News

Meet the Monument 2020, March 21

Regretfully, our board has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Meet the Monument.  We will not hold this event this season.

While monitoring the progress of the COVID19 concerns here locally, a number of factors came into play. Ultimately, the safety of our participants, volunteers, and visiting guests has to be our main priority.  We also acknowledged the awkward position posed to our participants of balancing personal and family health with contributing the time, effort, and expertise to the Friends of Ironwood Forest’s signature annual event.

Once again, The Friends are extremely grateful for your willingness to support events like Meet the Monument – we look forward to a happier scenario next year, and hope that you can participate then.

The Friends of Ironwood Forest

Meet the Monument 2020 will be held this year on Saturday, March 21. This is the Friends of Ironwood Forest’s big annual event held on the monument at the base of iconic Ragged Top. It’s a celebration along with our partners, the Bureau of Land Management, of the ecosystem and community that benefits from National Monument status. This year is its 20th anniversary. View the flyer here.

Meet the Monument offers a variety of experiences like walkabouts by local experts discussing flora, fauna, and geology; three main speaker presentations under our shady canopy, and a variety of informal exhibits to inform on a broad range of subjects pertaining to the Ironwood Forest.

Hundreds of past attendees will tell you that it’s well worth the drive to attend. We hope to see you this year!

Read the bios of our main speakers here.

See the list of presenters here.

View map and directions here.

 

 

 

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

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

Like Friends of Ironwood Forest on Facebook.

 

 

 

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 …

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.