I recently returned from a six-day camping trip in the North Kaibab National Forest. My two dogs and I had a spectacular time in one of my favorite forests. The North Kaibab is so beautiful and so full of wildlife. The area abounds with stands of old-growth “yellow belly” ponderosas at the lower elevations and fine fir forests at the higher elevations.
I was hunting turkey. I had plenty that gobbled back at my calling, but I didn’t fill my tag. I saw about 100 deer as I was creeping through the forest and was shocked by chipmunks that ran across my legs as I was sitting as still as I could. A huge condor flew over me — maybe it thought I was carrion as I was sitting so still. I looked for morel mushrooms in the recent burn areas, but it was still a little early. I camp at the higher elevations closer to the Grand Canyon National Park amongst the firs and one of my favorite trees—aspen—that are changing colors by the end of September. I cherish my time in this treasured public land. The area surrounding the Grand Canyon is a special place that deserves to be preserved as a National Monument.
The proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument includes 1.1 million acres around and adjoining Grand Canyon National Park that would preserve and protect these unique natural and cultural resources. As a retired anthropologist and archaeologist, I value the abundant cultural resources that would be protected with the monument designation. Part of the monument designation makes the 20-year mining moratorium established in 2008 permanent while also prohibiting new uranium mining. Springs, creeks, and the Colorado River would clearly benefit from this while also helping habitat for the thousands of plants and animals that inhabit the area.
Now is the time to protect the area surrounding the Grand Canyon. Please join tribal leaders, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in urging President Biden to safeguard this exceptional gem of ours.
Board Member Friends of Flagstaff Area National Monuments
Board Member, Arizona Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers