1987: Coconino National Forest Plan Land Management finalized.  “At the time few people foresaw the immense impact human activities would have on forest lands especially in the Sedona region, nor did they anticipate increased population and changes in tourism.” From Amendment 12 Decision Notice June 6, 1998.
1988: Keep Sedona Beautiful organization initiates community discussion concerning special designation for Coconino National Forest lands in the Sedona/Verde Valley region.
  Early 1990’s “Prior to the start of Amendment 12 planning process, we were aware of general public support for additional protection and guidance for the Sedona/Oak Creek Ecosystem. Initially we heard from some people that we should consider special designation for the red rock country. For the past two decades various citizens, organizations and local governments have discussed the possibility of seeking a special status, such as a National Scenic Area, or similar Congressional special designation.” From Amendment 12 Decision Notice June 6, 1998.
1990-92: Interagency Working Group Team of 1990-92 formed.
1993: Much of the community favored a special designation. The Coconino and Yavapai Boards of Supervisors and the Sedona City Council had all unanimously signed resolutions encouraging more detailed planning for and Congressional special designation of the National Forest lands in the Sedona area. Keep Sedona Beautiful procured over 5,000 petition signatures requesting a special designation.” From Amendment 12 Decision Notice June 2, 1998.
1994: The 10th Sedona Forum suggested a blueprint for improved interaction among residents, visitors and the Forest Service to protect the unique values of the planning area.
1995: Sedona/Oak Creek planning area study to determine what changes are needed to improve the management of National Forest lands. The Forest Service worked hand in hand with local citizens and other agencies to develop specific management policies and actions to lead from current conditions to a shared vision.
1995: Three public workshops kicked off the formal public involvement process for the Forest Plan Amendment. Amendment 12 Decision Notice page 35.
1998:

Amendment 12 to 1987 Coconino National Forest Land Management Plan adopted.

 

“One of the concerns that continues to be expressed is how will the Forest Service be able to actually fund implementation of the Amendment in a timely and complete manner. Some members of the public feel that special designation will do this. Amendment 12 Decision Notice June 24, 1998, page 31

 

Red Rock District Ranger Ken Anderson, as part of the Amendment 12 Decision Notice, writes a letter to “Dear Friends of Red Rock Country” which states: “Based upon the comments from you over the last few years, the following are the items that rank highest priority for our initial implementation efforts on the Sedona District.”

  “Consider a special designation for the area” was one of the five priorities. Amendment 12 Decision Notice, June 6, 1998.
  In the Amendment 12 Decision Notice Acting Forest Supervisor states: “I believe that a special designation could respond to some of the issues, concerns and recommendations of the Interagency Working Group Team  of 1990-92, the Sedona Forum X and public involvement in  current 1995-98 Sedona/Oak Creek Ecosystem planning effort. However, any special designation must have grass-roots support and leadership.” Amendment 12 Decision Notice, June 6, 1998, Page 32.
2003 Sedona City Council issues resolution in support of National Scenic Area. November 2003.
1998-2005: Formed by KSB, its Land Preservation Task Force in cooperation with the Coconino National Forest, and Trust for Public Lands, purchased the following properties from willing sellers.
 
  • 1998- Thompson Original Homestead – 15.5 acres
  • 1999- Cleeves Property – 110 acres near Honanki Ruin and Red Cliffs scenic area
  • 2000- Woo Ranch – 160 acres in area of Palatki Ruin.  Site has extensive archeological features
  • 2000- Smymis Property – 25 acres in vicinity of Honanki Ruin and Red Cliffs scenic area
  • 2001- Bradshaw Ranch – 90 acres near Red Canyon, previously used as location for many Western films
  • 2004- Hancock Ranch – 88 acres, was residence of pioneer rancher Mary Hancock
  • 2005- Thomas Point- 25 acres of historic land in Oak Creek Canyon

Properties were transferred to Coconino National Forest to further protect the ecosystems of the Sedona/Oak Creek area, archaeological sites, scenic vistas and historic homesteads.

