Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, March 07, 2011
Ironwood Monument will be 1st test of policy
A new policy from U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's office will make it easier for authorities to protect remote, primitive lands containing some wilderness qualities. The first place in Arizona that might get such protection is the Ironwood Forest National Monument, where many saguaros and ironwood trees have lived for hundreds of years about 25 miles northwest of Tucson. But unlike the Pusch Ridge and Mount Wrightson wildernesses north and south of Tucson, such lands in the Ironwood Monument won't be officially called "wilderness." They would be called "wild lands." Salazar's new policy tells the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to consider giving that moniker to areas with appropriate wilderness characteristics. They wouldn't get all the protections of wilderness areas set aside by Congress, where most motorized and some non-motorized vehicles are banned. But they would be eligible for more protection than they have now. Environmentalists in Arizona have identified more than 2 million acres of BLM lands that they believe should be eligible for protection under this policy. They include more than 35,000 acres in Ironwood Monument and more than 100,000 acres in the Sonoran Desert National Monument between Tucson and Phoenix. They want to remove off-road vehicles from as much of this land as possible on the grounds that the vehicles are too noisy and destructive. "This isn't about grabbing new wilderness areas,"said Matt Skroch, director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. "It's about protecting wilderness characteristics. It gives BLM management the flexibility to ensure that these areas have opportunities for solitude and non-motorized recreation. Ironwood Monument is where Salazar's new policy will get its first Arizona test, because it's enmeshed in a lengthy process to prepare a new management plan...more