Members of the Arizona chapter came from all over the state and braved the scorching desert heat to meet up in the town of Gila Bend and work alongside Bureau of Land Management employees to install signs promoting responsible OHV use in the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The 776 square mile national monument, which is located in the most biologically diverse desert in North America and contains three federally designated wilderness areas is managed by the BLM and lies just sixty miles from Phoenix. The National Monument has had issues in the past with illegal cross country off highway vehicle travel and user created roads causing tremendous damage to the delicate desert plants and leaving long lasting scars on the landscape. The unauthorized use led to the closure of some areas of the monument to motorized access.
The volunteers broke into two teams and set out to install the OHV signage at several access points both along interstate 8, which bisects the monument, and along highway 238 which crosses the monument between the North and South Maricopa Mountain Wilderness Areas. By cutting down on damage caused by cross country OHV traffic and the costs associated with it the Bureau of Land Management will be able to keep currently existing roads open and they hope to reopen some areas that were previously closed. This will allow continued access for all of us into the Maricopa Mountain Wilderness Areas and the Table Top Wilderness area, the Sand Tank Mountains, and the desert valleys between them. This will also allow funding to be used to better protect the historic sites, flora, and of course fauna of the area including desert bighorn, javelina, mountain lion, and mule deer As well as numerous small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
If you are interested in being added to the AZ BHA volunteer list please send your name, address, phone, and any areas of interest to us at [email protected].