2005: January 11- Sedona City Council issues resolution in support of National Scenic Area Designation,
  May 17- National Scenic Area supported by Yavapai County, Coconino County and Big Park Regional Coordinating Council
2010: March 11 – Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick introduces HR 4823 in United States House of Representatives
  May 25 – Sedona City Council issues resolution in support of National Scenic Area Designation
  June 10 – U.S. House Natural Resources Committee overwhelmingly passes H.R. 4823
  Testimony of National Forest Service Deputy Chief Holtrop, during a Congressional House Natural Resource Committee on June 10, 2010 for H.R. 4823 stated: “The Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area would designate 160,000 acres of the Coconino National Forest as a National Scenic Area. The spectacular scenery of the area draws millions annually and the proposal has broad support from the community which has worked on the special designation proposal since January 1999. The Bill limits land exchanges that dispose of National Forest System land within the National Scenic Area. This designation would complement the work of local forest managers and community to balance services to support visitors and protection of important landscape.”
  “…this recommendation that we have is based on conversations with the district ranger, forest supervisor, regional forester and our own review of it.”
  “We are supportive.”
  HR 4823 held by House leadership
  September 23rd, HR 4823 was brought to a vote on House floor under a procedure called “suspension of the rules”. Votes under suspension require a 2/3rds majority to pass. The vote was 258 for and160 against with 14 not voting. Vote failed due to lack of 2/3 requirement but did have more than majority requirement under normal voting.
2010-2014: Sedona City Council approves Citizens Steering Committee to develop Sedona Community Plan Update.
 
  • Between November 2010 and November 2013 committee conducts over 70 public meetings for input into plan
  • October 3, 2013 Sedona Planning and Zoning Committee passes Community Plan by vote of 7-0
  • November 7, 2013 Sedona City Council passes Community Plan 7-0. Council had previously conducted 4 days of public meetings on plan.
  • March 11, 2014 residents vote to approve new Sedona Community Plan. Vote was 1530 in favor and 954 against.
 
  • Community Plan Vision Statement on Environmental Stewardship. “Sedona is known for practices that respect and protect the natural environment, and as the responsible caretaker of one of the world’s greatest treasures.” Under section “How It Will Happen” bullet point 2 states “National Forest lands will be preserved, protected and respected.”
  • Plan page 82 statement on forest lands states, “The preservation of natural open space in and around Sedona has been one of the highest community priorities since incorporation. Essentially half of the city is open space, with 49% of the land area designated National Forest. This public land comprises a large portion of our outstanding scenery, and provides a multitude of recreational opportunities. Balancing the protection of the natural environment and recreation activities is essential to the community’s quality of life and economy.”
  • Plan page 85 under Key Issues states, “Desire for permanent protection of the National Forest in and around the City.”
  • Plan page 86 under Open Space Policies item 7 states “Support Forest Service policies that ensure National Forest land in and around Sedona is permanently protected.”
  • Plan page 86 item 10 states: “Preserve natural open space, including areas with significant natural resource values, the riparian habitat of Oak Creek, and viewsheds such as ridgelines, scenic vistas, along highways, and gateways into the community.”
2013: Forest Service releases Draft Land and Resource Management Plan for the Coconino National Forest.
  Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick introduces HR 3704 in the 113th Congress: Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area Act of 2010. Bill not enacted because it was not heard in committee.
  Sedona City Council requests Keep Sedona Beautiful to organize effort to determine how best to permanently preserve Forest Service lands in the Greater Sedona Region.
2014: Sedona City Council establishes Citizens Engagement Committee to review priorities for 2015-2016. Besides 5 priorities the committee also recommended that seeking permanent protection for national forest lands be considered. March 21, 2014
  Sedona City Council sets priorities for 2015-2016. Included in priorities is permanent protection for Forest Service lands in Sedona area.
  Keep Sedona Beautiful initiates committee to investigate preservation of lands.
2015: Scenic Area Protection Committee invites community groups and elected officials to an informational meeting.

 

One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery. – Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water