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Help stop the expansion of exploratory mining in the Greater Gila

Summa Silver Corporation is working to expand its exploratory mining operation into the Gila National Forest, disrupting habitat where threatened Mexican spotted owls and Gila trout have been documented. Tell New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to stop any expansion by Summa Silver!

The Greater Gila – America’s Next Protected Landscape

Preserving The Greater Gila

The Greater Gila is one of the last great unrestrained landscapes in the American West, encompassing three wilderness areas, over one million acres of unprotected roadless acres, several mountain ranges, numerous species found nowhere else in the world, and one of the West’s last free-flowing rivers.

The Greater Gila is a sacred living landscape. It is the ancestral and contemporary homelands of at least 18 different Indigenous Peoples. The history of these original inhabitants are held in the numerous cultural and archeological sites found throughout the landscape. These sites are deserving of federal protections and should be preserved on the landscape for future generations.

A Landscape Dispossessed and Under Threat 

In the past five years, the Greater Gila has seen proposals for new diversion dams, supersonic military training operations, hydroelectric projects, and toxic mining operations.

If the U.S. Forest Service is left to manage these lands under their current management practices, they will continue to allow the habitat of imperiled species to erode and the quality of recreation opportunities to diminish.

It is essential that the Forest Service limit the ability for some individuals to degrade public lands at the cost of other land users and work to preserve the condition of the  landscape for future generations.

Any federal designations to protect land would only impact publicly owned lands, and would not interfere with privately owned property.

Take Action for America’s First Wilderness

Right now, the Greater Gila is threatened by an onslaught of mining, dams and diversions, grazing impacts, and other extractive uses, which, coupled with climate change and the extinction crisis, put the Greater Gila in grave danger.

Tell President Biden and Congress that the Gila deserves protection!

Add Your Name

 

Protecting this Sacred, Living Landscape

gila cliff dwellings
Indigenous communities are the original stewards of this landscape, but their engagement in its management has been limited to tribal consultation on already developed projects, which the Forest Service often ignores. Creating spaces for Tribes to more meaningfully co-manage public lands is essential to implementing traditional ecological knowledge and developing more just and equitable stewardship practices.
mexican gray wolf

The Greater Gila is the home to the country’s only population of critically endangered Mexican gray wolves, with just over 190 individuals. These wolves face threats from poaching, loss of habitat connectivity, conflicts with livestock, and climate change.

Gila national forest

The Gila and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests have Land Management Plans that manage forests for multiple uses and have a history of prioritizing extractive industries that degrade the landscape at the cost of other public land users and the fish and wildlife species that live there. These management practices are inadequate for protecting wild nature at scale from the direct threats of development and the impacts of climate change.

Salt River

The Greater Gila Bioregion is the headwaters for the Little Colorado, San Francisco, Gila, Mimbres, and Salt Rivers. Protecting these water sources will prove to be vital to a rapidly drying Southwest. Research has shown that protecting watersheds is one of the most cost-effective strategies to ensure access to clean drinking water.

Gila hiking

Rural communities near protected public lands have better economic outcomes than their counterparts with unprotected or majority private lands. The lack of protection for these lands is a barrier to communities interested in developing robust outdoor recreation economies in this region.

A New Collaborative Vision for the Greater Gila

WildEarth Guardians is taking a community-centered approach to conservation by collaborating with local communities, conservation groups, and Indigenous stakeholders that have the closest relationship to these lands, to develop solutions that combine the best available science with traditional ecological practices that will work for the people of eastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. At the heart of this vision is a new model of land management that centers and uplifts the voices and priorities of Tribes, and protects the landscape for human and non-human communities alike.

We envision a Greater Gila whose wolves and other wildlife can roam free on millions of acres of protected public lands in balance with the recreationists, anglers, hunters, and Indigenous peoples who love and value this landscape. We envision a Greater Gila unencumbered by extractive interests, whose iconic rivers run wild, and whose thousands of ancestral and contemporary cultural sites are secure and celebrated.

Please join us as we move forward together to preserve the Greater Gila.

Become a Guardian of the Greater Gila

The Greater Gila is a vast and dynamic landscape that exists at a scope and scale rarely encountered in the lower 48, but it will need your help to keep it that way. Sign our petition to preserve the Greater Gila and join our email list to stay up to date with the latest action opportunities you can take to protect this landscape.

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The importance of mature and old-growth forests

November 11, 2022

WildEarth Guardians’ Dr. Lisa Markovchick explains why mature and old-growth forests and trees on federal public lands need protection

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Public Lands Press

The Greater Gila Teaches us That Worlds are Sometimes Forged in Flame

Counter Punch | Oct 14, 2022

There is a collection of poetry by Indonesian American poet Cynthia Dewi Oka titled Fire is Not a Country. I stumble across it while searching for poems about fire.

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Counter Punch | Jul 22, 2022

Forest Service agrees to begin winter travel planning on Rio Grande

The Durango Herald | Jan 26, 2023

The parties in a lawsuit over the lack of winter recreation management planning in the Rio Grande National Forest have reached a partial settlement, under which the Forest Service has agreed to initiate the preliminary planning steps by the end of April 2024.

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