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new monuments?

Discussion in 'Land Use' started by mudfanatic, Dec 2, 2000.

  1. mudfanatic

    mudfanatic 1/2 ton status

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    Location:
    Aloha, Oregon
    Tucson, Arizona Friday, 1 December 2000

    Proposed monument impresses Babbitt
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    GILA BEND - President Clinton has named four new national monuments in
    Arizona this year, and he may not be done yet.
    Less than two months before leaving office, his interior secretary
    inspected
    another Sonoran Desert candidate yesterday.
    Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt led an entourage onto a remote,
    pristine
    hilltop in the Sand Tank Mountains on the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force
    Range
    to see why a mix of environmentalists, Indians and government officials
    wants him to recommend that Clinton create the Sonoran Desert National
    Monument.
    Babbitt, a former Arizona governor, declined to commit himself
    immediately
    to saying he would recommend that Clinton designate another Arizona
    monument
    in his 51 days left in office.
    But he clearly was impressed with what he saw about 25 miles southeast
    of
    Gila Bend: a montage of stately saguaros, palo verde and mesquite trees,

    creosote bushes, cholla cacti and ocotillo plants dotting and
    overlooking a
    maze of similarly landscaped rocky, rugged rises and dipping valleys.
    Mountain ranges peeked through for 50 miles or more in every direction -
    all
    without hint of a utility line and closed off to cattle grazing, mining
    and
    other human-related activity.
    The proposed site could include a chunk of the gunnery range that is to
    be
    turned over to the federal Bureau of Land Management and three other
    pieces
    of land already designated as wilderness areas: the North and South
    Maricopa
    Mountains heading north toward Phoenix and the Table Top Mountains to
    the
    northeast.
    The proposed monument includes many cultural sites, from traces of
    villages
    and rock art created by the prehistoric Hohokam to trails left by
    stagecoaches, the Mormon Battalion and California-bound prospectors.
    "Everyone agrees this is exceptional habitat," Babbitt said about the
    proposed monument.


    http://www.azstarnet.com/star/today/001201editmonument.html

    Tucson, Arizona Friday, 1 December 2000

    Saving the desert
    The harsh and often forbidding desert near Gila Bend, which remains
    relatively free of human intrusions, is a landscape most Arizonans know
    only
    as a blur seen through the windshield as they drive to the beaches of
    San
    Diego. It is a hot, dry, prickly terrain more popular among rattlesnakes

    than human beings. However, it is also a mesmerizing region dotted with
    gnarled and fractured mountains where a different kind of solitude -
    different because of the presence of plants and animals not found
    elsewhere
    in the United States - can be found.
    Yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, along with
    representatives of a handful of conservation organizations, toured the
    area
    as a prelude to possibly recommending it for designation as Arizona's
    next
    national monument. Almost all of the land is already under the
    jurisdiction
    of the federal Bureau of Land Management.
    Vast, practically unpopulated, the area for many years was regarded as
    perfectly useless land. That was why the Defense Department years ago
    set
    aside a large chunk of it as the Barry M. Goldwater Range and used it
    for
    field training pilots, Marines and soldiers. Pilots had to train
    somewhere.
    For six decades, off and on, they bombed the desert into submission.
    Now,
    the Defense Department says, it no longer needs a 108,000-acre portion
    of
    the bombing range.
    Conservationists saw an opportunity in the land the military vacated.
    They
    put together a proposed national monument that includes the land
    withdrawn
    from military use with various parcels of contiguous BLM land north and
    south of Gila Bend along with one separate parcel, the Sentinel Plain,
    southwest of Gila Bend.
    Proponents want Babbitt to ask President Clinton to designate the area
    as
    the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The area is directly north of, but
    not
    connected to, 5,000 square miles of desert along the Arizona-Mexico
    border
    that is also being promoted for a Sonoran Desert National Park.
    Most of the land in the proposed national monument near Gila Bend -
    national
    monuments are smaller and less developed than national parks - is
    already
    federally protected. Giving the tract monument status makes it possible
    to
    seal it off to mining, livestock grazing and off-road vehicle use.
    Some may argue that an area that has been bombed and strafed so much is
    hardly worth protection. However, strange as it seems, the military use
    of
    the region had some positive effects. The public, of necessity, had to
    be
    kept out of the areas where pilots and Marines were firing live
    ammunition.
    That excluded mines and cattle grazing. As a result, plants and animals
    were
    buffered against everything except occasional artillery fire, and
    evidently
    both flora and fauna continued to thrive over a period of six decades.
    Huge portions of the Sonoran Desert have already been gobbled up for
    urban
    development in Tucson and Phoenix. Other desert communities - entire
    mountains - have been eradicated by copper mining in Eastern Arizona.
    What
    will remain of the desert and the life systems it nourishes in 50 or 100

    years? Proponents of the new national monument summarized the issue well
    in
    a letter to Babbitt: "How many opportunities do we have to preserve and
    study such relics of the Sonoran Desert landscape -a region that is
    experiencing rapid growth and development?"
    There is every reason to believe that Babbitt, an Arizona native, a
    former
    governor, and a thoughtful conservationist, will urge the creation of
    the
    new national monument by presidential proclamation. But the clock is
    running
    down on the Clinton presidency. Babbitt and Clinton should act quickly
    to
    guarantee protection of this wild and valuable tract for future
    generations.

    <font color=red>get involved with land issues or lose the land</font color=red>
     

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