Ironwood Forest National Monument on list to lose designation - Tucson News Now

Ironwood Forest National Monument on list to lose designation

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Department of the Interior has named 24 national monuments that could lose their status under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

The monuments include four in Arizona. On the list is the Ironwood Forest National Monument northwest of Tucson. 

It's nearly 300 square miles and includes more than 188,000 acres. The monument declaration was signed by President Bill Clinton on June 9, 2000.

Secretary of Interior at the time, former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt said, "This is really about our ability to protect our heritage on this desert ecosystem."

Some ranchers and area residents did not agree and felt it was government overreach.

One of those interviewed a few weeks after the designation, Alan Gillespie, said, "It's like they're trying to pull one over on us." He said they were not consulted.

Now, it seems some in Washington agree with that assessment. 

All of the national monuments that may be de-listed have been named by the past three administrations, the most active of which was President Obama. 

But there's a great deal of support for keeping the monument as well.

Greg Cox lives in the shadow of Ragged Top Mountain, the most distinguishable feature in the monument.

"It would be sad if it went away," he said. 

Cox and his wife spend a lot of time in the monument hiking and biking. 

"It's a beautiful place to come visit," he said.

A comment period ended July 10, with nearly four million comments.

Bronson Zinke Letter by Tucson News Now on Scribd

The next step is for the Interior Department to decide the fate of the monuments.

Asked when that might happen, the official Interior Department response was: "The department has no other announcements at this time." 

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Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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