices will follow annually in the month of June.

Our membership is more than generous.  The Friends asks, and receives, donations twice a year–once at the end of the year, in the form of an End Of Year Appeal, and again when your membership renewal is due.  The option of donating on line will remain available, and some supporters have chosen to give on a continuing, scheduled basis with this option.

Your support allows the Friends to continue protecting and advocating for the Ironwood Forest National Monument and to work with the Bureau of Land Management to insure this treasure is here for future generations.  Thank you so much for your support and generosity.  This very special place, The Ironwood Forest National Monument, is the beneficiary of your support, in whatever form it takes!

Please contact us if you have any suggestions, thoughts, concerns or comments.  We want to hear from you!

Board of Directors, Friends of Ironwood Forest

Gaile James, Jim Avramis, William Thornton, Kelsey Yule, Tom Hannagan

T-shirts with new logo on SALE

 

Get our New Logo
on you very own Friends of Ironwood Forest T-Shirt

T-Shirts available in all sizes, Men’s and Women’s
$20 each and $3 for shipping or free local pickup
Through any of the following easy ordering options

1.  Use your credit card or PayPal:

Item

2.  Send your request and check for payment to:

Friends of Ironwood Forest
738 N 5th Ave, Suite 114
Tucson, AZ 85705

Please include your name, address, phone number and the number of t-shirts and sizes you desire.

3.  Contact us by email at: [email protected]

4.  Friends of Ironwood Forest T-Shirts are available at Summit Hut, www.summithut.org

 

Meet The Monument – November 15th

 
MEET THE MONUMENT – November 2015
Our 5th annual Meet the Monument on Nov. 14, 2015 was a great success, attracting more than 200 people. Attendees enjoyed hikes, walkabouts and speakers throughout the day and had theopportunity to learn from experts about Ironwood Forest’s incredible biological and cultural resources. We thank all who came out to become acquainted with the Monument, and hope that your visit has inspired you to become even more involved with our mission. Thanks go to all of the speakers, hike leaders, volunteer workers, and sponsors who contributed to the success of this event.

Sonsored by :

  • Arizona Lottery
  • Bach’s Cactus Nursery
  • Integrity Automotive
  • Pima Federal Credit Union
  • Rusty Lizard Press
  • Cynthia Williams, Long Realty

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Upcoming

As you can see from the following previous and planned events, the Friends of Ironwood Forest continue to be engaged in exciting, important activities. We hope you’ll join us for future events.

MEET THE MONUMENT – November 2015

Our 5th annual Meet the Monument on Nov. 14, 2015 was a great success, attracting more than 200 people. Attendees enjoyed hikes, walkabouts and speakers throughout the day and had the opportunity to learn from experts about Ironwood Forest’s incredible biological and cultural resources.

Speaker

We thank all who came out to become acquainted with the Monument, and hope that your visit has inspired you to become even more involved with our mission.

Monument

Thanks go to all of the speakers, hike leaders, volunteer workers, and sponsors who contributed to the success of this event.

MONTHLY VOLUNTEER WORK DAYS – First 2 Wednesdays Each Month

IFNM Volunteer work days are planned through April 2016 on the 1st and 2nd Wednesday’s of each month. In these projects we assist the BLM in varied tasks such as restoration, trail improvement, and sign installation.

As an example of these projects, On January 20, the Friends had seven volunteers along with 3 BLM staffers show up early on a clean-up project. We were able to enjoy a sweep of about 400 acres of the desert and hills just North of Silverbell Road, near Ragged Top, scouting for any loose manmade trash. In the process we enjoyed the wonderful scenery and got a bit of exercise. Here are some Friends enjoying the day:

Volunteer

In order to participate in these or other BLM work projects, you need to have a FY 2016 “Volunteer Service Agreement – Natural & Cultural Resources” Form completed and on file with BLM prior to the work day. To print the Form and to view the mailing instructions, click on this link: http://ironwoodforest.org/?attachment_id=1251 . For additional details, to sign up, and to get on the mailing list for future announcements of these projects, please contact Gary Borax at [email protected]

BEAT BACK BUFFELGRASS DAY – Feb. 20, 2016

Buffelgrass is a major, continuing threat to the native plants of the Sonoran desert. On Feb. 20, 2016 we will spray an infestation of about 10 acres on Avra Hill, and will also record the geographic locations of other infestations within the Monument. The date of our event is about a month later than the date (Jan. 23), when BBBD was held at many other sites. Our choice of the later date is to allow the BG to become greener and more susceptible to spraying. The Friends will provide snacks and lunch.

For more information and to register for this event, click on www.buffelgrass.org. Note that the location shown on that website is the meeting place for carpooling, Marana Northwest Regional Airport, and is not the location of Avra Hill.

MARANA FOUNDERS DAY – Saturday, March 5, 2016

On March 5, 2016 come by to visit the Friends’ booth at Marana’s 38th annual Founders Day Festival, sponsored by the Marana Heritage Conservancy. The festival will be at Ora Mae Harn park, starting at 9:00 am, and will include a parade, exhibits, food, and entertainment. Among other things, the mission of the Marana Heritage Conservancy is to discover and preserve cultural and natural treasures. Our booth will help to acquaint local citizens with the Monument, which, due to its proximity, might now be considered one of Marana’s natural treasures.

