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Action Alert: Save Oak Flat-Queen Creek Climbing

Submitted By: Nick Wilder on Nov 21, 2011


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October 26, 2011 – H.R.1904 “Southeast Arizona Land Exchange - Conservation Act of 2011” passed the US House of Representatives [vote: 245/178] and headed for the Senate.

Now in it’s 4th session of Congress, the land exchange of Oak Flat has always been a controversial piece of legislation that will privatize 2,400+ acres of public land to a multi-national foreign mining giant. Nestled in Tonto National Forest, this area is home to over 2,000 bouldering problems and established roped climbs. The Access Fund recently referred to it as possibly “the single largest loss of climbing in the history of the United States.” Specifically set aside from all mining operations by presidential orders in 1955 and 1971, the Oak Flat campground & recreational areas have always been protected years before the largest outdoor climbing competition broke camp in 1989. Climbers from all over poured into the towering desert corridors of jagged pillars, walls, and columns testing their abilities amidst a sea of friendly fans –until 2004 when the mine moved in.

Access to the Campground and the surrounding Climbing areas will be affected once the mining begins. Some will be entirely lost forever. The Pond area that was once part of the exchange has been removed. The estimated size of the resulting subsidence or ‘sink-hole’ could become larger than Meteor Crater and include:

Apache Leap - Queen Creek Canyon – Gaan/Devils Canyon

Besides an unparalleled loss of Arizona climbing, historical sites of religious importance to the Native American San Carlos Apache Tribes are also located here. Pristine perennial streams balancing sustainable wildlife habitats, increasingly rare in the cooler hi-desert areas east of Phoenix will also be impacted.

H.R.1904 hands over public land without requiring a full environmental NEPA review. This land exchange could "..potentially affect the environment far beyond the footprint of this proposed mine." -Access Fund

Please contact your local leaders, Senators, members of Congress, Super Committee and those in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. H.R.1904 is not a fair exchange for Climbers or the Public interest. Call - Fax - Write – Because You are the 99%

Climbers are the largest recreational stakeholder group of Oak Flat and Queen Creek. Your voice can make a difference in preserving this area for future generations.

Always best to include your own personal experiences. Additional talking points and info links below.
Thanks to All!

- Arizona Mining Reform Coalition
- The Sierra Club
- San Carlos Apache Tribe
- BLM Marcilynn Burke, Deputy Director
- USFS Mary Wagner, Associate Chief
- Inter Tribal Council of Arizona


Comments on Action Alert: Save Oak Flat-Queen Creek Climbing Add Comment
By CO_Michael
Nov 21, 2011

I VOTE NO to HR 1904

Thanks Nick.

I have been sending my letters and making phone calls.

Everyone in the climbing community should do the same. It is easy.

I will make my list that this land exchange is bad.

1) Loss of a HUGE recreation area for many that has easy access from a large city (many people).

2) Huge give away of American resource to a foreign company with LITTLE in return. The give away is 2 times. Giving away the land that many value and then giving away billions in material.

3) Environmental Disaster - waste of water in a desert. Enough for a city of 200,000

4) Create a 2000 acre hole in the ground.

5) NO environmental review before exchange.

6) Does nothing to create even a small number of jobs right now.

Track this bill. www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1904

By ldsclimber
From: Queen Creek AZ
Nov 26, 2011

Really, you had to add the 99% thing. Nick, I agree with what your saying but I can't/won't go along with being part of that crowd. I thought we were climbers fighting for climbing, not a bunch political nut jobs out to occupy QC. Not trying to offend any of my southpaw buddies, you know I love you!

By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Dec 12, 2011

I don't care what percent you are, it is a battle worth fighting for. Our legislators need to know they are accountable to all of us and that is what we need to do: call or write your opposition to this bad idea.

By Lindajft
From: maricopa, AZ
Feb 4, 2012

If it can save a little time for anyone with good intentions.. Here is the Contact List for Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee:

Many of us have found it is best to fax or email and state I WANT TO BE ON RECORD

Democrats to Contact:
Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
call: 202-224-5521 fax: 202-224-2852
email: senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov webform
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
call: 202-224-5244 fax: 202-228-2717 webform
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
call: 202-224-5842 fax: 202-228-5765 webform
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)
call: 202-224-5824 fax: 202-224-9735 webform
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
call: 202-224-3441 fax: 202-228-0514 webform
Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
call: 202-224-5141 fax: 202-228-0776 webform
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
call: 202-224-4822 fax: 202-228-0325 webform
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)
call: 202-224-5941 fax: 202-224-6471 webform
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
call: 202-224-2841 fax: 202-228-3194 webform
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
call: 202-224-5641 fax: 202-224-0044 email: www.franken.senate.gov/?p=contact
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
call: 202-224-3954 fax: 202-228-0002 webform
Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-DE)
call: 202-224-5042 fax: 202-228-3075 webform
Republicans to Contact:
Ranking Member, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
call: 202-224-6665 fax: 202-224-5301 webform
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
call: 202-224-6441 fax: 202-224-1724 webform
Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID)
call: 202-224-2752 fax: 202-224-2573 webform
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
call: 202-224-5444 fax: 202-228-1168 webform
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
call: 202-224-4343 fax: 202-228-6917 webform
Sen. Daniel Coats (R-IN)
call: 202-224-5623 fax: 202-228-1820 webform
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
call: 202-224-3353 fax: 202-224-9075 webform
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
call: 202-224-2551 fax: 202-224-7999 webform
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
call: 202-224-6244 fax: 202-228-6753 webform
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
call: 202-224-3344 fax: 202-228-0566 webform
or press the EASY button Send an email/form to ALL