It is time to protect the scenic Sky Islands of Cochise County
The Whetstones, Dragoons, Chiricahuas & the other forested mountain ranges of the Sky Islands, rising up out of desert & grassland valleys, form one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world.
This region between northwestern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest blends temperate & tropical biological zones that harbor more than 4,000 species of plants, 100 mammal species & more than half the bird species of North America. In addition, the Land of Legends is steeped in the rich history that gave birth to the state of Arizona. These ranges also offer priceless scenic beauty & unrivaled outdoor recreation opportunties within Cochise County.
Our Heritage at Risk. We are often asked; "Are these areas really threatened?" Sadly, the answer is yes. Right now, roadless lands on Coronado National Forest are off limits to roadbuilding & development under current Forest Service rules. However these temporary administrative safeguards are subject to change under each new President, and right now they are being threatened in Congress. Every year large industrial developers try to pass extreme legislation that would rollback current Forest Service safeguards and open these sensitive public lands to industrial development, roadbuilding & inappropriate off-road vehicle use once more.
Interim Administrative Protections “Lands with Wilderness Character” are areas that are not currently under heavy use and retain wilderness qualities meeting the standards of the Wilderness Act of 1964. Placing these areas under an administrative protection will prevent further degradation to these cherished landscapes while we work with the community to develop a local conservation plan. We believe that federal lands should be given the appropriate designation that allows the use and enjoyment of the general public while protecting appropriate lands for nature and the stewardship of future generations. By placing these “wilderness quality” lands under the administrative protection, it allows dialogue to occur around conservation planning without the fear of losing the natural character in the interim. Thankfully in Cochise County a good inventory of “wilderness quality” lands exists & can be relied upon to protect areas that deserve this designation with limited impairment to recreation including, hunting, rock climbing, off-highway vehicle riding & mountain biking.
A Community Solution for Permanent Protection.
The threats listed above underscore the urgent need for a community solution to permanently protect the wild and historic character of these Lands of Legends in Cochise County - for today, and for generations to come.
We are launching a community conversation about how we can best protect these natural treasures for our future. Join us!