For more information see the Marana Heritage Conservancy’s website at:
http://www.maranaheritage.org/events.html
The website also has an interesting video, “Surprising Marana Tour”, of historical and prehistorical sites, as well as photos from the time that Pinal Air Park was a WW II Army Air Corps primary flight training base.

HIKE THE MONUMENT – Saturday, March 12, 2016

Join us on one of three hikes on Saturday, March 12th, to get out and explore this national treasure in our back yard.

1. Walcott Saddle Adventure Hike – moderate to difficult.

2. Waterman Mountains Elephant Trees botanical hike – moderate/steep.

3. Nature hike at base of Ragged Top – easy terrain / family oriented.

Please read through the hike descriptions below to see which hike best fits your ability. Then sign up using the link below. The number of participants of each hike is limited, sign up early!
Please specify which hike you would like to sign up for, the number of people you are bringing, and whether or not you have a high-clearance vehicle and are willing to drive to the hike starting point.
Please remember to dress in layers, appropriate for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, hat, and sunscreen, bring water, snacks, lunch, and your camera. There are no restrooms or other facilities. Roads are not maintained.

All hikes will meet up at the Marana Airport on Avra Valley Road at 8:00 am on Saturday, March 12th. We expect to be done hiking no later than 2 pm and to return to the airport by 3 pm. The Marana Airport is located 5 miles West of I-10 and the Avra Valley Road exit.

1. Hike to Walcott Saddle and circumnavigate Walcott Peak (by Ragged Top) Adventure Hike – moderate to difficult – cross country/no trail with loose and uneven footing – 3+ miles with a 600′ accumulated elevation gain. High clearance vehicles recommended. Hike leaders are Gary Borax and Jim Phillips.
When you look at Ragged Top from the east, the Peak immediately south of Ragged Top is Walcott Peak and it’s connected to Ragged Top via Walcott Saddle. The BLM requests that hikers refrain from hiking above Walcott Saddle and summiting Ragged Top from January 1 through April 30 during the Bighorn Sheep lambing season.
On this hike we will hike up to Walcott Saddle from the base of Ragged Top. We will continue on down from the Saddle as we circle Walcott Peak. On this trek you will see that Walcott Peak is surrounded via a series of smaller lower peaks. Last year on this hike we had several Big Horn sheep and lambs make an appearance!

2. Waterman Mountains Elephant Trees – This hike covers about 3.5 miles round trip, walking on loose rocks in steep terrain. Accumulated elevation gain is about 650 ft. High-clearance vehicles are required.
Drew Milsom (U of A) is leading this hike accompanied by Jim Avramis (Friends of Ironwood Forest). Moderate to slightly difficult hike following old steep mining road in the Waterman Mountains to find E.T. (Elephant Trees) and other botanical fun.
There are lots of great plants to discuss along the way, as well as opportunities to view the unique geology of the mountains.

3. Nature Hike at base of Ragged Top – with Ries Lindley – Easy paced 3 mile (or so) hike along the norther bajada of Ragged Top.
Join Ries, a fabulous naturalist and botanist for this easy paced hike while exploring the wonders of the Ironwood Forest. Botanical discussions will be featured as part of this family-oriented nature hike.
To sign up for any of these hikes – simply send an email message to [email protected] or call and leave a message at 520-628-2092.

Worth repeating:
Please specify which hike you would like to sign up for, the number of people you are bringing, and whether or not you have a high-clearance vehicle and are willing to drive to the hike starting point.
All hikes will meet up at the Marana Airport on Avra Valley Road at 8:00 am on Saturday, March 12th. We expect to be done hiking no later than 2 pm and to return to the airport by 3 pm. The Marana Airport is located 5 miles West of I-10 and Avra Valley Road exit.
Please remember to dress in layers, appropriate for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, hat, and sunscreen, bring water, snacks, lunch, and your camera. There are no restrooms or other facilities. Roads are not maintained.

 

New Book available about Ironwood Forest National Monument

book promotion flyer v2 final

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new book about the Ironwood Forest National Monumentand the Sonoran Desert.  Dr. Royce Ballinger, former Board of Directors member for the Friends of Ironwood Forest, retired professor of herpetology at the University of Nebraska, and resident of Marana, has put together the definitive introduction to the natural history of the Ironwood Forest. In addition to being a good read, the book features the stunning photography of Young Cage.

This book is self published locally and can be purchased through Rusty Lizard Press P.O. Box 68058, Oro Valley, AZ 85737. $35 (check or money order); plus shipping and handling ($5 priority mail anywhere in U.S.; we only ship priority). Inquiries at [email protected].

 

“…a wonderful introduction to…geography, plants, animals…scientifically accurate but…easy to read…will make you want to visit in person…”

Dr. Mark Dimmitt, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum naturalist retired and lead scientist for initial biological survey of IFNM

book promotion flyer v2 final