News

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 National Monuments

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!

Big news about bighorns. Read all about it.

Click below to read the article:

Two bighorns spotted in Saguaro Park

T-shirts on Sale

Get Your 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

 

Comprehensive Book About Ironwood Forest National Monument Available

book promotion flyer v2 finalA comprehensive book about the Ironwood Forest National Monument and the Sonoran Desert is available.  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

Friends on Arizona Illustrated

Friends of Ironwood Forest Executive Director, Lahsha Brown, was a guest on Arizona Public Media’s Arizona Illustrated show on February 17, 2014. She was one of three Friends group leaders featured in a discussion about the public lands our groups care for. The show also highlighted the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act taking place that year.