Great Bend of the Gila

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Great Bend of the Gila

Date: 04/24/2024     State: AZ     Issues: Watersheds, Wild Lands     Partners: Archaeology Southwest, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, Gila River Indian Community, HECHO, The Wilderness Society, Tohono O'odham Nation Airport Origin : Buckeye, Arizona    


Share the beauty and importance of protecting the Gila River Valley with Native Nations, elected officials, and other key stakeholders.

We flew over the Great Bend of the Gila, a unique landscape, shaped over millions of years by volcanic activity. The Great Bend of the Gila is in the Sonoran Desert, which has been identified as the most important desert for biodiversity in North America. The Gila River valley, saddled between Phoenix and Yuma, is a fragile desert landscape that supports threatened wildlife like bighorn sheep, Sonoran desert tortoise, mule deer, and javelina. The land has been home to Indigenous Peoples for millenia. Members of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, Cocopah Indian Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Fort Yuma-Quechan Indian Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tohono O’odham Nation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, and Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe have cultural, historical, and ancestral ties to the Great Bend of the Gila, that live on through oral and written history, story, song, ceremony, pilgrimage, and other traditions.

Proper management is needed to address increased recreational use, as well as threats from invasive species (like tamarisk), vandalism, and desertification.

EcoFlight and our partners are calling on President Biden to designate the 370,000-acre proposed Great Bend of the Gila National Monument to provide immediate and everlasting protection to this beloved, ecologically vibrant, and sacred landscape. Monument designation ensures the preservation of critical wildlife habitat, watershed health, and recreational opportunities for generations to come.

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