Friends of the Desert
E-news Issue #25
October 25, 2004
* A project of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection in Pima County, Arizona *
In This Issue:
· SPECIAL FEATURE–Tucson Man Hikes AZ Trail to Benefit Sonoran Desert Protection
Tucson Man Hikes 790-Mile Arizona Trail to Benefit Sonoran Desert Protection
On September 21, 2004, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection volunteer Jason Reinert embarked on his 790-mile solo backcountry hike down the Arizona Trail that stretches from the Arizona-Utah border over mountains, grasslands, valleys, and eventually, to the Sonoran Desert and the Arizona-Mexico Border.
Jason is hiking in honor of wild nature, those that have traveled the Arizona Trail before him, and in honor of our organization’s efforts to defend and protect the Sonoran Desert. Jason asked that we use his hike as a way to raise awareness and money to fund the Coalition’s programs, and together, we have set a goal of raising at least $5,000 to support the Coalition’s outreach and advocacy work.
Jason’s journey started on time, and he originally anticipated it would take almost two months for him to complete the hike. Initially, things went smoothly from the Utah border as he headed south through the Grand Canyon. But north of Flagstaff Jason lost the trail, which is still unfinished in this section. He met up with the nearest road and hitched a ride to Flagstaff. But because he wanted to truly hike every step of the trail, he hiked north to be able to reconnect with the trail and doubled back to continue his journey south.
He’s upbeat about his trip, even though he’s a couple of days behind his original schedule, and now, thanks to a special delivery, is traveling with his dog Roanoke, who he found in southwestern Virginia while hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2000. Roanoke was staying with friends in Tucson but repeatedly attempted to escape; it seems Roanoke knew what she was missing and is now a part of the journey down the Arizona Trail! Jason is keeping the Coalition up to date about his adventures with trail journals (see excerpt below), which we are posting with other information about Jason on our website at http://www.sonorandesert.org.
So far, we’ve already raised nearly $1,000 from Jason’s hike. But we need your help to make our $5,000 goal. Please join us in honoring Jason’s efforts to raise awareness about our precious and fragile desert with a gift or pledge. Your support will help fund the Coalition’s work to protect the saguaro-studded hillsides, the beautiful birds and other wildlife, the lush and precious riparian areas – all the things that make the Sonoran Desert special and a place we all want to protect. Pledge and gift forms can be found on our website.
Join us for a Sonoran Desert welcome for Jason!
We will be organizing an event for Jason when he reaches the Catalina – Rincon mountains area-anticipated to be in mid-November. Due to the variability that inevitably comes with backpacking, the date and place will be announced when Jason is a little closer to Tucson. Be sure to keep your eyes open for future updates so you can join in for a short hike and some time around a campfire with Jason and Coalition staff before he finishes his journey to the Arizona-Mexico border.
In the meantime, the Coalition sends a HUGE thanks to Jason, and to all of you, for supporting our work!
Excerpt from Jason Reinert’s Arizona Trail Journal:
Friday, September 24, 2004 (Day 3)
Starting Point: Orderville Canyon
Destination: 2 miles south of US Hwy 89A
Another cold morning. I woke up early, but stayed in my sleeping bag until the sun rose over the canyon. Packed up quick this morning. No coffee today, I was running low on water. I had eight miles to hike until the trail reaches Hwy 89A. From there it was a four-mile round trip hike to Jacob Lake where I would get water. The trail to Hwy 89A was hilly. Not like the gentle flat trail the day before. The AZT (Arizona Trail) remained in the forest all day. I love walking past the towering Douglas Firs. Oh, and the scent was better than any Air Freshener. It was another warm day. The past three days have been sunshine and blue skies. Once at Hwy 89A I walked across the busy road to the parking area with a pit toilet (hey! where is the toilet paper!) I emptied my pack and hid the contents inside, leaving only my water bottles and garbage. I then headed west on 89A to Jacob Lake. I felt powerless as I walked along the speeding traffic. One car almost hit me trying to pass three R.V.’s. I made it in one piece to Jacob Lake. I filled up my water bottle (I was down to one sip) then purchased a coffee and a blackberry shake. I will think about that shake the rest of the hike. Wow! What a tasty shake. The walk back to the trailhead was fast. It must have been that ice cream boost. Back on the trail I hiked two more miles until I found this campsite. I built a fire this evening. It was nice to be warm while eating dinner. The moon is very bright tonight. Moonbeams are dancing off the trees. I can’t wait for what I see tomorrow.
Highlight of the day: Blackberry shake
Pima County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) Committee
The Coalition continues to be very involved in the development of the details of the final Habitat Conservation Plan, anticipated to be completed by September 2005. Coalition members have been appointed to the 13-member Drafting and Implementation Committee. As in most similar processes, much of the work is being done by subcommittee. This includes research on funding options for future acquisitions as well as management and monitoring, conservation easement language, special species’ needs, length of the Plan and associated permit, ordinance revisions, and treatment of State Trust lands, among others. Details about the Coalition’s recommendations on these issues and opportunities for public input will be shared as they are developed.
