The Coalition for Permanent Protection of
The National Forest in the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock Area
Our Core Values: Environmental Preservation; Integrity informed by Truth and Respect;
Excellence informed by Professionalism; Focused Commitment
April-May 2016 UPDATE
The Steering Committee of the Coalition for Permanent Protection of the National Forest of the Sedona Verde Valley Area (Coalition) is reaching out to a wide range of area stakeholders and citizens for more input and suggestions for a National Monument Proposal. This update is to inform you of changes made to the Proposal from input received and to invite you to support our efforts to be inclusive and thorough in crafting the final stages of this permanent protection plan. The challenges of our time tend to bring out the best in our local citizens and environmental organizations and we are eager to hear from you.
Input from governmental agencies, the Forest Service, Sedona City Council, the website, Facebook, and all of last year’s public meetings (held in various locations, including at Keep Sedona Beautiful) have all been considered, resulting in some significant changes to the National Monument proposal:
- Monument Size – The 80,000 Acres of the Wilderness Areas have been taken out as they already have a higher level of protection than a National Monument designation can provide; the new proposed size of the designation area is now just approximately 80,000 Acres. (see map)
- Support – Our grass roots citizens’ support keeps growing; as of this date, we have surpassed our initial target of 10,000 petition signatures of support, most of them in the state of AZ. Our new goal is 15,000 signatures. If you haven’t signed our petition yet, we invite you to do so: redrocknationalmonument.org/petition-show-your-support/
- Clarification of outlawing the exchange or sale of Forest land of the Monument. The proposal now includes mention that the Townsite Act remains in effect. The Townsite Act* allows the sale of Monument lands for townsite purposes to counties, cities or other local governmental subdivisions and is limited to the eleven contiguous western states.
- Majority of the AZ public wants the public lands protected. In the recent 2015 Colorado College poll, 65% of Arizonans support permanent protection of their public lands.
- Sedona Community Plan – The 2014 Sedona Community Plan, voted on by the electorate, called permanent protection of the Forest one of its highest priorities.
- A new Sedona-Verde Valley environmental 501(c)3 organization , called Save Our Ancient RedRocks (SOAR) is the Coalition’s lead fiduciary non-profit organization.
SOAR supports the Coalition’s mission to:
– permanently protect the world-famous, antiquity-rich National Forest lands of the Red Rock Ranger District’s National Monument, now the most visited Forest District in the USA.
– strive to ensure that the proposed Monument values will be protected by the Monument’s eventual Resource Management Plan (RMP) and be consistent with current Forest Values as well as the Yavapai Community Plan adopted in 2012 and the 2014 Sedona Community Plan (passed by 68% of Sedona citizens). Of particular importance is this statement from the Sedona Community Plan: “Based on water supply and population estimates, demand will exceed the supply of water in the Verde Watershed by 2050” and these goals: “Preserve & protect the natural Environment; ensure a sufficient supply of quality water for the future; and Protect Oak Creek and its riparian habitat.”
- A Monument designation will:
-permanently protect the designated Forest area from future land trades, commercial development and mining operations that would threaten the Forest’s natural resources, watersheds and scenic vistas,
-offer a high profile opportunity for project grants to assist the Forest Service in protecting antiquities and the Forest’s current & future heavy usage;
-grant all access, permits, rights and recreation currently enjoyed in the Forest, with then as now, USFS regulations needed to protect its environmental conditions.
- Knowing how important it is to save the Forest’s watershed & riparian areas with permanent protection, we have support from the leading Sedona-Verde Valley watershed and land preservation organizations:
– Gardens for Humanity
– Keep Sedona Beautiful
– Northern Arizona Audubon Society
– Sierra Club, Grand Canyon chapter
– Verde Valley Land Preservation
– Friends of Verde River Greenway
– Verde River Basin Partnership
– check our website FAQ : redrocknationalmonument.org/frequently-asked-questions/ and contact us at : redrocknationalmonument.org/contact-us/
- Help us save this extraordinary ancient Forest-land before it’s too late.
The Native Americans who once resided here regarded the Forest as a sacred place; it still is:
“Greed springs eternal, but land can die. Water can go away. Our work is to hand the next generation a torch still radiant with life, rich in possibilities. That work is not political. That work is sacred.”
Carl Safina, author & ecologist
*Townsite Act text: Act – 36 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 254.20 Purpose and scope:
(a) A Forest Service official may, upon application, set aside and designate for townsite purposes up to 640 acres of National Forest System lands adjacent to or contiguous to an established community in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
(b) National Forest System lands, needed by a community, may be sold under the Townsite Act, for fair market value if those lands would serve indigenous community objectives that outweigh the public objectives and values of retaining the lands in Federal ownership. Indigenous community objectives may include space for housing and for service industries, expansion of existing economic enterprises, new industries utilizing local resources and skills, public schools, public health facilities, community parks, and other recreation areas for local citizens, but would exclude such uses as commercial enterprises or new industries and housing projects that would change the character of the local community.