Walnut Canyon Study Area – final report now out! Public Meeting Mon., Feb. 3
In 2009, Congress mandated a study of 30,000 acres without paved roads surrounding Walnut Canyon National Monument, to determine if there is a “designation or management option that would provide for (i) protection of resources within the study area; and (ii) continued access to, and use of, the study area by the public.”
See the final Walnut Canyon Study here.
There will be a public presentation of the Study, with opportunity for public comment, on Monday, Feb. 3, at 4pm at the Flagstaff Council Chambers, 211 W. Aspen Ave. in Flagstaff.
Tell your elected officials how important it is that the entire Study Area be protected from land trades and development forever with a special land desigation!
The Walnut Canyon Study Area includes a Globally Recognized Audubon Important Bird Area; Coconino National Forest Recognized Important Water; Arizona Game and Fish-designated Sustainable Wildlife Corridors; City of Flagstaff “Priority Open Land;” part of the Arizona Trail; prehistoric and historic artifacts; old growth forests; and opportunities for quiet solitude. There are popular spots for climbing, hiking, camping, biking, birding, hunting, and biking, including the Arizona Trail, Flagstaff Urban Trail System, Cherry Canyon, “the Pit” climbing area, Campbell Mesa Trail System, the floors of Walnut Canyon and Sandy Canyon, narrows in Skunk Canyon, Anderson Mesa grasslands, and the area northeast of Walnut Canyon National Monument.
While the study has been ongoing, a shooting range has now opened 0.25 miles from its eastern boundary and 4,500 new homes are planned along its west side, demonstrating the need to protect these special lands. Additional threats have come in the last two decades: Forest Service lands adjacent to the boundary were traded to the City of Flagstaff several years ago, and locals fought a proposed highway bypass through the beautiful and locally-loved Fisher Point. Motor vehicle trespass has increased in an area once signed as “Walnut Canyon Conservation Area” and on roads once signed as “Closed to Motor Vehicles.” Yet the majority of the 30,000 acres remain quiet, litter-free, sparsely visited, and dense with wildlife.
The final Walnut Canyon Study has now been released. It is available here. Please help us convey love and concern for this incredible place by contacting your elected officials today.
- Large core habitats and wild places are becoming increasingly rare.
- It is easier to protect a place such as this than to piece it back together after fragmentation by land trades and destructive uses.
- You value quiet recreation and have respect for the wildlife that relies on these lands for refuge from roads and noise.
- These lands should be protected from land trades.
- Visitation should be kept to manageable levels.
- Conservation should come first. This area should be designated as a National Conservation Area or Wildlife Preserve, not a National Recreation Area.
Map of Audubon Important Bird Area
Map of Arizona Game & Fish Department Sustainable Wildlife Corridors
City of Flagstaff Priority Open Lands language (on page 10)