In May of 2013 I began work as an intern for the Sierra Club Foundation in Flagstaff, Arizona. The environmental focus of this area is the surrounding National Forest as it is a part of the world’s largest Ponderosa Pine Forest, the San Francisco Peaks, located north of the City of Flagstaff offers four life zones from conifer forest to tundras, and of course the Grand Canyon in all its vast wonder. As a summer intern I had a large focus on Wilderness near Flagstaff in addition to other event coordination and town hall speaking related to the Grand Canyon and Uranium Mining along the Colorado River.
Regional Uranium Mining and Transportation
The geological formation of the Grand Canyon allowed for a feature to be produced called a Breccia Uranium Deposit Type. Therefore, Uranium is available to mine in the region. However, the mining of this resource produces negative impacts on local watershed ecology in addition to wildlife and habitat health. There is currently a moratorium banning uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region by the U.S. Dept. of Interior. However, private companies wish to exploit these resources despite environmental implications. A mine opening near the Colorado River in Arizona would require transportation of this substance through the City of Flagstaff and then north to Utah for processing. If all mines were active, a total of 34 trucks containing Uranium will drive Interstate – 40 through Flagstaff, AZ everyday. On June 18th, 2013, a group of my peers and I spoke out against this activity and asked Flagstaff City Council to ban this practice in our city, the council agreed to further discussions later in the year: http://flagstaffaz.swagit.com/play/06182013-724
Potential Wilderness Areas on the Coconino National Forest
One of the most fun job duties of a Sierra Club intern is advocating for Wilderness. The Wilderness Act of 1964 keeps natural, pristine and untrammeled landscapes across the United States in that beautiful condition. The Coconino National Forest is home to some of the most untrammeled natural areas in the Southwestern U.S., but it needs stronger protection under Federal Law. I documented three areas located near the San Francisco Peaks and existing Kachina Peaks Wilderness, north of Flagstaff, AZ. My data and photography of the areas(Abineau, White Horse, and Bismarck) is published on the web pages linked to this parent page at the top.
Sierra Club’s Colorado River Days Event, 2013 – Flagstaff, AZ
The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American Southwest. It provides clean water, food, energy and economic security to millions of local citizens and travelers alike. In order to celebrate this valuable resource, the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter organizes a yearly festival called the Colorado River Days in Flagstaff, AZ. This event celebrates the resource, culture, recreation and education of the river and the Southwest region. As a summer intern I had the opportunity to assist the Sierra Club organize the 2013 event through stakeholder correspondence, meeting attendance and organization as well as calendar scheduling and public marketing.
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6:00 p.m. Film at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA), 3101 N Fort Valley Rd. My Canyonlands: The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost. MNA is pleased to host this event for Colorado River Days. Free admission.
Friday, Oct. 4, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Heritage Square. Colorado River Celebration. Organizations connected to the River will host tables in the Square during October’s First Friday Art Walk. Get involved with a new cause, meet new friends, and learn something new. Musical performance by Ed Kabotie.
Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd. 3rd Annual Grand Canyon Authors Symposium: Of Lines and Layers Authors explore the Grand Canyon through words and images. Authors include Lori Rome, Midji Stevenson, Bronze Black, Rick Kempa, Naseem Rakha, Christa Sadler, Tom Martin, Seth Muller, Stephen Hirst, Heidi Blankenship, Danny Rosen, Jean Rukkila, Ann Weiler Walka, and Margaret Erhart. Included with admission to the Museum of Northern Arizona.
Saturday, Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m. at the Grand Canyon Trust, 2601 N. Fort Valley Rd. Stories from the Confluence. A very special night featuring storytellers who hold a special place in their heart for the Confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, including families who live there and local yarn spinners. BBQ potluck starting at 5:30 p.m., with campfire stories 6:30-8:30 p.m. Burgers, brats and campfire provided. Please bring a story and a side dish to share. BYOB.
Sunday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. Morning talk at the Zane Grey Ballroom (upstairs) at the Weatherford Hotel, 23 N. Leroux St. Eric Balken of Glen Canyon Institute will focus on Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon, exploring the ecological, economic, and social importance of the Colorado River as its existence is reshaped by demand, drought and climate change. With an ever-growing population and projected reduction in future flows, Colorado River water is evolving from an abundant resource to one of great scarcity and value. The discussion is followed by a Glen Canyon Institute social gathering. Meet GCI members and learn about the organization.
Monday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd. The Future of the Colorado River: Presentations and panel discussion by those trying to plan for future conservation and use of the river. Ask questions and offer your thoughts.
Tuesday, Oct. 8th, 6 p.m. at Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd. A community discussion about the proposed development at the confluence of the Little Colorado River and Colorado River.