A Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument (Monument) will help preserve this area’s uniquely rich beauty while protecting for future generations our American Southwestern prehistory. The wealth of archaeological treasures found in this area of the Coconino National Forest is among the most treasured nationwide and reveal the daily lives of those who populated the region 14,000 years ago. Once priceless artifacts are lost, a significant part of the ancients’ history will end. What once was a source of documentable knowledge will become informed speculation about our own history.
Incredibly, no permanent protections are in place for this incomparable national treasure.
Millions of people each year hike and bike trails into relic-rich areas vulnerable to theft, desecration, destruction. Monument status will afford the Forest access to grants and additional monies that are made available to “designated areas of national interest and treasure.” These grants will also help in managing and maintaining our massive network of trails because even with the help of hundreds of community volunteers, the challenge is relentless and permanent.
Additionally, most of the Monument lies within the Oak Creek Watershed which is a sub-watershed of the Verde River Watershed. The entire watershed is at longterm risk from groundwater overdraft as documented in the recent Sedona Community Plan. In 2006 American Rivers listed the Verde River, which lies within a few miles of the Monument, as one of America’s most endangered rivers. The Monument will benefit the watershed by permanently protecting this Forest land from development so aquifers and springs can be recharged, riparian habitat can be saved, and an important source of this area’s water can be preserved.
Beyond its storied, ancient history, the proposed Monument area is recognized around the world as one of the most beautiful places on earth. The stunning natural assets that drew the ancients are still at work today. Here people find spiritual solace, inspiration, and a living, unequaled beauty that touches the heart, mind and soul. National Monument status will ensure this Southwestern gem will endure intact and unspoiled for our children and for generations to come.
To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from. – Terry Tempest Williams, Testimony Before the Senate Subcommittee on Forest and Public Lands Management Regarding the Utah Public Lands Management Act of 1995, July 13, 1995.