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Public-private partnerships restore remote forests in southeastern Arizona

      NEWS  RELEASE:         For Immediate ReleaseOctober 20, 2015        

      Public-private partnerships restore remote forests in southeastern Arizona


Contact:               Barbara Hawke, Arizona Wilderness Coalition Executive Director, 970-596-6697

                                Heidi Schewel, Coronado National Forest, Public Affairs Officer, 520-237-4860


Tucson, Arizona – Local and national organizations have joined forces to restore remote backcountry areas on Coronado National Forest lands in southeastern Arizona. The restoration projects will engage community volunteers and students to repair trails and visitor amenities in the Chiricahua Mountains, Galiuro Mountains and Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains. Some of the areas were adversely  affected by recent wildfires and subsequent monsoons.  Work is needed to restore them more closely to pre-fire (related to potential hazards) and flood conditions.

A recent grant from the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) of Cochise to the Arizona Wilderness Coalition (AWC) will enable work on restoration projects on multiple public trails. This public-private partnership will leverage the Arizona Wilderness Coalition’s expertise in volunteer organization to complete high-priority projects identified by Coronado National Forest

The grant from ACF of Cochise releases nearly $20,000 in matching funds from private foundations and volunteer services in the Sky Islands region including the National Forest Foundation and Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. Additional nonprofit partners contributing volunteer services include the Arizona Trail Association and Climbing Association of Southern Arizona.

As communities become increasingly involved with public lands that are important to them, opportunities arise enabling collaboration and cooperation among interested parties to work together to achieve common goals related to management of those lands. Partnerships between government agencies, nonprofits and community members are consequently essential to maintain public backcountry areas for the benefit of local residents, tourists and healthy ecosystems.

The public lands to be restored are rich in ecological values and human history. Many globally rare species make their homes in these mountain ranges, while human visitors can enjoy an array of recreation activities while learning more about the cultures of Native Americans, Mexican-Americans and European-American settlers. The volunteer stewardship projects will reach out to diverse segments of the public, including local community members, students from the Hayden-Winkelman school district, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.  

The Coronado National Forest encompasses about 1.8 million acres of federally protected forestlands spread throughout 12 “sky island” mountain ranges of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. The Forest touches Cochise, Graham Santa Cruz, Pinal and Pima counties in Arizona as well as Hidalgo County in New MexicoThe Forest includes transition zones between several geographic areas, resulting in a high level of biodiversity.  Transitions between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, and the southern Rocky Mountains and northern Sierra Madre provide habitat for plant and animal species found in each.

Arizona Wilderness Coalition aims to preserve and restore wilderness areas across the state of Arizona. Working with agency partners and some 300 volunteers, AWC is conducting twenty restoration projects on public lands over the coming year, engaging students, veterans, and individuals of all backgrounds to enjoy and preserve Arizona’s great outdoor resources.

 Established in 1998, the Arizona Community Foundation of Cochise is a permanent philanthropic endowment for the enduring benefit of southeast Arizona. In 2015, ACF of Cochise awarded more than $58,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations with the guidance of a local Board of Advisors composed of leaders from Cochise-area communities. As one of six affiliates of the Arizona Community Foundation, ACF of Cochise is invested in supporting projects and programs that preserve the environment and promote sustainability, which represents a core component of its philanthropic agenda.

The Arizona Wilderness Coalition works to protect and restore wilderness and other wild lands and waters for the enjoyment of all citizens and to ensure that Arizona’s native plants and animals have a lasting home in wild nature. Learn more at www.azwild.org .


The USDA Forest Service is an equal opportunity provider and employer