Wilderness Watch is pressing the Forest Service (FS) to drop its ill-advised proposal to re-authorize commercial livestock grazing on over a quarter million acres in the Gila and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico, including the Gila and Blue Range Wildernesses, the Blue Range Primitive Area, and two congressionally established wilderness study areas. These rugged and wild landscapes are home to a host of threatened and endangered species, including Mexican wolves, Southwestern willow flycatcher, and Gila chub.
Especially alarming, the FS proposes a significant amount of development in the Primitive Area. The proposal includes spending one million dollars for new range developments, including the construction of 46 miles of new water pipeline that will drain natural water sources critical to the survival of imperiled wildlife.
Instead of further impairing the wilderness character of the Wildernesses, wilderness study areas, and Primitive Area with unsustainable grazing and more developments, the Forest Service should accept the voluntary waiver of the grazing permits and close the wilderness areas to livestock grazing.
Photo: Gila Wilderness by U.S. Forest Service via Flickr