Conservation Acquisition Commission (CAC)
Pima County’s Conservation Acquisition Commission (CAC) was formed to oversee the recent voter-approved Open Space Bond program. As a result of the committee’s recommendations, Pima County has made several purchases with the bond money. From the Community Open Space funds, Sweetwater Preserve was purchased (695 acres in the Tucson Mountains); from Jurisdictional Open Space funds, A-7 (Bellota) Ranch (6,800 acres) and Jacobs Trust (80 acres in the 36th Street Corridor). Also, from the Habitat Protection Priorities identified in the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, the Baker Property (155 acres in the Southeast Corridor) was purchased, and both the CAC and the Board of Supervisors are working toward the acquisition of property in Davidson Canyon-identified under the SDCP as some of the highest quality habitat for the spring that lies within the property boundary and its importance as a critical wildlife corridor. Sky Island Alliance’s Trevor Hare is a member of the CAC, and the Coalition is attending the meetings in order to give recommendations on the purchases and management of open space that are consistent with the goals of the SDCP.
For meeting schedules and agendas for these committees, please go to www.co.pima.az.us/cmo/sdcp/events.html or call the Pima County Administrator’s Office at 740-8660.
Update on Marana’s HCP
The Town of Marana has been working with consultants, biologists, and stakeholders from the community, including the Coalition, to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan. In addition to the pygmy-owl, other species proposed for coverage and protection are the burrowing owl, the Tucson shovel-nosed snake, and the ground snake.
There was a study session regarding the progress of the plan to the Town Council on October 12, and at the October 19 Town Council meeting, staff presented the Council with a preliminary draft Habitat Conservation Plan. The Council voted unanimously to continue moving ahead with the Habitat Conservation Plan.
The Coalition supports the concepts contained in Marana’s proposal, but has concerns about many aspects and recommended revisions to give greater on-the-ground protection and be consistent with the goals of the Endangered Species Act (see http://www.sonorandesert.org for the Coalition’s recent comments to Marana.) We look forward to reading the most recent draft and will continue to work with the Town and notify the public of opportunities for input to establish meaningful conservation in Marana.
IFNM Manager Change
There has been an important change regarding the Ironwood Forest National Monument. Tony Herrell, the Bureau of Land Management’s Monument Manager for the IFNM, has been granted his transfer request to Carlsbad, NM. Tony has done an outstanding job working with the public on IFNM issues and was a true asset to the local BLM office. The Interim Manager is Darrell Tersey of the Tucson Field Office. A permanent replacement has yet to be announced, but we will keep you informed as more details are available.
Event Announcement: Wildlife Water Development Conference, Nov. 3-4
If you are interested in wildlife water developments and how they affect public lands and wildlife, then you won’t want to miss this important FREE event!
Wildlife Water Development Workshop: A Review of the Science, Policy & Human Dimensions
November 3-4, 2004, Arizona State University, College of Law, Tempe, Arizona
This workshop will bring together resource managers from federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, diverse interest groups, and the general public to discuss the issue of wildlife water developments in the Southwest desert in order to share various perspectives regarding their benefit to wildlife.
In addition to panels and presentations, the agencies are hosting a public forum to ask for opinions and concerns. Organizers see this as a major meeting and test of public opinion, and the results of these discussions will undoubtedly affect wilderness, public lands, and wildlife throughout the Southwest well into the future.
We urge you, as someone who is concerned about our water resources and wildlife, to attend, ask questions and voice your positions.
For more information, please visit www.law.asu.edu and click on "Law, Science, and Technology", or contact Arlene Tavison at (623) 580-5612 or by email at Arlene_Tavison@blm.gov
Just in Time for Fall — Long-Sleeved Coalition T-Shirts
The Coalition has a full stock of new long-sleeved, organic cotton T-shirts.
They are a cool sage color with our logo on the front and a beautiful picture of a mountain lion and words of wisdom from Thomas E. Lovejoy on the back: "The choice is not between wild places or people. Rather, it is between a rich or an impoverished existence for Man."
They are a comfortable and eye-catchin’ way to show that you care about our Sonoran Desert home and support the Coalition’s efforts to protect it!
Only $15.00, available in sizes M-XL; and we still have our natural short-sleeved T’s (same graphics, with a quote from Tucson’s own Chuck Bowden) for only $12.00.
Great for upcoming Holiday gifts!
Download our online order form at http://www.sonorandesert.org, or call the Coalition office at (520) 388-9925 to order yours today!
Please remember the environment when you vote on November 2.
Until next time!