ARIZONA STRIP -- Protected in 2000 as the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, this wild part of NW AZ is special. Almost all national public lands managed by BLM, it has some of the most remote and scenic lands in the state.
Our state wildlife agency, Arizona Game & Fish Dept., should be in strong support of the monument, but they aren't. The agency's TV show, 'Wildlife Views', which ran on KUAT in Tucson on Oct 16, featured an AZGFD warden based near the monument. Instead of embracing conservation and pushing to restore habitat by reforming damaging livestock grazing, he complained 'everything will be harder' when the BLM completes its monument plan. He complained that building artificial waters (guzzlers) and doing burns would be harder, which is unlikely, and the show's host sounded an alarm that some roads may be closed and hunters should 'get involved'.
Most environmental groups in the state think BLM could and should be doing more to protect the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument -- some unneeded and damaging roads should be closed, livestock should be restricted or removed, and guzzlers should not be built everywhere -- but our state game boys under Gov. Napolitano are even further to the right than the Bush BLM on the Strip.
Too often AZGFD is a problem, and an example of another state dept. that hasn' t changed much under this Governor. Janet may not be a Republican, but she's sure let a lot of the right-wing bias hold on within state government. How about some more balance?
As a hunter and conservationist, I'd like to be able to support AZGFD, but to win my support they must start respecting and managing the full native web-of-life, not just big money game animals.