Episode #30

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Brian Poon


About this Episode

The guest for this month’s episode is Access Fund’s Policy Analyst, Curt Shannon. Access Fund and other allies have been working on protecting Oak Flat, an incredible area outside of Phoenix, Arizona, for over 15 years, and Shannon has been focused on protecting this world-class climbing area for almost a decade. Oak Flat is under threat of mining, which would forever decimate not just the area’s climbing resources but also significant Indigenous resources.

In March of 2021, climbers and members of Indigenous tribes caught a break in protecting Oak Flat. We aren’t across the finish line quite yet, but in this podcast, Curt expresses his optimism on where we stand right now and what the future holds for Oak Flat. Follow along as Curt recaps several significant events that have influenced the fate of what would be the largest loss of climbing resources on America’s public lands.

5:30- Curt’s Intro
11:45- Intro to Oak Flat
17:24- Issues surrounding Oak Flat
20:24- Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act
26:41- Curt’s involvement and role in Oak Flat
31:32- One climbing area for another?
35:52- Curt’s position as Access Fund’s Policy Analyst
38:52- The 2020 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
42:09- Oak Flat’s historical designation
45:24- The Save Oak Flat Act
50:15- Current happenings and Oak Flat’s future
56:24- Resources and how to learn more
59:02- Curt’s definition of advocacy

Oak Flat Saved (For Now): https://www.accessfund.org/news-and-events/news/breaking-oak-flat-saved-for-now

Save Oak Flat Act: https://www.accessfund.org/news-and-events/news/new-bill-seeks-to-save-oak-flat

Oak Flat’s Beginnings: https://www.accessfund.org/news-and-events/news/new-land-exchange-proposal-introduced-into-congress-for-oak-flat-az

The EIS: https://www.accessfund.org/news-and-events/news/in-final-days-trump-initiates-transfer-of-oak-flat-access-fund-sues

H.R. 1884: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1884?q={"search":["hr 1884"]}&s=3&r=1

S. 915: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/915?q={"search":["s 915"]}&s=2&r=1

Inter Tribal Council of Arizona: https://itcaonline.com/

Arizona Mining Reform Coalition: https://azminingreform.org/

Center for Biological Diversity: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

Earthworks: https://www.earthworks.org/

Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club: https://www.sierraclub.org/arizona