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Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands!

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The Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Bill is still Active:
What was that Omnibus Bill?

The Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness effort is still active and going strong. It needs your help to make 2009 the year Arizona gets more Wilderness!

Wait a minute, you may be saying, what was all that news I heard about a major lands preservation bill signed by President Obama in March 30th -- the "Omnibus bill" -- wasn't the Tumacacori Highlands bill part of that?

Alas, no. The Omnibus bill, really called the Public Lands Management Act, was signed by President Obama on March 30th and designated two million acres of Wilderness in over nine states. But not in Arizona.

Some of these new Wilderness Areas -- in places like Colorado, California, West Virginia, and other states -- had been in the works for 10 years! All of the Wilderness designations had passed the House or the Senate in 2008, but didn't fully complete the process before Congress adjourned last year.

The Omnibus bill was the new Congress packaging all of them together to expedite things. The Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness bill was not included in this Omnibus package because it had not previously passed the House or the Senate -- we're a little bit behind all of those other bills. That's common, different bills move at different speeds.

The Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act was introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Raul Grijalva in 2007 and progress was made in 2008, but not before time ran out last year. Congressman Grijalva will reintroduce the bill this year under the new 111th Congress and it will be given a new bill number (we'll let you know when that happens). Then, your voice will be important in getting the bill passed by the House, Senate, and eventually signed by the President. This process takes time, but with your voices of support we continue to gain ground.

It's now time to get Arizona a piece of the Wilderness action in Congress. Take Action TODAY! Please call, write or email your Representative and Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl and ask them to make the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness bill happen this year! Here's how!

Why do we need wilderness for the Tumacacori Highlands? Read the answer here!


Remembering Edward Abbey:
Fun and Relaxation on Hike to Atascosa Lookout

The morning was cool and breezy - but the sun brought some warmth to the early air on April 4th when 15 folks, of varying backgrounds and interests, began their trek to experience the Tumacacori Highlands and the rugged views from an old Forest Service fire lookout and one-time home of author and activist Edward Abbey in the 1970's. We successfully reached the summit and enjoyed lunch from an eagle's-eye view. Guests Ken Lamberton and Bart Koelor shared reminisces of Edward Abbey in his prime... stories of both laughter and silent reflection. With the sun on our backs, Bart led us on a few Abbey-favorite sing-along songs. Dusty, worn and renewed - together we celebrated the true spirit of wilderness!
Thanks to all who participated!

More Photos - Visit Atascosa Hike Web Album

If you go...
Atascosa Lookout trail is 6-miles roundtrip to a restored fire lookout atop Atascosa Ridge at 6,249' elevation among pinion pine and juniper. The trail is maintained, mostly smooth, and the 1500' elevation gain is easily managed with switchbacks. From the summit, spectacular views of the Tumacacori Highlands lay before you, and in horizon are the Baboquivaris, Sierrita Mountains, Santa Rita Mountains and deep expanse of northern Mexico. The classic Tumacacori Highlands hike. Sign the guest book! The fire lookout was the home of activist and author Edward Abbey in the 1970's, an experience he describes in "Confessions of a Barbarian."

Directions to Atascosa Lookout Trail
From I-19 take Exit 12 for Ruby Road/AZ Hwy 289 (just south of Rio Rico). Follow Ruby Road taking the Pena Blanca Lake turn-off and continue for about 14 miles west of I-19. The trail head (FS Trail Marker 100) is located on the south side of the road opposite a large dirt parking area. Ruby Road is a maintained dirt road and accessible for passenger vehicles.

You Are Invited to SIA's Annual Spring Event on May 14th!
This Year's Focus - Wildcats of the Sonoran Sky Islands

And help us kick off our Sonoran Sky Island Biodiversity project!

Evening begins at 5:30, Program at 6:15
Old Town Artisans
, 201 N. Court Ave., Tucson (Map)

Wild Cats of the Sonoran Sky Islands with Sergio Avila, SIA Northern Mexico Program Coordinator, and Valer Austin and Juan Ochoa, Sonoran Landowners.
Welcome Tom Van Devender, Ph.D., as our new Science Coordinator for the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment project.
Meet Melanie Emerson, Executive Director, staff and board of Sky Island Alliance, learn more about our work in the Sonoran Sky Islands and join us in launching this exciting new effort!

RSVP online here!.....We hope to see you there!


Get Outdoors! Upcoming Wilderness Hikes are Here!

Join us for another Wilderness adventure! Sky Island Alliance will be hosting several hikes and weekend camping trips into the wild - with guest speakers and fun learning activities for the whole family! For more information about our Wilderness hikes or to volunteer to lead a workshop, contact Jessica at or (520) 624-7080 ext. 21.

Saturday June 6th, 2009
Birds and Reptiles of Sycamore Canyon - Come join us on a leisurely hike in Sycamore Canyon! This beautiful and mild hike along a shady perennial stream showcases deep pools and boulders that are home to several species of threatened and endangered fish, amphibians and reptiles. Sycamore, oak, manzanita and pinyon pine host birds such as the elegant trogon and five-striped sparrow, making this hike a famous birding destination in the southwest.

