Boundary for Proposed Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument Includes Diverse Areas
In our research, we have found no other national monument that includes cities, towns and large tracts of private land within its boundaries.
Detailed Land Ownership Map
This map, produced by City of Sedona, shows the Amendment 12 forest service boundary in red. This is also the boundary of the proposed Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock Monument by Keep Sedona Beautiful.
We, the public, do no know what the final boundary will be in the KSB proposal. Statements were made by KSB at their recent meetings that they were looking at adding areas of the upper Verde River and Beaver Creek areas east of I-17.
The southern proposed boundary crosses Hwy 89A just north of the Page Springs Road. The northern and western proposed boundary goes into parts of 3 wilderness areas.
The bright red lands are state lands: notice the large block of state land may be annexed into the city of Cottonwood city limits.
The grey-pink areas are private lands. Note the almost solid block of original pioneer homesteads along Oak Creek south and east of Sedona.
The dark purple line defines the 3 large wilderness areas on north and east sides of the planning area. There are about 80,000 acres of Wilderness included in the Amendment 12 planning boundary. Development is not allowed in Wilderness areas.
Diverse qualities within planning unit.
The forest service Amendment 12 plan divides this into different planning areas such as Neighbor Woods for the areas surrounding private lands, Savannah for open lands out by Bill Grey and forest road 525, and Red Cliff, Red Cliff Front Country and Schnebly Rim for the most scenic high public use areas, Dry Creek Basin Gateway, Lower Oak Creek, Transition.
I do not see detailed analysis by KSB as to why all of these diverse areas are suitable for inclusion within a national monument.
National scenic area designation was not recommended in the draft Coconino Management Plan EIS in 2011
The reasons were:
** Amendment 12 has strict guidelines to control loss of public lands and manage for scenic qualities
** A detailed scenic analysis has not been done for the Amendment 12 area. The forest service has specialists who do intricate modeling on a scale of 1 – 5 under the Scenery Management System. A detailed analysis scenic and other factors would guide designation of such boundaries.
Coconino Forest is managed according to the forest plan by authority of the National Forest Management Act. Site-specific actions that are not in compliance with the forest plan require a public process with detailed environmental analysis.
National monuments under the Antiquities Act are created to protect specific historic or prehistoric sites such as the case of Montezuma Castle National Monument. Important large geologic features are now also created under the Antiquities Act. This is basis for much larger monuments such as Grand Canyon before it received national park designation.
About 30% of national monuments have been converted to national parks.
In our research, we have found no other large national monument proposed based on geologic factors that includes cities, towns and large tracts of private land in its boundaries.
Prepared by Sandra Cosentino, August 18, 2015