Feds buy land to open up access to 2 Arizona forest areas

Home Feds buy land to open up access to 2 Arizona forest areas

October 11, 2017

Wilderness advocates and hunters alike both rejoiced over a deal that was announced last week by the Interior Department. This widely-praised announcement called to allow public access onto 32,600 acres of what was once isolated forest.

Speaking on this landmark deal, the Arizona Director for the Wilderness Society, Mike Quigley, stated that the organization is, “Very much about having people enjoy the public lands.”

These 32,600 acres inhabit two parcels of private land recently purchased by the Interior Department. One of these parcels consists of the Coronado National Forest. Whereas, the second parcel is forest land in a location northwest of Stafford.

Shedding further light on what to expect from these newly opened areas, Mr. Quigley spoke about the now-accessible parcels located within the Santa Teresa Mountains. The Director boasted that these sites offered, “Some of the most pristine backcountry experiences” in the United States.

Originally, this area was not available to the public because the forest itself was surrounded by private property. In order for everything to come together, the Bureau of Land Management worked diligently with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, as well as the Trust for Public Land, and the South Eastern Arizona Sportsmen Club.

Planning went on for years, until a deal finally came together earlier this year. A 600-acre ranch that bordered the forest land became available for purchase back in January. The Trust for Public Land bought the land.

Months afterward, the Sportsmen Club and Arizona Game and Fish Department got an easement to create a primitive road with spots for parking and camping in the area. 

With everyone already beginning to work together, the Bureau of Land Management bought the parcel using funds from the federal Land Water Conservation Fund. This fund comes from oil and gas leases on federal land. Using money in this manner is seen as a way to use the fund to re-invest back into the natural resources that oil and gas drains.  

Project Manager, Michael Patrick summed up the project by stating, “Bottom line, a lot of people – both blue and red – especially sportsmen, would like to get to their public lands.”

 

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