Saturday July 18th, 2009
Wilderness Photography - Whether you consider yourself a beginner seeking to learn or a professional photographer looking for adventure, we need your help for a fun filled day taking photos of our favorite place - the Tumacacori Highlands! A selection of the results will be presented in Sky Island Alliance's next Restoring Connections newsletter. This event is meant to help us create a series of stock of photos for outreach - photos participants contribute will be credited. Experiment with some new techniques and see examples by expert photographers Bob Van Deven and Jack Dykingka. Prizes will be given for the most creative photos!

Want to contribute, but don't have time to join the trip? Send us your best Tumacacori Highlands photos by July 31st!

Saturday August 15th, 2009
Art in Wilderness Workshop -
Do you love to watercolor, sketch and be creative? Join us on a trip to the wilderness to expand your artistic creativity in a variety of mediums. Materials are provided, but you are also welcome to bring your own supplies. Participants will receive the
Art in Wilderness
exhibition book with two CDs of music and poetry. A selection of artwork and poetry will be featured in Sky Island Alliance's next Restoring Connections newsletter.
***A workshop fee of $40 is required. Kids are Free!***

Labor Day Weekend September 5-7th, 2009
Esculdilla Wilderness in the White Mountains - Sky Island Alliance's Annual Labor Day camping trip celebrates Wilderness and wild activists. This year it will be held in the Esculdilla Mountains to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Esculdilla Wilderness, the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act and the 100th Anniversary of Aldo Leopold's arrival in the Southwest. Esculdilla is where Aldo Leopold saw the "green fire" dying the wolf’s eyes and first learned to "think like a mountain." Talks, Hikes and Camping! Fun for the whole family!

Sign up for these events here.
Please include your name, contact information, and which event you are interested in.


Become a Volunteer Docent for Wilderness!

Outreach Docent –Wilderness Program
Wilderness outreach docents are needed for any of the following three areas: Public presentations, guided hikes and tabling events. Docents are trained volunteers whose major responsibility is to help people in the community learn more about Sky Island Alliance and its mission, to better understand and appreciate the importance of Wilderness, and to promote Wilderness for the Tumacacori Highlands. Public presenters and tabling docents interact with the general public as well as with specific interest groups, such as the faith community and sportsmen’s groups. Wilderness hike leaders guide local area hikes and present themed talks on wilderness, sometimes in conjunction with a guest speaker. Schedule is flexible. Docents will receive a T-shirt and free Sky Island Alliance membership.
Training and volunteer orientation required.

Wilderness Advocate– Wilderness Program
We need advocates to help collect signatures and written letters in support of the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness bill. Letters and petitions, addressed to Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl and to your State Representative can be mailed, copied-to, or hand-delivered to Sky Island Alliance. Send you own letter of support, or help us coordinate ways to reach supporters in your community to do the same!

Contact Jessica at or (520) 624-7080 ext. 21.

Learn about other Volunteer Opportunities with Sky Island Alliance.


About Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands

Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands (FOTH) is a locally derived group of supporters and advocates for the proposed Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness. On-the-ground research and road surveys conducted by our very own Landscape Restoration volunteers gathered the data and saw the need. Sky Island Alliance's Wilderness and Special Designations Program has been building the groundwork for wilderness designation in the Tumacacori Highlands for over 5 years! And now, success is closer than ever!

Lots of progress and exciting developments have occurred in the last couple of years. We couldn't have accomplished all this without your volunteer efforts, letters, signed petitions and willing support. Thank you! Your continued advocacy will help make our shared dream of Wilderness in the Tumacacori Highlands a reality.

To stay on top of Tumacacori Wilderness news, join us! Sign up for the Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands email listserv at:

Visit the Official Website at


Donate - and Receive a Special Gift

Support Sky Island Alliance's Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness effort! Give the gift of Wilderness to future generations.

When you donate $35 or more, you receive a 1-year membership to Sky Island Alliance, with a free subscription to our critically acclaimed Restoring Connection newsletter.

Donate $100 or more and also receive a free Tumacacori Highlands t-shirt!** Donations of $100 or more are matched, up to $10,000, by the Earth Friend's Foundation, so your gift goes twice as far!

Contribute $150 or more, and we will also include the limited edition Tumacacori Highlands Art in Wilderness exhibition book with two accompanying CDs of music and poetry.

Donate online today!

**If you donate $100 or more, please email your free t-shirt choice and size to Jessica at Comes in Men's (putty tan) and Women's (sage green) cuts. See available colors and sizes here.

Checks made out to Sky Island Alliance can also be mailed to:
Sky Island Alliance, P.O. Box 4116, Tucson, AZ 85717
Include your name, email and mailing address.


Jessica Lamberton
Wilderness Outreach Associate
Sky Island Alliance

738 N. 5th Avenue, Suite 201, Tucson, AZ 85705 |

Thank you for all you do for Wilderness and the Sky Island Region!

Questions about how you can participate? Contact us at Sky Island Alliance: or (520) 624-7080 ext. 21 or (520) 624-7080 ext. 11

or email


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