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Update on Oak Flat and Queen Creek, AZ

By Erik Filsinger, Land Advocacy Chair, Arizona Mountaineering Club

Over the past several months members of the local Arizona climbing community have expressed concern about the substance and process surrounding the proposed federal legislative land exchange involving Oak Flat near the Queen Creek climbing areas. See www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3301.

The Governor of Arizona raised a number of serious concerns about the states role www.mynewdb.com/QC/GovToEdPastor_Letter.pdf, as have local Native American communities about the displacement of historic lands www.mining-law-reform.info/IndexSup.htm.

These political developments and growing unrest within the climbing community regarding the enforceability and longevity of the access license to climbing in Queen Creek Canyon resulted in considerable discussions with elected officials and the filing of testimony to a congressional hearing on the proposed legislation. See: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=32&extmode=flat. Due in part to these local-based actions, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, does not appear to be forwarding any legislation this year for further action. For more information on the activities and local concerns, see: www.amcaz.org/main/QueenCreek/amcActionStepsQC.html or contact Paul Diefenderfer at info@friendsofqueencreek.com.

Date: 11/16/2007