Washington, D.C. – Representative Raúl M. Grijalva’s bill to protect and preserve over 80,000 acres of National Forest as Wilderness, known as the Tumacacori Highlands, H.R. 3287, was considered before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands in a hearing today.
H.R. 3287 now awaits consideration by the full Committee on Natural Resources.
Wilderness designation is the highest level of protection for federal public land available in the United States.
“I am pleased to hear testimony on this bill today,” said Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee of National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. “By designation of the area as wilderness, we will preserve a vital piece of our natural and cultural history and leave it as a legacy for our children and grandchildren. We will ensure that the area’s rare and sensitive plant and wildlife species have a protected home.”
The Highlands, which include parts of the Atascosa, Pajarito, and Tumacacori mountains, are home to many endangered and sensitive species, including the jaguar, the Mexican-spotted owl, and the Chiracahua leopard frog. The area also harbors more than 2,000 plant species, 265 bird species and 75 reptile species, many of which can be found nowhere else in the United States. Additionally, wilderness designation will benefit outdoor enthusiasts, by preserving the area’s incredible scenic values and historical sites, ensuring exceptional hiking, backpacking, bird-watching and hunting opportunities for years to come.
This will be the first wilderness area protected by Congress in Arizona since the bipartisan work of Mo Udall and John McCain led to enactment of the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act seventeen years ago.