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Arizona's Oak Flat Threatened by Mining Proposal


 

by Editor

June 26, 2004

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Access to portions of Arizona’s Queen Creek/Oak Flat area – home to the Phoenix BoulderBlast (formerly, the Phoenix Bouldering Contest) – may be lost forever if a mining proposal to extract billions of dollars worth of high-grade copper is approved. Resolution Copper’s proposed mine – believed to be the largest copper ore body in North America, and located thousands of feet beneath the US Forest Service-managed Oak Flat area – could cause substantial ground subsidence requiring the area to be closed to public entry (see http://friendsofqueencreek.com/Subside.htm). The mine could affect hundreds of bouldering problems and roped routes, resulting in the largest ever loss of climbing resources in the US.

The Access Fund continues to work with the newly-formed Friends of Queen Creek (FOQC) to advocate for continue public access to the Oak Flat area, and identify possible outcomes whereby mining activity and climbing opportunities in the Queen Creek area can coexist. FOQC is not opposed to mining, but the long-term future of Arizona must include permanent recreational access to Oak Flat Campground and surrounding public lands for tourism, hiking, hunting, biking, birding, bouldering, rock climbing, camping, canyoneering, sightseeing, photography, picnicking, off-road vehicles, and other uses. Please join Friends of Queen Creek to ensure that Resolution Copper develops their mine in a responsible manner and does not destroy Oak Flat and Apache Leap.

At this stage Resolution Copper has completed initial feasibility studies and begun “informal discussions” with the US Forest Service’s Tonto National Forest concerning the proposal. Email the Tonto National Forest’s Deputy of Public Affairs Vincent Picard at vpicard@fs.fed.us for more information as to the status of these discussions.

The loss of Oak Flat access could also result from a proposed legislated land exchange, which could effectively take the public’s voice out of the approval process unless Congress is convinced otherwise.

THE FRIENDS OF QUEEN CREEK NEED YOUR HELP TO CONVINCE CONGRESS TO OPPOSE A LEGISLATED LAND EXCHANGE AUTHORIZING RESOLUTION COPPER TO ACQUIRE OAK FLAT

If you would like to help FOQC lobby Congress in opposition of a legislated land exchange, log onto http://www.accessfund.org/programs/Queen_letter_6_04.html

For more information, check out www.friendsofqueencreek.org or email info@friendsofqueencreek.com.

News courtesy of the Access Fund.


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